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Country
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  • CityCentreDoctor

    Summary

    Lead Partner : San Donà di Piave - Italy
    • Amarante - Portugal
    • Heerlen - Netherlands
    • Idrija - Slovenia
    • Medina del Campo - Spain
    • Naas - Ireland
    • Nort-sur-Erdre - France
    • Petrinja - Croatia
    • Radlin - Poland
    • Valašské Meziříčí - Czech Republic

    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027

    CONTACT US

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Heerlen). Transnational meetings in September (Medina del Campo) and November (Amarante).
    Transnational meetings in April (Nord sur Erdre), May (San Dona di Piave), July (Idrija) and September (Valmez).
    Final event in March (San Dona di Piave).

    The cities of this Action Planning network were challenged to identify the urban issues relate to their city centre, analyse perceptions and reality of those areas. All cities have a centre which historically and functionally brings residents, businesses, services and a range of social activities together. Thus, the involved cities shared ideas and practices, supporting each other to develop actions to strengthen the revitalisation of their city centres (which is often the nexus for social, cultural and, ultimately, economic local development).

     

    Revitalising city centres of smaller cities
    Ref nid
    7462
  • Croatia earthquake: URBACT cities rally support for devastated Petrinja

    Copy linkFacebookXLinkedInEmail
    15/11/2022

    Find out how its former URBACT partner cities are supporting Petrinja at its time of need.

    News

    Since the central Croatian town of Petrinja was destroyed by a series of powerful earthquakes in December 2020, partner cities from the URBACT CityCentreDoctor network (2016-2018) have reacted quickly to send emergency support – more than two years after working together to revitalise their city centres.

    “URBACT created personal relationships between people from different towns and created a living network that has brought vital support at this difficult time,” said Petrinja resident Nina Ficur Feenan who has been helping with communications between her town and URBACT partners. “Such solidarity is a bright light during what has been a very dark crisis.”

    “The 6.4 magnitude earthquake on 29 December 2020 literally shook us from our foundations,” Nina said. “Seven people lost their lives on that day and one rescue worker also died later. Thousands lost their homes. The town does not exist anymore. Hospital, ER, schools, shops, banks, hairdressers, florists, cafes, restaurants, market, museums, cinema, boutiques, bakeries, butchers... it's all gone.”

    “Everything that makes a town is gone. It is hard to perceive that level of devastation.”

    Petrinja main square after the December 2020 earthquake.

    Small-city solidarity

    Despite the Covid-19 crisis, Petrinja’s former network partners – all small cities roughly the same size – reacted quickly with solidarity, practical support and funds. “They have a connection with Petrinja and have walked on our streets that have been devastated by the earthquakes and can, maybe, better understand the situation we are in,” said Nina.

    In the Irish city of Naas, Mayor Fintan Brett first heard about the quake on the CityCentreDoctor WhatsApp group where the 10 partner cities still share news, ideas and encouragement on their town centre improvements. He decided to take action. “What do we do? Just look at them? Or get up and do something?”

    With support from the Naas ‘town team’ – a continuation of the URBACT Local Group formed during the URBACT project – Fintan worked closely with Majella O’Keeffe of Naas Access Group to launch a gofundme appeal for Petrinja’s municipal council. Donors include Irish ambassador Ruaidhri Dowling, who is supporting efforts in Croatia. They also went a step further, mobilising hundreds of Naas residents and businesses to donate food, warm clothes, building materials and other items requested by Petrinja, including goods for people with disabilities. With logistics support from the council, volunteers packed these into a 45-foot container for shipping.

    Volunteer local truck driver Paul Kennedy transported the donated goods to Croatia in the last week of January.

    Daniele Terzariol, Deputy Mayor of San Donà di Piave, the Italian city that led the CityCentreDoctor network, also reacted quickly to the WhatsApp alert. Helped by the Italian National URBACT Point, he launched a fundraising appeal to all Italian cities in URBACT networks, past and present, encouraging them to send funds directly to the Municipality of Petrinja. His municipality also decided to make a donation, as did URBACT local partners in Heerlen (NL). Meanwhile, Radlin – a Polish city with a population of under 20,000 – also sent a shipment of goods.

    Daniele sees Petrinja as a ‘sister city’ that “needs the support of all of us in order to make the reconstruction and support of citizenship as fast as possible”. He said: “The earthquake that hit Petrinja caused the devastation of the city centre and neighbouring villages: as colleagues, friends and partners we cannot sit still without actively supporting the people who live in those places.”

    Lasting positive URBACT relations

    This welcome response in a time of crisis is just one example of how URBACT cities across Europe often keep up close links beyond the completion of their networks. CityCentreDoctor URBACT Expert Wessel Badenhorst attributes this lasting solidarity to the way URBACT guides cities to work together through an intensive two-year process, while leaving flexibility for meaningful personal connections to develop. He said: “This earthquake crisis is an example of how resilience can be gained from being part of a network that took two years of intensive development.”

    “Today we’re still all friends and we’re happy to keep our relationships strong and vital,” said Daniele. “URBACT networks and all the European projects are based on the values of solidarity and union and increase mutual knowledge based on common roots.”

    Badly damaged by war in the 1990s, as Petrinja sets out on a battle to rebuild yet again, Nina Ficur Feenan says: “We appreciate all the help and support we can get from our friends and partners as well as from strangers and friends we haven't met yet.”

    Interested to support Petrinja directly?  Find details of how to donate on the official city website.

    Cover photo by Nina Ficur Feenan on Flickr

     

    From urbact
    On
    Ref nid
    15166
  • McAuley Place for older people

    Ireland
    Naas

    The game changer in city centre revitalisation

    Sonya Kavanagh
    Director for Services, Economic Development, Kildare County Council
    Copy linkFacebookXLinkedInEmail
    20 002

    Summary

    To ensure the quality of life of its older people and their independence, Naas (IE) developed an alternative model to the institutional residential care one. McAuley Place is a non-medical, intergenerational and not-for-profit housing association located in the city centre, its 53 apartments are allocated both socially and privately to 60 people. McAuley Place aims at bringing older people to the heart of the vibrant Naas community. Activities such as the popular Arts and Crafts programme, by attracting inhabitants of all age, ensure the social inclusion and integration of the tenants. Since 2008, McAuley has been providing an environment in which all stakeholders, residents, workers and volunteers (often students), can connect.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    McAuley Place offers the following: • It indicates the primary importance of operating to a Value-System. This is seldom the case in urban plan-making. Stating a value-system up front means you have to carry it through into policy, plan, and operational life; • McAuley is driven by the UN Principles for Older People, indicating clarity in its philosophy and ethos, but also indicating how these principles are put into practice; • McAuley offers a model of sustainable urban living, with a town centre location and a mixed-use campus, where culture operates as a critical platform, accessible to both resident and visitor alike; • It has been achieved through networking a cross-institutional approach and leveraging vertical integration through support from government, local authority, local business, and community groups; • In terms of both policy and operational fronts, McAuley Place strives to achieve horizontal integration through synthesising strategy which links social, economic and environmental perspectives; • McAuley illustrates inter-generational participation through activities which draw in all age groups into an intentionally mixed programme.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    • McAuley Place is guided by a holistic thrust. It works to achieve an awareness of the total systems it operates within, is inspired by its vision of the shape of future success, and applies strategy, action and tools to achieve it; • While working within a systems approach, which acknowledges the complexity of urban places, a thematic framework helps to structure this complexity, and suggests the need to achieve sustainability under key headings, e.g. social sustainability, cultural sustainability, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, movement sustainability, and the spatial sustainability of urban form; • Key areas of performance include the re-use of under-used and vacant town centre sites, the application of mixed land use, combining the diversity of complementary activities in a mixed programme; • McAuley reduces the need for vehicular use, through its town centre location, which prioritises pedestrian access through walking and cycling; • McAuley Place achieves environmental objectives through recycling, water conservation, sourcing local food products for its tea rooms, and by providing ecological green spaces.

    Based on a participatory approach

    Openness, transparency, and communication. It strives to create an environment in which all its stakeholders, residents, workers/volunteers, can communicate, connect, and collaborate. • McAuley Place encourages and relies on a wide range of support from local government, local business and community group stakeholders; • It is the practice in McAuley Place to encourage a wide cross-section of stakeholders to become available for interviews for media/research, etc.; • High levels of participation in its Arts and Crafts programme reflect the critical importance of creativity, and help build a culture of social contact.

    What difference has it made?

    • The UN Principles on Older People hang in the foyer, the mixed-use campus sits around you; tea rooms, 53 apartments, Arts Hub, community centre, walled garden and Health through Learning Project [Phase 1]; • The events programme is real, varied, and very well supported; • The tea rooms are a huge success, a bustling meeting point for the town, where young and old mingle, where wonderful food is served, and where up to 35 volunteers support the full-time staff; • McAuley is a huge positive statement in a town centre which has suffered economically, and where there are many vacant buildings; • It illustrates how top-down governance, and bottom-up community energy can combine to tackle what appear to be intractable social issues, e.g. the isolation and poor quality of life suffered by older people; • The model of McAuley Place has drawn much interest from media and TV, and has been endorsed by the President of Ireland; • Evidence of huge ongoing community support. Evidence of lived lives.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    • The relationship of society to its older generation is a universal issue. McAuley Place shows how this issue can be approached, and how existing poor practice can be challenged; • It demonstrates an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach embedded in a campus where the mix of residential, Arts Hub, community centre, restored garden and tea rooms creates the kind of rich ecology which produces daily minor miracles, and sustains mental health and human existence; • McAuley is socially innovative, it has created a new kind of infrastructure, and it has done this by working in a cross-institutional manner, building bridges between top-down governance and a bottom-up “can-do” mindset; • It has used a hard infrastructure from a past legacy and fused it with the soft infrastructure inspired by a value system expressed in the UN Principles for Older People; • McAuley Place is an innovative contemporary institution which attracts and retains an impressive contribution from volunteers; • Every city and every neighbourhood would benefit from a McAuley Place.

    Is a transfer practice
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