Validated Lead Expert
B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
My focus of work for the past 14 years in Ireland has been to facilitate integrated and sustainable urban development. I have worked in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as the Community & Enterprise Development Officer and later as the Economic Development Officer to coordinate and develop long-term (10 year) strategy for the social, economic and cultural development of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown – the south-eastern administrative area in the Dublin City Region. The two cross-cutting issues were inclusion and sustainability. My work output was to drive integrated development processes through coordinating inter-agency cooperation, community consultation and monitoring of action implementation. My educational qualifications include an Honours degree major in Psychology and a Masters degree in Business Administration. My conviction is that learning exchanges between people from different places help develop expertise and confidence. I have engaged in several European projects (Interreg and URBACT funded) and study tours to USA to examine good practice in development work. My experience in South Africa (before emigrating to Ireland in 2000) is influenced by voluntary work in a Cape Town-based NGO - the Development Action Group where I served as a director for 4 years with a focus to address issues caused by apartheid planning and housing policies. I am a consultant with a strong interest in urban innovation that results in revitalised centres, streets and communities
1: The applicant demonstrates a solid background in integrated and sustainable urban development.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
I have had the privilege to engage in following EC funded learning exchanges at transnational level: • Learning participant: SPAN Project (Interreg IIIB NWE) investigating Territorial Strategic Planning and Multi-level Governance (2004–07) • Project manager: BRAND Project (Ireland-Wales Interreg IVA www.brand-project.eu) – developing a placebranding toolkit to address poor reputation of cities (2009–13) • Project advisor as the Council’s EU Officer: SURE Project (URBACT II www.urbact.eu/sure) – developing integrated socio-economic regeneration strategies in disadvantaged areas (2009–12) • Project Manager: Outdoor Tourism Project (Ireland-Wales Interreg IVA www.outdoortourism.org) – developing work programmes to support the outdoor tourism industry in partner areas (2011–14) • Project support: Placemaking 4 Cities Project (URBACT II www.urbact.eu/placemaking-cities) – transferring good practice in the Placemaking method (2013–15) I gained practical knowledge on study visits to USA in 2007, 2008 and 2011 through engagement with US companies, NGOs and fellow economic development practitioners. In each of these projects and visits I witnessed learning processes which will not have been possible if participants were not exposed to different environments, cultures and approaches while trying to address similar issues. I have played an active role in facilitating work sessions, developing presentations, organising conferences and co-producing plans and position papers.
1: The applicant provides convincing proof of his understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level.
B.3. Proficiency in English:
I conduct all my work in English. This includes: • daily communication via e-mail, meetings and phone conversations • presentations to clients and at seminars and workshops • writing of reports, plans and discussion papers • use of social media – including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging • facilitation of group discussions, problem analysis and idea generation • participation in committees and decision-making processes I am comfortable to communicate in English with speakers who use English as a second and/or business language. My mother tongue is Afrikaans, a language closely related to Dutch and Flemish. As such I am aware that words can sound awkward and misplaced to native English speakers when non-natives directly translate from their home language or use words in the wrong syntax. Fortunately language is a means to gain understanding and insight and not always about appearances and correctness. I also taught communication skills in South Africa to students. I worked in a third level educational institution for 10 years (Peninsula Technikon) where most students were from rural areas with limited exposure to English and who had to improve their language skills to meet academic standards. My work as Student Development Officer included managing a writing centre and conducting training and leadership programmes where students developed their writing, research and presentation skills in English.
1: Native speaker.
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers:
Whether it is for English or non-English speakers, a learning opportunity should be created by the lead expert to ‘break up’ complex concepts and invite participants to dissect the elements and re-assemble meaning to concepts. The key ‘break-up’ activity is to use examples with visuals that demonstrate concepts and allows participants to give their understanding of examples. To create focus the tactic should be to first ask non-English speakers to comment. Typically in group analysis a string effect comes into play where one participant is influenced by the previous comment and elaborates or differentiates. The ‘material’ provided in the discussion gives the lead expert the opportunity to relate/clarify it to concepts (re-assemble). It is then important that the lead expert checks especially with non-English participants if the concept ‘makes sense’. My experience in this regard comes from working with third level students in South Africa from various non-English backgrounds. It is key to create an environment and atmosphere where non-English speakers are comfortable to ask questions and do not feel inhibited by their limitations in the use of English. The key to creating the environment is for the lead expert to lead by example by showing patience when participants are ‘searching’ for the English words as they speak; and to be an active listener – paraphrase and rephrase what you understand the participant is saying – whether the participant is non-English or English!
1: The applicant demonstrates that he has a good communication approach to non-English speakers.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants:
In my experience, exchanges during face-to-face interactive study visits are successful if well planned and prepared beforehand and with effective follow-up afterwards. In both the SURE and Placemaking4Cities Projects each study visit was themed to demonstrate specific project elements. The lead expert worked with the host partner to identify features in the city which will provide ‘material’ for transnational exchange. In my experience the learning potential for visits increases if the lead expert is able to convince the host city to show challenges as well as the successes in the city. In the exchanges at the end of a visit the discussion should be guided for each partner to reflect on their own city and to share how what they have seen in the host city relates to their challenges. If the objective is to use the study visit to give feedback to the host city, a tool to conduct a peer review should be designed to structure the feedback (pre-defined questions to be answered) and should be consistently used for each study visit. In the SURE Project the peer reviews were scheduled at the end of the visit and often became more intense and sometimes stressful for the host city (taking criticism is not easy). The tone and consistency of the lead expert during such reviews are critical to ensure that a partner does not feel victimised. The learning experience is reinforced if participants follow-up with tweets and blogs on social media to share and further ‘digest’ exchanges.
0: Provided less than two relevant examples that demonstrate the ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants to enable comparison, exchange, peer review, etc.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away:
The ability to capture learning and ‘thought processes’ is a staple of my work as a consultant. The ‘capturing’ starts with asking questions which allows participants to draw conclusions or make inferences from the learning exchange. The important step is to bring such conclusions up to a higher level by relating it to the core objectives and themes for the project. The take away stage is also the time to lay the ground for further learning activity and for ‘follow-ups’. It is always useful to communicate to participants where the project started, where it is now and where it is going. This provides a sense of progress and direction. The lead expert can use the moment to prepare participants for the next step/stage and to set learning goals for the period leading up to the next transnational exchange. To re-enforce the exchange and the summation of learning, it is useful to distribute a pre-prepared case study or theory paper or method handout. The lead expert can mitigate the start-stop rhythm of a project filled with study visits by engaging online through social media and in video meetings. These ‘between-visit’ learning periods can be used by the lead expert for discussion by for instance writing a page in a blog on key findings of the previous visit and boxes with descriptions of key concepts plus a few photographs with participants presenting or having discussions. The participants can be asked to comment or send the blog to colleagues for their comments.
0: Provided less than two relevant examples that demonstrate the ability to capture learning for participants to take away.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages:
In my previous role with a local authority in strategic planning, I regularly produced consultation papers and drafts to capture issues and ideas raised by participants. To write concise reports comes with practice and experience. It requires an ability to identify and word the key aspects from deliberations and inputs that are often varied, contradictory and not logical. In my experience to get stakeholders, participants and policy makers ‘working’ through draft reports is part of the art of creating a good report. The fear of the writer is that once published, the report is destined for a shelf. To counter this fate new innovations are helpful such as creating visualisations of reports via infographics that are easily shared on social media platforms. The report can be made more readily available in pdf format and then tweeted out especially if the intention is to attract the interest of selected audiences such as policy makers or beneficiaries (communities). For this purpose a project Twitter page is handy. A good example is how we used Twitter in the Placemaking4Cities Project to connect with sites in the field of placemaking and urban design thus reaching a worldwide audience with our reports especially after our conference. In the BRAND and the Outdoor Tourism Projects I managed a team who produced specialist reports such as place branding toolkits, graphic language for place identities, online tourism provider brochures and baseline reports on each partner area.
1: The applicant shows a good 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:
In my roles as a strategic planner and economic development officer in a local authority and now as a consultant, I regularly produced consultation papers and drafts to capture issues and ideas raised by participants. To write concise reports comes with practice and experience. It requires an ability to identify and word the key aspects from deliberations and inputs that are often varied, contradictory and not logical. The key is to assist participants and policy makers to work through draft reports; clarifying issues and meanings; and finally be inclusive through referencing, project examples, quotes and photographs. In my experience facilitating transnational exchanges and creating opportunities for learning always require good preparation and the nurturing of working relationships (i.e. communication, respect and project focus!). A mix of physical site visits, walk-abouts, thematic presentations, small group discussions, meeting with locals and use of planning and analytical tools will make study visits a success. A successful project also require regular communication via e-mail, on-line video meetings and through social media before and after study visits. The aim of projects should be legacies of partnership learning well beyond project expiry dates. This is not merely aspirational but will be real with good use of social media and other platforms for sharing good practice experienced in each partner city and by collectively promoting activities of partner cities.
The applicant is validated for C, meeting 3 out of 3 criteria for C1, 4 out of 4 criteria for C2 and 2 out of 4 for C3. No significant inconsistencies were identified between the CV and application.
Theme / Policy:
Local Economic Development
My professional qualifications are Masters in Business Administration (1st Class) - Dublin City University and Honours Degree in Psychology - University of Pretoria. My undergraduate qualification is a degree in Law – University of Pretoria. I worked 8 years as Economic Development Officer in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC). In 2015 I became a director in 180 Degrees Retail Consultancy, part of the global Ebeltoft Group. As Economic Development Officer I managed Council’s relationships with other government agencies, business groups and internal departmental service providers to develop and implement local economic development strategies for the county. Local economic development is successful if there is a shared vision for the development of the area and clear understanding of roles of stakeholders and service providers. Through collaboration we successfully implemented a ten year strategy through which we created a strong pro-business environment in the county. I also worked closely with counterparts in other Dublin local authorities to develop and implement a regional economic development plan (2009–14) and tourism strategy (2014–20). I managed a process to appoint consultants for a new Economic Plan (2016-20). I also managed the Council’s business support programmes which required submissions of schemes for approval by elected members; providing answers in writing at monthly Council meetings; preparing progress reports and dealing with media queries.
1: The applicant demonstrates deep knowledge on the theme of local economic development and the related policy challenges.
As the European Officer in DLRCC, I managed Interreg projects (BRAND and Outdoor Tourism) and supervised URBACT projects (SURE and Placemaking4Cities). In Placemaking4Cities participants had issues working with difficult stakeholders including local authority departments. I prepared with Dave Lawless a presentation on facilitative leadership based on our training and work in Council to coordinate agency interaction. In SURE I produced with Dominic Mullan a report on the SURE LAP, specifically wording for Plan objectives, actions and indicators for implementation. Each action dealt with specific needs to support economic development in a disadvantaged area e.g. job seeking skills and apprenticeships. The Plan showed how actions connect to issues identified by community. In BRAND I developed with Elaine Carroll a marketing strategy for Dún Laoghaire. The aim was to change negative perceptions and to get buy-in from business, Council and community. We made presentations to stakeholder groups on place brands and branding. I helped shaping actions from use of graphic language to spokesperson media training to town social media platforms to re-branding local festivals. In Outdoor Tourism I prepared with Elaine Carroll a scoping document to research tourism marketing potential of each partner area. This formed the basis of a successful tender. To get agreement we guided partners to their strengths and USPs and to assess their capacity to deliver quality tourism products.
1: The applicant provides a number of examples showcasing his ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process.
Herewith some examples of inputs made by myself that contributed to learning and information for policy-making on aspects within the broad sphere of economic development: I commissioned research reports on economic activity in the town of Dún Laoghaire including two customer street surveys and an analysis of the retail offer. I worked with researchers and my staff to develop concise reports and presentations for discussions with Councillors, senior management and business groups. I developed a marketing strategy in 2009-10 for Sandyford Business District Association. This followed from interviews done by Smurfit Business School with CEOs in Sandyford as to their view of future development in the largest business district in Ireland outside of city centres. The strategy became a document for the sections of the business community (multi-nationals, retailers, warehouses/distributors and small businesses/offices) to agree how they can work together and work with Council to promote the business district. Today Sandyford is thriving with several new residential and mixed developments under way. My work with DLR County Development Board involved a review and evaluation of the implementation of the ten-year development strategy for the County. After consultations with key role players, I developed templates and reports to show progress as well as proposed new implementation approaches/opportunities. These reports included examples of good practice in other jurisdictions.
1: The applicant demonstrates a strong ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange and learning activities.
Here are some examples where I used project and work results to create further learning opportunities: I developed a template for a local action plan for jobs in the County as part of the Irish national Action Plan for Jobs. All Council departments used the template to report on their activities and policies that supported job creation. The information was captured and analysed so that each department could also see the inputs made by others and which initiatives were more successful to support businesses to create jobs. I developed the brief and commissioned the making of a video to promote the town of Dún Laoghaire. We used the research and key messages (story of the town) that we produced in the BRAND Project as the source material. The video was uploaded to Youtube (over 9,000 views) and also used on TV screens for visitor information in the Council and tourist offices. I organised the conference for the BRAND Project in which we showcased the work and methods used for place branding in the four towns of Athy, Rhyl, Holyhead and Dún Laoghaire. At the conference we launched our BRAND tool kit with a compilation of the best practice from the project. As the lead partner on the innovative marketing work programme in the Outdoor Tourism Project, I commissioned research that informed evidence-based project development in the partner areas.
1: The applicant shows a good understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design and awareness raising.
Summary Thematic expertise:
In over 15 years of working in the field of strategic planning and economic development I have acquired expertise in the following areas related to local economic development: • Strategy development: My outputs included producing position papers on specific issues; preparing and facilitating workshops with local stakeholders such as Council, agency service providers, businesses and communities; developing draft/discussion documents; getting-buy-in to proposed objectives and actions; and producing a final strategy. • Business environment development: My outputs included supporting local business groups in place analysis and identification of business development objectives; incentivising actions with schemes such as business area promotion grants; supporting business input to physical planning processes; assist stakeholders with developing marketing strategies and materials; and facilitating opportunities for innovation that will make business environments more attractive using new technologies for streetscapes and communication. • Retail and tourism: My outputs included research and analysis of product and offer, customer touch points and footfall patterns; facilitating collaboration and cross-referencing between individual providers/competitors in the interest of a ‘rising tide’; developing actions to build on place strengths and selling points; and commissioning research on customer preferences and satisfaction.
The applicant is validated for D "Local Economic Development", meeting 4 out of 4 criteria. No significant inconsistencies were identified between the CV and application.
Theme / Policy:
Integrated Urban Renewal
My knowledge on integrated urban renewal is based on work experience and opportunities such as study visits in the US and participation in a number of European projects. My focus has been on the ‘soft’ side of renewal soliciting stakeholder participation in problem identification and ideas generation; a broader understanding of the impacts of actions (changes) and inaction; and managing multiple and inter-agency responses to renewal challenges. I am experienced in building the capacity of business organisations to lead renewal processes. In particular I gained experience in the use of incentives and policy instruments to get ‘private’ actors such as retailers, investors and business groups to actively contribute to achievement of the Council’s urban renewal objectives. Specific schemes that I developed and managed included the dlr Business Area Promotion Grants, the Incentive for Occupation of Vacant Commercial Premises and a Shop Front Improvement Scheme. As part of 180 Degrees Retail Consultancy I have just completed the Dún Laoghaire Strategy for revitalisation of the main street and is currently working on a strategy for revitalisation of Almancil town centre in Portugal. I have a special interest in the placemaking approach to regenerate town/city centres focus on use and design of public spaces. In this regard I completed a training programme with Project for Public Spaces in New York. I have initiated a number of projects and conferences on placemaking.
1: The applicant has a strong background in the field of Integrated Urban Renewal.
I have had the opportunity to make presentations on aspects related to urban renewal at Council level, in seminars and conferences and to partners in EU projects. Presentations that I made to Council (councillors and senior management) on challenges faced by commercial areas of the County also included policy recommendations and proposed interventions such as the dlr Business Promotion Grants, the Incentive for Occupation of Vacant Commercial Premises and the Shop front Improvement Scheme. I regularly made presentations to workshops, seminars or stakeholder groups on topics related to urban renewal. On the recently completed Dún Laoghaire strategy for revitalisation of main street, I made presentations to councillors and to business community. A good presentation in my view should balance visualisation (graphics, photos) with concise text on key concepts, objectives and ‘take-aways’. I have organised two conferences on placemaking namely the Destination Creation Conference in 2012 and the Placemaking4Cities Conference in 2015. I have engaged in international exchange on place branding at the International Place Branding Conference in Manchester in 2013 and in our BRAND Project conference in 2012. Through all these interactions I have developed networks that enables me to bring experts to discussions and seminars at local and partner levels.
1: The applicant provides several examples showcasing his ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process.
I have presented to communities and business groups in Wales and Ireland on how place branding and placemaking could impact positively on the perceptions of their commercial areas and be the start of locally-led (community-led) activities to revitalise their areas. In such presentations I reference good practice in other cities. In my experience local communities and business groups have a strong interest to improve their areas and places because there is a competitive dynamic between places in play. They tend to want to benchmark themselves against similar towns/cities and places as well as stretch themselves to ‘match’ what they perceive as good practice and welcoming new developments. To facilitate learning in such a local dynamic often means to move beyond the single bricks-and-mortar solution (e.g. a shopping centre, a cinema, a playground) to a shared understanding of what attributes local people value of their place; what challenges they and their place will face including major external issues such as climate change; and the re-affirmation of their collective knowledge and resources to drive change. In a discussion paper I prepared for the Council steering group tasked with leading the development of a new Local Economic and Community Plan, I advocated a place-led development framework. I argued the need and usefulness of local actors actively engage in inter-city learning to examine good practice and implementation methods.
1: The applicant demonstrates a strong ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange and learning activities and that put forward good practice.
As part of the BRAND Project we developed a Pop-up Shop in Dún Laoghaire to address the visual negative effects of vacant shops and to demonstrate the positive impact of temporary uses. We used the graphic language and the branding tools we developed to produce a leaflet explaining the concept in a FAQ format for both potential retailers and for landlords. Five years later the pop-up shop is still going with demand still strong. The materials produced as well as the concept and policies have been replicated by other local authorities in Ireland and the UK. The BRAND Toolkit that we put together as four partner cities in the BRAND Project has been disseminated and re-used in other towns and cities in Wales and Ireland. The use of on-line media platforms as proposed in the Toolkit for town identities has proven a great success with platforms started in the project five years ago such as www.dunlaoghaire.ie (20,000+ visits per month) and the Dún Laoghaire Town Facebook page (6,500 likes) still growing in use and popularity. After the Placemaking4Cities Conference officials in the Irish Department of Environment have requested myself and Dave Lawless to prepare a policy paper providing guidelines to local authorities who are interested to facilitate placemaking processes in their jurisdictions. We are currently preparing our first draft.
1: The applicant shows a good understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awareness raising.
Summary Thematic expertise:
In my work as economic development officer and European Officer in the local authority, I have encountered a number of approaches to integrated urban renewal. I am interested in revitalisation and regeneration of existing urban centres and developed expertise in three areas related to urban development: • Place branding: In my MBA ideas of applying brand theory as part of integrated marketing of places became an interest. The BRAND Project was an opportunity to explore the approach that ‘users’ own the place brand therefore people’s connection and interaction with a place are critical. The place reputation influences others to visit, invest, work or live there. The challenge is to examine activities, determine changes and facilitate community-led action to improve place reputation with activity ranging from new events to place maintenance to marketing material to social media engagement. • Placemaking: During the Louvain La Neuve study visit (SURE Project) I engaged with the placemaking method. I then went for training to PPS in New York and since then have organised projects, training and conferences on placemaking. Placemaking is community-led engagement with public spaces with the aim to improve design and uses and revive pride of place. • Urban centre revitalisation: Currently I work with business groups and local authorities to analyse and plan strategies to revitalise urban centres with limited physical regeneration and emphasis on uses and local activities.
The applicant is validated for D "Integrated Urban Renewal", meeting 4 out of 4 criteria. No significant inconsistencies were identified between the CV and application.
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 past 14 years I worked in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as a development officer and strategic planner with a principal focus to coordinate inter-departmental and inter-agency cooperation and to assist with community and other stakeholder consultations. To work in this way required a break from the conventional methods of implementation of schemes once approved by Council, i.e. it is not sufficient just to implement what is 'in the budget'. It is more complicated and takes time to first consult with other stakeholders or to encourage a co-production approach where some aspects of implementation is 'given away' to other role players. In my experience the first step is to get role players to participate in joint planning processes and to agree commitments and joint monitoring of implementation. This is one of the advantages of getting role players involved in a Local Support Group in an URBACT project. A few pointers on my approach/methods. In the planning sessions I ensure that there is a mix of service providers and 'beneficiaries' present and that issues get discussed in well facilitated small groups and reported as a group to the plenary. I use meta planning methods where ideas and issues are written on post-its and grouped and re-arranged on the venue walls by participants themselves. I then capture the grouped ideas and develop a concise report for further inputs/corrections at follow-up meetings where I arrange presentations on identified themes.
1: The applicant shows knowledge on 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:
My work with the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Board involved the development and the periodic review and evaluation of the implementation of the ten-year development strategy for the County. The County Development Board was a statutory body consisting of Council, local development companies, state agencies and business and community representatives. My role was to coordinate actions that will impact across economic, social and cultural development strategy focus areas. The county is an urban area and part of the Dublin City Region. The purpose of the Board - and hence my role - was to minimise the silo effects and to facilitate inter-agency cooperation. As Economic Development Officer I managed Council’s relationships with other government agencies, business groups and internal departmental service providers to develop and implement local economic development strategies for the county. Local economic development is successful if there is a shared vision for the development of the area and clear understanding of roles of stakeholders and service providers. Through collaboration we successfully implemented a ten year strategy through which we created a strong pro-business environment in the county. I also worked closely with counterparts in the other Dublin local authorities to develop and implement a regional economic development plan (2009–14) and a tourism strategy (2014–20). I managed a process to appoint consultants for a new Economic Plan (2016-20).
1: The applicant demonstrates knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering and evaluation of urban strategies/policies. He does not, however,
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level:
I was appointed the European Officer for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2008 when I took responsibility for the economic development function in the Council. One of my main roles was to communicate possible funding opportunities internally. A very useful tool was the monthly bulletin issued by the Irish Regions Office in Brussels. With the new EU budget and the changes to the various EC Programmes, I organised a half day seminar attended by senior officials of all departments. The speaker I organised from the UK managed to cover all programmes and requirements in a concise and understandable way. I attended the national days organised by European Programmes such as Horizon2020 and URBACT. In my experience there are key agents and officials in a local authority that needs to have a positive disposition towards EU funding - in other words who see value despite what they hear about the administrative burden associated with some European Programmes . These are the Head of Finance and one or two 'champions' at senior management level. I saw my role as actively lobbying and communicating to these individuals the value of EU projects. In my time in this role we managed to get our Council participating as a partner in 4 projects. I am also proud to say that through the networks built with these projects officials in the Council continue to pursue new projects and is especially active in URBACT (one of only 4 out of 32 local authorities in Ireland).
1: The applicant show a good overall approach to keeping up-to-date regarding the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU level.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities:
Local authorities are required more and more to engage with local stakeholders and specifically the business communities to improve and maintain commercial centres so as to retain businesses and customer spend. In my experience local communities and business groups have a strong interest to improve their areas and places because they acknowledge the competitive dynamic between places. They tend to want to benchmark themselves against similar towns/cities and places as well as stretch themselves to ‘match’ what they perceive as good practice and welcoming new developments. To facilitate learning in such a local dynamic often means to move beyond the single bricks-and-mortar solution (e.g. a shopping centre, a cinema, a playground) to a shared understanding of what attributes local people value of their place; what challenges they and their place will face including major external issues such as climate change; and the re-affirmation of their collective knowledge and resources to drive change. In a discussion paper I prepared for the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council steering group tasked with leading the development of a new Local Economic and Community Plan, I advocated a place-led development framework. I argued the need and usefulness of local actors actively engage in inter-city learning to examine good practice and implementation methods. The Council has gone further and created incentive schemes to support business groups actively improving their areas.
1: The applicant provides a valid example showcasing his ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities.
For more than 10 years I worked in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as a development officer and strategic planner with a principal focus to coordinate inter-departmental and inter-agency cooperation and to assist with community and other stakeholder consultations. This experience gave me a very good understanding of how to engage with local authorities and how to manage and coordinate working relationships between local authorities and other stakeholders. In particular the roles of political representatives, community activists, functionaries and service providers can become entangled resulting in tensions and sometimes paralysis. A skilled coordinator finds ways to facilitate discussions in a constructive environment even if that means several bi-lateral discussions with individual participants before and after meetings. In my experience local authorities benefit from participating in European projects because the frameworks and methods allow authorities to engage with local stakeholders and ensure that issues are not viewed in isolation but evaluated through transnational learning exchanges. As a consultant I see my role in helping local authorities to identify appropriate projects and partners where issues that require a collaborative approach can be analysed and progressed in a structured process. I believe my success in persuading my previous employer to participate in several European projects will stand me in good stead working with other local authorities.
The applicant is validated for E, meeting 4 out of 4 criteria. No significant inconsistencies were identified between the CV and application form.
English - Mother tongue