Kick-Off Meeting

The STATUS project has started with a successful kick-off meeting on May 9th-10th, in Kavala Greece, the lead-partner’s hometown.

The 2-day meeting offered good opportunities, for the 10 partners and experts present, to meet with each other and exchange experiences and ideas on the strategic planning issues that they are dealing with. All partners show high interest in the project and each one of them is committed to the activities planned.

9th of May – After a brief welcoming, the day started with partners and experts presentations. The experts represent the pool of expertise that may be tapped into by all partners on issues that may arise with developing content and implementation of actions within the project. The presentations touched on topics such as: territorial cohesion, visions beyond planning and strategic Planning.

The experts emphasized the need for integrated approach, for a broad overview of the global situation and the need of cities to align to it and consider it when setting the trends for local development. Urban and regional competitiveness is the driving force for development. Boundaries are less and less obvious; projects are looking more and more at cross border scenarios. Planning paradigms are changing all over the world as cities, regions, provinces have different needs, that change at a very fast pace. Connectivity, collaboration and integration have become milestones for sustainable development. The process of planning should be more important that the products deriving from it, moreover plans and strategies should be pro-active.

And last but not least, the discussion focused on the necessity of having coherent actions on different scales and implementing that projects should keep in mind their effect on the scale wider than the area of intervention. The elements provided within the project should be adapted to local situation and needs. One of the most important aspects is continuity of the process.

The later part of the day took the opportunity to bring into discussion practical issues related to the work packages such as: reporting and data gathering templates, data collection, time frame for the project considering its late start, web platform development, development of the UC and the UTFs, workshops to be organized.

10th of May – The second day was focused on the presentations of each partner city and two parallel sessions.

City presentations on their current state of affairs and challenges they are facing, was a good opportunity for the PMT, the experts and the technical partners to get an overview of the varied local situations, needs and ambitions of the partner cities. The presentations showed in detail information about the cities and regions and may already be considered as a preliminary analysis of the local situation and a starting point for the following activities of the project. After the territorial partner presentations, two custom-tailored discussions were organized between the city and region representatives and the Expert partners.

The day was concluded with a consideration on public participation, it is the first issue that the cities will need to face in developing the project. To this extent the cities should start from the “usual suspects” and increase the group of stakeholders involved, aiming not necessarily for the decision makers but for “players” who are involved in the process and actively own it. Local political parties have a crucial say in the way the operation and setting up of the agendas and the way the urban centers are shaped.

Local thinking is the key to achieving a successful process.

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