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BABALIKIS

Stratis

BABALIKIS

Validated Lead Expert

Generic Skills

B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development: 
Sustainable urban development becomes increasingly an integral part of the agenda of many European and international policies and practices on the basis of ever increasing rates of urbanisation recorded globally as well as the future forecasts, worldwide, for population moving out from rural areas and into the cities. In this context sustainability of the urban environment, infrastructures and services to deal with the influx of people is becoming a complex issue. At the same time methodological theories and tools are developed in respect to urban densities, provision of facilities, socio-economic aspects of the cities' functioning, public participation and quality of life in urban areas. Through my studies in the University of Wales a variety of theoretical and practical subjects on the above issues, such as strategic planning, housing policies, town and regional development, urban renewal and regeneration, land-use planning and urban design were explored, together with practical work on the ground. More specifically, my MPhil Urban Regeneration research thesis focused on contemporary socio-political, economical and urban planning issues as they co-relate to the effort for the urban regeneration of Cardiff Bay (the degraded area of the Docks) and its successful re-entering and integration to the city core, with emphasis on strengthening the social capital while conserving and upgrading the physical urban fabric to meet current demands and needs.
B1. Assessment: 
1: The candidate demonstrates convincing proof of his understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level: 
In the course of my professional career, I have worked in many EC co-funded projects with a strong transnational context, collaborating with partners and stakeholders from several EU and non-EU countries (eg. UK. Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Norway etc). Partners and collaborators in these projects included educational and research institutes, administration authorities at all tiers (local, regional and central), universities, NGOs, collective bodies and individuals, thus bringing together a variety of working cultures and environments. The promotion of knowledge exchange and learning amongst team members and peers was pivotal to the success of these pilot projects and was documented in several activities undertaken, such as publications of good practice guides, transnational conferences and workshops, web-based learning information produced for wider and effective dissemination translated in different languages to reach wider audiences. All the above results were produced through combined forces and mutual exchange amongst multi-sectoral and multi-national groups of experts, thus bringing added value and accountability to different socio-economic and cultural contexts across Europe.
B2. Assessment: 
1: The candidate demonstrates convincing proof of his understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level.
B.3. Proficiency in English: 
My proficiency in English is demonstrated by the fact that I undertook undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Britain, which resulted in obtaining a Bachelor and a Masters Degrees as well as a Masters in Philosophy Degree through research, including tutoring students in English, presentations in conferences and publications in scientific journals. In total, I have lived, continuously, in the UK for almost 9 years. Moreover, in the course of my professional career I have worked in many EC co-funded transnational projects, to which English was the working language for both oral and written communication (in formal -reports preparation, contribution to the writing and editing of publications, preparation of material for conference presentations and proceedings- as well as informal situations -working group discussions, steering group meetings, social events etc). Apart from living, studying and working in the UK for almost a decade, English was also taken as intensive courses on top of the school curricula during my primary and secondary education era.
B3. Assessment: 
1: The candidate points to convincing evidence of his proficiency in English.

Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:

C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers: 
In cases of projects, when collaboration with poor English speakers is necessary, the approach I am using is twofold: firstly, I combine oral and simultaneously written presentations, as often it is the case that people might be better in reading than listening, in conjunction with a concerted effort to simplify language as much as possible and to present comprehensive data through graphics, images and in certain cases at local languages of the audience. Secondly, I try to promote a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, encouraging people to ask for clarifications and make questions in case they do not understand something. Moreover, I usually perform "rounds up" in a workshop to secure personal communication so that it is easier to pose questions and get clarifications and leave some open space for communication with members of the audience in face-to-face situations, while I try to engage partners who speak the language of the audience to assist in necessary translations. In case of entirely nonEnglish audiences, interpretation services should be provided for.
C3.1 Assessment: 
1: The candidate points to more than one valid example of how he is able to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants: 
In the context of the "European Academy for sustainable development", specifically the summer academies I have participated (sustainable rural development and tourism at the 1st Academy, ICT at the 2nd and social capital at the 4th one), participants, together with facilitators who supervised and coordinated workshops which followed lecture presentations, prepared case studies and examples based on the lecture's theme that were later presented in the daily plenary session. The workshops I have facilitated brought together local animators and practitioners from different countries and regions, thus promoting a highly multi-national and multi-sectoral character that provided a very fertile area for exchange of experience, know-how transfer and added value to the learning process from real life situations as they related to the courses taught in the academies. The material produced was compiled in an academy portfolio, including case studies inventory, PP presentations, documents, photos and assignment reports, that were publicised in the web and the full files were accessible to a members only area of the academies' participants, providing a very valuable networking tool for future collaborations and references.
C3.2 Assessment: 
1: The candidate provides a number of convincing examples of outputs to support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away: 
In the 3 summer academies that explored the interrelation -as well as mutual benefits accrued- between sustainable rural development and tourism (1st Academy), ICT (2nd) and local social capital (4th), organised in the framework of the "European Academy for sustainable rural development", to which I have participated as a facilitator and member of the project coordination team and steering committee, the participants were required to prepare their case studies for presentation, before coming to the academy. Instructions were provided in the form of a Participant's Handbook as well as through e-mail before arriving to the venue of the academy. Also, groups of participants went on a 2-days study visit, for which they had to prepare a presentation in plenary to the other academy's participants, with photos and material collected in the study tour, role playing, graphics, narrations, PP presentations etc. The overall learning methodology applied in the academy involved daily group assignment production to showcase the theory's intake.
C3.3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant points to more than two valid examples of how the results were captured for the participants to take away.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages: 
Indicatively, the following two publications are included: - Thematic Guide 2 on sustainable rural development and ICT (2nd Academy's theme), involving the compilation, in situ investigation in several cases and writing up of an inventory of relevant to the theory case studies. The academy learning material was also made available in e-learning mode, to which I acted as a tutor and editor of students' assignments. - Good Practice Guide on "Balancing environmental protection with tourism development", involving the report, analysis and synthesis of the project results and findings in the Greek pilot areas. The above publications included through presentations of good practices in the context of linking theory to practice and policy recommendations for integrating sustainability principles, development perspectives and innovation into the legal, administrative and institutional framework of the countries participating in the project partnership.
C3.4 Assessment: 
1: The candidate provides convincing examples demonstrating his ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities: 
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities includes: Research and analysis of issues related to Urban and regional planning, Urban Design and Regeneration, Land Use Zoning, Regional Development, Sustainable Urban and Rural Development Management and coordination of projects funded by the European Commission (EC) Lifelong learning, facilitating and tutoring in face-to-face and distance learning situations Writing up and editing of project learning, scientific and promotional material including brochures, websites and publications Applied research in the field of urban renewal and socio-economic regeneration, including tutoring 2nd year University students on Research Methodology.
Assessment: 
The candidate meets the criteria regarding the expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities. There are no identified inconsistencies between the summary and the replies, nor between the information in the application form and CV.

Thematic expertise:

Theme / Policy: 
Urban Strategic Planning
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.: 
Urban strategic planning has been explored in my professional and educational life and has formed a central focal point in my career. More specifically, as part of my postgraduate studies, individual and group projects were carried out and a comparative thesis (UK and Greece) on conservation and protection of the urban environment combined with strengthening of the social fabric of the local population, was compiled. Moreover, research during the period 1997 to 1999, of contemporary socio-political, economical and urban planning issues, as they relate to the effort for the urban regeneration of Cardiff Bay (the degraded area of the Docks) and its successful re-entering and integration to the city core, with emphasis on meeting the modern needs and aspirations of the indigenous population. In my professional career I have coordinated and produced numerous studies of Master Plans in Greek cities (all over the country), UN Habitat Agenda studies for adequate housing, job, urban services and open spaces within URBAN Initiative, as well as Master Plans in Cypriot Municipalities (at the outskirts of Nicosia & Limassol), aiming, through consultation, to designate land uses, urban renewal measures, strategic action plans for urban regeneration and development, and to determine urban densities, adequate levels of service provision, quantity, quality and spatial distribution of open spaces, urban mobility and traffic management measures, issues of social equity and quality of life.
D1 Assessment: 
1: The candidate shows sufficient experience in urban strategic planning.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved: 
Indicatively, the following two projects involving production of learning material are included: - Thematic Guide 2 on sustainable rural development and ICT (2nd Academy's theme), involving the compilation, in situ investigation in several cases and writing up of an inventory of relevant case studies to demonstrate relevant themes of the guide, such as digital inclusion and e-services to access remote areas, as well as innovative applications that facilitated quality of citizens' life. - Good Practice Guide on "Balancing environmental protection with tourism development", involving the report, analysis and synthesis of the project results and findings in the Greek pilot areas, addressing decision makers and local stakeholders and providing guidance for sustainable urban development tools which succeed in preserving the environment while at the same time promoting economic development. The above learning material included thorough presentations of good practices in the context of linking theory to practice and policy recommendations for integrating sustainability principles, development perspectives and innovation into the legal, administrative and institutional framework.
D2 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provides 2 valid examples demonstrating his ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice: 
The two examples below demonstrate the production of concrete guidelines addressing policy-makers and practitioners of urban development, through extensive stakeholder consultation: - Good Practice Guide of the "Planning Inclusion of Clients through ICT (PICT) project", which aimed at producing a user-friendly web platform with on-line interface in order to depict and visualise planning interventions in real life and consult users (both citizens and city planners) regarding the urban features, fabrics and use of proposed urban planning interventions. The project material had a strong element of transnational added value, as it elaborated on legal, institutional and administrative arrangements in relation to urban planning initiatives in different geographic and socio-economic contexts and shed light to ways of promoting consensus amongst local community members and city planners on sustainable urban development issues. - In the Local Urban Plan of Kalampaka city, use of worldwide best practices relevant to the unique area's feature (Mereora rocks which is designated as an UNESCO Heritage site) was made, presented and discussed with city officials, planners and citizens, in order to provide innovative ideas for enhancing the future development prospects of the area.
D3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provides 2 valid examples demonstrating his ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes: 
In the context of compiling the Master Plans in 14 Cypriot urban communities (most at the outskirts of Nicosia and Limassol), Strategic Action Plans were prepared in a systematic and rigorous way, to enhance usability and applicability of the project findings and results. Namely, the action plans were prepared in a uniform template including technical description of the proposed intervention, sources of funding, agencies responsible, stakeholders involved, existing legal and institutional arrangements (i.e. land uses, planning permissions, procedures), which covered a wide range of interventions in all aspects of urban life in the areas examined and within the sustainability principles. The dissemination strategy included extensive consultations with stakeholders involved (in a period of 3 years there have been over 50 discussion fora and sessions held), while material was available in a digital mode for wider outreach to local stakeholders.
D4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provides a valid example demonstrating his understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awareness.
Summary Thematic expertise: 
Urban strategic planning has formed a central focal point in my career. Namely, as part of my postgraduate studies (MSc Urban Planning), a comparative thesis (UK, Gr) on conservation and protection of the urban environment combined with strengthening the social fabric was compiled. Also, I conducted a scholarship-sponsored research between 1997-1999 leading to MPhil in Urban Regeneration, of contemporary socio-political, economical and urban planning issues as they relate to the urban regeneration of Cardiff Bay (the docks' degraded area) and its successful re-entering and integration to the city core, with emphasis on meeting the modern needs and aspirations of the local population. Through my participation in EC co-funded projects, learning material was created including thorough presentations of good practices for linking theory to practice, as well as policy recommendations for integrating sustainability principles, development perspectives and innovation into the legal, administrative and institutional framework. Moreover, in coordinating the preparation of several Local Urban Plans and EF co-funded projects, the project material produced had a strong element of transnational added value, since it cross-related urban planning initiatives in different geographic and socio-economic contexts shedding light to ways of promoting consensus amongst local community members and city planners on sustainable urban development issues.
Assessment: 
The candidate meets 4 out of 4 criteria and should be validated for this theme. There are no identified inconsistencies between the summary and the replies, nor between the information in the application form and CV.

Expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing & delivering integrated and participatory policies

E.1. Knowledge on participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local polices : 
In the project "Balancing environmental protection with tourism development", a). a diagnostic in-situ analysis was undertaken to assess the tourism sector potential in the pilot areas, its ecological footprint and the environmental measures necessary for sustainable operation and b). local consultative committees have been formed which brought together different stakeholders (local/regional government officials, scientists, entrepreneurs, practitioners, residents and tourists) to discuss and jointly decide on a local development vision, priorities, necessary measures and actions, and come up with a strategic plan that is earmarking environment protection, urban development and local tourism development goals that are supplementary and not contradictory to each other. The committees encountered a conflict between tourism development needs and restrictions from environment protection, but through constant and regular consultation meetings and negotiations, all stakeholders were convinced that preserving natural and cultural resources, investing in quality of urban environment, services provided and sound environmental management, would eventually benefit tourist entrepreneurs in the long term, without deteriorating the very resources that attract visitors to a tourist destination.
E.1 Assessment: 
1: The candidate pointed to a valid example of his involvement in activities related to participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local policies.
E.2. Knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies: 
In compiling the Master Plans in 14 Cypriot urban communities and suburban areas, Strategic Action Plans were prepared in a systematic and rigorous way, to enhance usability and applicability of the project findings. Namely, the action plans were prepared using the DPSIR model and a multi-criteria analysis in order to identify and prioritise the necessary measures, actions and interventions. Also, a set of indicators were proposed to measure the performance of actions/measures/interventions and the operational resources and procedures were set out in order to monitor progress of the strategic master plan implementation, collect feedback from the stakeholders involved and evaluate the overall application of the plan. Indicators include, interalia, monitoring of spatial and environmental impact (surface area of protected natural resources, urban densities, proportion of open space per resident, preservation of traditional land uses, planning permissions issued, etc) and socio-economic impact (employment and wealth creation, population increase etc as defined from official statistics and in-situ surveys).
E.2 Assessment: 
1: The applicant shows examples that demonstrate his knowledge about the monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies.
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level: 
Through my participation in project teams responsible for conducting Master Plans, Local and Regional Urban Plans, I keep abreast of recent and contemporary EU policy initiatives and programmes and Community Structural Funds priorities, such as smart, inclusive and sustainable growth under "Europe 2020", Sustainable Urban Development and Integrated Spatial Investment initiatives, proactive bottom up approaches co-designed with input and backing up by local community members and stakeholders, and how they are transferred and correspond to national policies. Moreover, I am a member of professional planners’ bodies (Greek Technical Chamber, Linked professional platforms, Greek Association of Town Planners) as well as the permanent Committee of Spatial and Urban Planning of the latter Association, which organise meetings, events, newsletters publications, as well as other collaboration, knowledge exchange and dissemination "information channels" that keep me updated with recent trends and developments regarding innovative and sustainable urban policies and practices.
E.3 Assessment: 
1: The candidate demonstrates a good awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities: 
In the framework of the project "Planning Inclusion of Clients through ICT (PICT) project", an in depth survey of needs was carried out through questionnaires (addressed to both professionals and citizens) combined with focus group discussions in the case study area in order to identify the learning content the end-users wished for and co-decide the optimal ways to deliver it. The aim was to create a user-friendly software with on-line interface in order to depict and visualise planning interventions in real life. Through the above extensive open consultation process, it was decided to establish a one-stop neighbourhood centre equipped with PCs and manned with a part-time instructor to assist people visiting the centre, while on regular intervals instruction & queries sessions were held and an e-helpdesk was set out. The selection of location, staff, resources and the modus operandi, proved very successful in reaching out the local community and sustain a very big and vivid interest on the project, while very important comments were collected regarding practical aspects of the planning intervention design (renovation of a public square). The transnational element of the project succeeded in adding value to the project methodology and comparative analysis of project findings, in order to gather good practices and propose recommendation to policy-makers and practitioners in the urban development field.
E.4 Assessment: 
1: The candidate pointed to a valid example of his ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities.
Summary Expertise: 
Through my participation in project teams responsible for conducting Master Plans, Local and Regional Urban Plans, I have developed my abilities on team work; aspiration and goal setting, team motivation to work towards common vision, leadership in coordinating action related to complex issues and various target audiences. Also, I keep abreast of recent and contemporary EU policy initiatives and programmes and Community Structural Funds priorities, such as smart, inclusive and sustainable growth under "Europe 2020", Sustainable Urban Development and Integrated Spatial Investment initiatives, proactive bottom up approaches, as well as transference of the above to national policies. In promoting locally adapted approaches and solutions an array of tools is used, such as in depth needs survey and assessments through questionnaires addressed to different target groups, focus group discussions and open consultation meetings to resolve conflicts and set out vision & priorities, which are then outlined in systematic and rigorous Strategic Action Plans to enhance usability and applicability of project findings. Also, I am a member of professional planners’ bodies (Greek Association of Town Planners, Linked) organising meetings, events, newsletters publications, collaboration, exchange and dissemination "information channels", thus keeping me updated with recent trends and developments in innovative and sustainable urban policies and practices.
Assessment: 
The candidate meets 4 out of the 4 criteria regarding expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing and delivering integrated and participatory policies and should be therefore validated for E. There are no identified inconsistencies between the summary and the replies, nor between the information in the application form and CV.

Informations

Residence location:
Greece
Languages:
Greek - Mother tongue
Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
,
Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
Email:
stratisbabalikis@yahoo.com

Area of expertise