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Validated Lead Expert

Generic Skills

B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development: 
The growth populations living in cities and reductions in public budgets oblige local authorities to look at their management and actions in a new way. This is strongly supported by the EU integrated urban development approach, which is also the backbone of the URBACT networks. It implies horizontal and non silos approach to developing cities, at the same time implicating inhabitants, through real participative processes in the decision making process and often in their concrete applications. In the URBACT philosophy, it's the social, economic and environmental questions which should always be taken into consideration in an integrated fashion. This provokes change and needs to be accompanied, as the structures of cities and the way they think have to become much more open and risk taking. Years of experience with REVES (European Network of Regions and Cities for social economy) showed how important integrated policies are, and how their practical application can influence peoples lives: e.g. the concept of socially responsible territories based on participative methods. Exporting these elements to Poland has permitted multiple testing areas. Leading a regeneration scheme in Gdynia, accompanying the strategic evolution of Gdańsk (from an innovative think tank to the 2030 Gdańsk Plus strategy), transforming public procurement, departmental strategies and whole city policies into new more integrated forms.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level: 
Each culture has it's own language and context and exchange with others is a skill in itself. Culture and language are vectors, which permit exchange and learning processes, or limit them. Coming from a bilingual English-Polish background, having learnt French as an adult, and having lived in four different countries has given me a very strong intercultural background, which has been enriched by numerous collaborations with many. The common use of English is very practical, but it's shared knowledge by different nations and persons in Europe needs constant care, in order to be sure that the appropriate quality of communication is reached. This implies, that learning and exchange have to be reinforced by appropriately conceived communication tools, such as images (drawings, comic strips) and visual aids (films, animations,) or just by allowing persons from the same language groups to strengthen their understanding by having time to "reinterpret" what has been said or understood, in their own language and it's cultural context. These are all capacity building notions, which are vital to community planning and actions. Breaking down the barriers in a mixed group is one of my specialties, as far as moderating techniques are concerned. This allows deeper levels of communication and mutual peer group learning, which are the keys to success in multinational and multicultural projects such as URBACT networks, where the basic tools (ULSG's and LAP's) have such a vital role.
B.3. Proficiency in English: 
As a native English speaker (bilingual with Polish) my command of English is of a very high level. Having studied drama and philosophy during my Bachelor of Education Degree (London University), I enriched my cultural understanding of English. As a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (International School, London) I developed an acute sensitivity to language as a communication tool, but also as a barrier to communication. At the Douai (Fr) Ecole des Mines (engineering school) I had the pleasure of teaching English communication, negotiation, presentation systems for 22 years and taught business persons English for the Chamber of Commerce in Lens (Fr). Numerous experiences of translating documents between English, French and Polish give me a very specific insight into the difficulties of communication and understanding. Although being a native English speaker. I have the capacity to adapt my English to the "European English language". Humor is vital in communication techniques, and even though I am not good at telling jokes, shared laughter is a permanent feature of my work.

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

Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities: 
Expert in change and innovation, I'm always looking for new ways in which to communicate at the transnational level, trying to ensure that everyone understands. Being trilingual underlines the strong need to understand, especially for those whose command of English is maybe less strong. This very strong listening capacity goes hand in hand with my energizing characteristic, which guarantees interesting and motivating workshops, comments and proposals, always adapted to the needs of the group and obviously the project. Making everyone feel secure and listened to is a sine qua non condition for efficient co-working. In order to overcome the language handicap visual aids of different kinds are vital, making sure that they are understood in English as well as own languages. More than 20 years of transnational work has allowed me to develop a very high level of emotional intelligence concerning making people work together, getting the right level of empathy going and producing results at the same time. Sometimes it's really necessary to get everyone to work hard. Reformulation of ideas and concepts, being a step ahead and knowing what to produce in reports and/or digital memory aids permits a continuity of moderation of a network, face to face or at a distance.

Thematic expertise:

Theme / Policy: 
Urban Strategic Planning
Summary Thematic expertise: 
Participative budgets, participative building of city strategies, participative planning of an area, creating companies and associations together. These ideas are often fostered and more rarely put into practice. For more than 25 years I have practiced these methods and have worked them through and analyzed them. They still don't work perfectly, as the human factor here is central. However their strength today is that without them the political relationships between decision makers and decisions receivers becomes more and more tense. Accompanying these processes motivates me very much and has in recent months allowed me to conduct many meetings with the inhabitants of Gdańsk on the 2030 strategy of the city. This process has been institutionalized by the local authority, which is presently basing its communication and further work on this method. Producing change and innovation in systemic ways are my specialty and permit progress both on the social as well as the infrastructural side. There exist very simple and appropriate methods and principles, which can guide us to producing change, even in the most complicated situations form the institutional and the bottom up perspective.
Theme / Policy: 
Integrated Urban Renewal
Summary Thematic expertise: 
Certain areas of our cities are abandoned. Trying to find out what to do in such an area, is equal to thinking about what it should be like, if I wanted to live there with my family! This was my first meeting with difficult areas and I have become a specialist in it. For local authorities it is a real challenge, because as institutions they do not really understand what it means to live in a relegated part of the city. Some young persons said that they cannot enter certain places as the 'thresholds are too high'. Understanding this allows you to enter into the other world, where lack of work, social help and illegal dealings are part of the everyday life. Working with such populations allows them to gain more dignity, become a real counter weight to centralized public policies and to drag the suburb back into the complexity of today's urban life. It is the work of local authorities and mediators that they have to find, to embrace these populations, knowing how difficult it will be. However if the physical regeneration is planned without them, it will fail, as showed the Alma Gare area of Roubaix, to which the planned middle class failed to move, condemning the area to finally be demolished. Working on this area requires from me, and will require from you bravery, guts and very hard work. Participation as I wrote one day, cannot be just a word thrown in the air. Making a suburb part of the city again requires real participation and knowing how and why to take risks.
Theme / Policy: 
Employment, Human Capital and Labour Mobility
Summary Thematic expertise: 
Local development based on pro employment strategies is what satisfies inhabitants. The social economy, with the different tools, based on job inclusion, services, cultural development, and equaling chances between inhabitants of different suburbs resumes many of my personal experiences. I have managed to transfer my experience in social economy to Poland, where I lead a social economy support structure, and am specialized in building networks, especially with the public and private sectors. I have reinforced my practice in the employment area with tools such as the permanent creative diagnosis, which is based in part on the work of the REVES network concerning socially responsible territories in which I also participated. But there are other tools and strategies; improving the entrepreneurial stance of young people, by changing the way teachers work, creating social innovation accelerators, supporting the interpenetration of classical companies and social entrepreneurs, and last but not least facilitating the task for local authorities to adapt to what is changing, as my main subject are change and innovation. This last task I have tried out in the north of France (Roubaix), where I was responsible for the development of 60 social economy structures, working together in an integrated plan for employment of a mono industrial city, with a real unemployment rate of 50%, as the textile industry had just left for Asia. It's the pathways to employment which are really important.

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 : 
The situation in the Gdynia suburb was not really out of control, but the local authority did not know how to approach the problem. Due to my French experience in working with difficult areas, I proposed a scheme, underlining, that the starting point is clear, but that we do not know how much time it will take. The theoretical approach which was accepted by the local authority turned out to be well chosen. Basing myself on visits and interviews I could continue the work and learning process basing it on the creative and permanent diagnosis method worked out earlier which is based on the participative approach for socially responsible territories. The best example of a co-production tool is the method used to define the future vision of the area, which was done in partnership with outside architects, whilst the main actors were the inhabitants themselves. A they already had confidence in what had been done they reinvented the area to suit them, discussed elements of detail with the architects team, and approved the final plan. In terms of results the local authority had who to talk to, saw that the residents were motivated, took risks in minor investments too gain more social approval and is continuing its policy of support to the team of 5 persons who now work on the suburb in a permanent way. Some of them are inhabitants. Other suburbs come to see how is it possible to achieve such results.
E.2. Knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies: 
Monitoring and evaluation of sustainable policies is central. In the above case the evaluation aspect was in the first years much more developed, in the sense that the positive continuation of the action necessitated evaluating what worked and what did not and inventing ways to improve the situation. In the second phase of the action, when the financial organization moved from the city directly to an outside operator, the monitoring function appears to have taken on much more importance. In my opinion trying to monitor everything is very complex. Evaluation of everything does not exist, as it tends not to give meaningful results. Evaluation from the outside is maybe more objective, but it is known that it produces less change that auto evaluation. In this area the inhabitants are almost ready to approach an auto evaluation process, which has to be, like to permanent creative diagnosis, rather a process than a fixed result. Should the inhabitants wish to do this, the results will, I'm convinced quickly be put into practice.
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level: 
Firstly, by being a practitioner I have to know what is evolving and changing, in order to best serve the actions I participate in. This requires quite a lot of networking, reading, being at key conferences and exchanging materials with others. Secondly if there are challenges in my work, as a consultant I tend to refer to other colleagues, in order to try to resolve a problem, or to obtain new stimulus's, which will allow me or others to progress. I have often been in the avant garde of innovation on certain questions, but I have also noticed that my 'original' inventions are often quite similar to others, which are invented around the same time. Sometimes I have to look at alternative sources of information to understand what is happening in the world. For many years I taught engineering students in France and obtained many fascinating ideas from the world of science and applied technologies, which I then transformed to integrated policy work.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities: 
The My Generation@Work network worked how to balance the unequal dialogue between education and employment. All the countries involved agreed that the schools and universities do not generally produce persons well adapter to the working world. As a group of experts, we therefore decided to try and identify what were the elements, which could substantially change this situation. This appeared very complicated, as the systems in the 10 countries are different. We had to resort to finding common ground and ended up working on three basic themes: the spaces which are appropriate for creating this link – in many countries partners were installing new buildings, trying to make them intimate, integrating, multifunctional and warm. The second theme was brokerage – a new form of mediation done by persons or institutions, which facilitate relationships, creating the possibility of "feeling together " (T. Spanger). Thirdly the network worked on enterprising curriculum's, preparing ways of learning and teaching which could help the needed partnership between employers and the educational systems to work better. This was mainly based on the idea, that the 'meeting' of pupils and teachers in class, should take into consideration the real learning methods of today's young generation, and most of all stimulate the young to be curious and creative in their approach to life and work. Various tools worked and were prepared and now have to be adapted to local situations, by the local brokers.
Summary Expertise: 
I have worked for numerous local authorities in France and Poland, more especially Arras, Roubaix, the Nord Pas-de-Calais regional authority, the Agglomeration of Montbeliard, Saint Michel sur Orge, but also state agencies. In Poland for Gdynia, Gdańsk, the Pomeranian Region, 13 provinces and state agencies. My work has often been in facilitating decision makers to execute the strategy/project they have decided in order to do this in the best state of the art way. I have therefore developed acute competences in advising without being better, in counseling, without it being received as such. Confidence building is a stable strong time consuming process, but I have also learned to obtain confidence very rapidly, mainly due to my listening which is of a high level and people realize this very quickly. Strategies and policies have to be constructed by those who will then manage them, therefore the role of an expert is to leave behind him all the skills and networks necessary. I have nearly always been capable of energizing the local situation and empowering people to be able to manage change themselves, after a time.


Residence location:
English - Mother tongue
Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
Unavailable - already performing the role of Lead Expert for an URBACT network

Area of expertise