Initiative

The concept for the implementation of the DiverCITY4 Bilateral Initiatives by the Wroclaw City Office

Introduction

DiverCITY is an international initiative dedicated to urban issues. Its primary objective is to develop a platform for the local self-governments establishing the spatial and social policy of their cities in Poland, Norway and Iceland to enable them to share their experiences in this area. During various events – conferences, workshops, exhibitions and meetings – the attendants can share knowledge, exchange good practices and understand global trends in the area of changes affecting urban space.

The initiative is the outcome of Polish – Norwegian cooperation established for many years under the projects financed from EEA and Norway Grants Fund.

The DiverCITY initiative is implemented under so-called bilateral cooperation forming an integral part of the EEA and Norway Grants Fund. This cooperation aims at the implementation of initiatives with participation of various institutions, experts, students, etc. from Poland and so-called Donor States, i.e. EEA and Norway Grants Fund donors.

DiverCITY4 involves the following institutions:

  1. Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy – Programme Operator
  2. Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) – Partner and Donor representative
  3. Icelandic Association of Local Authorities – Partner and Donor representative
  4. Municipality of Wroclaw – Project Beneficiary
  5. Wroclaw University of Technology – Project Partner
  6. Convention Bureau – Project Operator

The representatives of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw, followed by the representatives of the Norwegian self-governments indicated by KS and of Reykjavik as the Wroclaw Partner City are also involved in the project preparations. The project observer status is assigned to the Association of Polish Cities.

DiverCITY – previous editions

From the very beginning of its implementation, i.e. from 2014, there were three editions of DiverCITY. Each of them was organised under a dedicated leitmotiv:

The first edition of DiverCity was held in Wroclaw in 2014. The project consisted of a cycle of workshops for the architecture students from Poland, Norway and Iceland on development of the New Żerniki housing estate and Siechnice located in the suburbia of Wroclaw. The project highlight had a form of a three-day event embracing:

  1. the concert in the White Stork Synagogue (renovation of Synagogue was financed from the EEA and Norway Grants Fund),
  2. study visits for the conference participants (revitalisation of Nadodrze, WuWa, Wroclaw modernism and Sępolno).
  3. the conference entitled “DiverCITY – City for All”. The conference held in the Conference Centre at the Centennial Hall was attended by nearly 300 participants from Poland, Norway, Iceland, Great Britain and Germany.

The second edition of the conference was held in 2015. The leitmotiv of this edition was the revitalisation of degraded urban areas, including in particular in the scope of environment financing and protection. During this edition, the following events took place:

  1. a cycle of workshops for the Polish, Norwegian and Icelandic experts. Workshops were held in Lodz, Wroclaw and Fredrikstad.
  2. a conference held in the Radisson Hotel in Wroclaw and attended by nearly 200 participants from Poland, Norway, Iceland, Great Britain, Moldavia and Germany.
  3. study visits for the participants of workshops of and conference, similarly as during the first edition.

The third edition of the DiverCITY project named Festival of Cities was held in 2017 in the Conference Centre at the Centennial Hall. This time, the project featured an innovative formula consisting of the presentation of nearly 50 urban concepts. These were presented by practitioners, city representatives, experts, members of non-governmental organisations from Poland, Norway, Iceland, Czech, Holland, Luxembourg and Austria. The conference gathered nearly 300 participants. This time, the study visits were organised in Wroclaw (city art, city bicycles, revitalisation) a Trzebnica (idea for a small city).

The conference gave the initial boost to commence cooperation between the city of Wroclaw and Reykjavik. Thanks to the relationships and contacts established during DiverCITY 2017, Wroclaw signed a partnership agreement with Reykjavik.

The participants of all project editions include the representatives of self-government, non-governmental organisations, urban movements, urban planners and architects.

The website dedicated to the past editions of the project is available at http://w-r.com.pl/projekty/2235/

Fourth edition – DiverCITY4

The DiverCITY4 stakeholders consist of the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (donor), Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, Polish Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy and the Municipality of Wroclaw (beneficiary) in cooperation of the Research Center for Sustainable Built Environment, “RoSE” (project partner) and Convention Bureau representing the NGOs sector (project operator). The Association of Polish Cities acts as the project observer.

DiverCITY4 embraces the following elements:

  • expert workshops in 4 thematic areas,
  • scientific studies on combating air pollution in city downtowns entitled Model Block on the example of the Wroclaw Downtown,
  • tool available to the other cities and dedicated to planning the investment focused on improving air quality in the downtown districts,
  • conference presenting the conclusions and solutions worked-out during workshops and research,
  • publications with recommendations and good practices in 4 thematic areas of workshops,
  • manual on eliminating solid fuel heating sources (near-ground emission) primarily for the decision-maker at the local level and administrators,
  • dissemination of the workshop and research results in the form of publications containing guidelines, recommendations and good practices for the cities, including these participating in the Local Development programme.

Expert workshops

The workshops (under 4 thematic groups) organised under DiverCITY4 edition aim at the preparation of four-panel sessions that will contribute to the DiverCITY4 summary conference programme and at the development of publications disseminating these themes.

Workshop themes:

  • environment,
  • senior policy,
  • accessibility,
  • housing.

To ensure due to preparation of the conference, 3 meetings of the workshop groups are planned in Wroclaw. The first series will be held in mid-December (accessibility and housing) and mid-January (environment and senior policy); the second series will take place at the beginning of March 2020, while the third one in one day before the summary conference i.e. at the end of April 2020.

Conference 

The one-day conference will be a summary and presentation of outcomes of all 4 workshop groups and conclusions collected under the Research Component of the Project. The plans include presentations of the solutions worked-out during the 3 series of workshops in 4 thematic areas (in the field of housing, accessibility, environment and senior policy) based on experiences and good practices from Poland, Norway and Iceland. Besides, the proposed results for the city downtowns struggling with near-ground emission will be presented to enable their replication in the cities, downtowns of which have a historical urban tissue requiring modernisation. In this Project edition, the thematic panels will be held one after another to enable each participant of the conference taking part in them.

The conference will be addressed to nearly 300 participants from Poland and Norway and Iceland and gather the representatives of these states, self-government organisations, NGOs and experts in individual fields. The focus will be on the participation of the representatives of the cities applying to the 2nd round of the competition under the 2014-2021 Local Development Programme (LDP). Also, the representatives of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) and Association of Polish Cities, including City Advisors preparing a group of Polish cities to apply in the 2nd round of the LDP competition will be invited. Organisation o the conference is the responsibility o the Wroclaw City Office. The conference will be held in the Polish language and interpreted into English.

Dissemination of results

Dissemination of the project results – understood as dissemination of products generated throughout the project until the end of the conference – will encompass various activities.

Firstly, the publication containing the conclusions worked-out during the thematic workshops, the research component of the project (PWR) and summary conference, will be prepared. This publication will contain recommendations and good practices in 4 thematic areas of the workshops and a summary of conference discussions.

Besides, the cities applying to the 2nd stage of the Local Development Programme competition will take part in 3 organised meetings disseminating the conclusions obtained in the research components. The result of “model block” research will be presented and accompanied by workshops on using the tool aimed at planning the investments focused on improving air quality in the downtown districts. The Icelandic and Norwegian experts presenting the experiences of their respective cities in this field will be invited to participate.