"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
Vincent Van Gogh
Citizens' budget? What is it? That was one of the subjects discussed on the last YE meeting in Suwalki/Poland with Agnieszka Szyszko, the mayor’s representative for contacts with NGOs. The first citizens’ budget of 1 million PLN was established in 2014. In 2015 it has been doubled to 2 million PLN. Now people can propose their ideas for different projects.
For two years the Nordic Council of Ministers has promoted the bioeconomy agenda in the Baltic Sea region as appointed Horisontal leader by the European Commission under the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. At a conference in Warsaw on March 4-5 a new three year plan for this effort was planned and discussed.
Young Eyes is a new IC project. It looks to me like it will be a good one. I was at the kick-off meeting in a cold and misty Warsaw in January. All the partners were there – Jelgava and Rauna from Latvia, our Polish friends from Suwalki, and from the far north came the delegation from Robertsfors in Sweden. In addition there was PAS from Edinburgh, bringing a lot of experience in youth involvement in built environment issues.
In 2010 eleven partners from the Baltic Sea Region teamed up to transform rural regions by launching scenarios, new narratives and attractive urban design. It was the beginning of the Trans in Form (TIF) project. Now, more than two years after the project ended, TiF is still alive as TiF project partner Joniškis from Lithuania shows.
About 60 participants from eight different countries - among them experts as well as students – joined the annual conference of the Innovation Circle Network that recently took place in Riga – Europe’s Capital of Culture.
A new OECD report, Regions and Cities: Where policies and people meet, makes the point that regional disparities in income are widening. It calls for a place-sensitive approach to policy making, in other words it recognises that policies need to be tuned to specific characteristics of places, rather than being uniform.
Jelgava Local Municipality has got green light for a project implementation under European Economic Area Financial Mechanism „Conservation and revitalization of cultural and natural heritage”. With the financial support of program it is considered to restore the Tea House and a stone fence in Eleja Manor park, which both currently are in extremely poor condition.
The eyes of the world are on Scotland this week. The referendum on Scottish independence looks like it will produce a close result. It’s been a long campaign, which the rest of the United Kingdom has largely ignored until the last couple of weeks when suddenly the gap between “yes” and “no” in the opinion polls has narrowed.
It’s been a busy summer. In particular I have been involved in work on “measuring success” for Scotland’s Historic Environment Strategy. As Chair of the Built Environment Forum Scotland I am chairing a “workstream” on this topic, with a brief to report to the Scottish Government and to the historic environment sector by the end of August.