Urban Spaces: Enhancing the Attractiveness and Quality of the Urban Environment (UrbSpace)

Urban Spaces: Enhancing the Attractiveness and Quality of the Urban Environment  (UrbSpace)

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

CENTRAL EUROPE Programme Joint Technical Secretariat

Overall project value

EUR 1,702,618

Date

November 2008 – March 2012

Beneficiary countries

Czech Republic | Slovakia

Number of staff

3

Some 75 percent of the population of Central Europe live in urban areas, and the proportion is likely to grow. While towns and cities are perceived as engines of regional development, offering a range of services and economic and cultural opportunities, urbanisation removes the previously clear boundaries between settlements and surrounding landscape, putting huge pressure on natural areas. In this context, open spaces play a vital role and have a direct influence on how local people and visitors perceive urban areas, how they identify with them and how well social life functions. The target groups were local public institutions, regions and municipalities in charge of spatial planning; urban planners; landscape architects and active citizens, all of whom can benefit from the joint strategies and action plans developed within the project. In addition, local authorities in charge of spatial planning, private enterprises and inhabitants in the pilot areas benefited from renewed open spaces; while public service providers can benefit indirectly from more efficient polycentric spatial planning.

The principal goal of the project was to improve the urban environment and the quality of public spaces, in particular through the development of polycentric settlement structures. The project also aimed to promote the active and informed involvement of stakeholders (local authorities, urban planning experts and local businesses) in the process of shaping and revitalising urban spaces.

The UrbSpace project built on the REC's work on the urban environment and spatial planning, combined with the practical experience of the Ekopolis Foundation (Slovakia) and the Partnerstvi Foundation (Czech Republic). The project was implemented through the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme, co-financed by the EU's European Regional Development Fund. The partnership included local and regional authorities, universities and NGOs, ensuring a multi-sector approach.

REC Slovakia was the lead partner in the project and was involved in all main project activities as well as overall project management. It contributed to:

  • compiling state-of-art analyses of the principles of sustainable urban development, planning and benchmarking in Slovakia;
  • defining relevant criteria and principles for public space design in smaller urban areas taking into account all aspects of sustainable development (environmental, social and economic);
  • developing strategies and tools for sustainable urban spaces with the involvement of stakeholders in order to improve the planning process, focusing on environmental aspects;
  • developing and realising a pilot project in the city of Presov through a participatory process with city inhabitants; and
  • disseminating results via a web page and PR activities.
  • Awareness raising and results dissemination
  • Knowledge transfer - Local initiatives
  • Project management
  • Drafting of reports and analyses