Urban planners of Baltic Urban Lab met up in Tallinn

Urban planners from Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Estonia gathered to share experiences and create more sustainable and inclusive planning processes for brownfield regeneration. Cities of Riga, Turku, Norrköping and Tallinn presented their progress, challenges and best practices during the project meeting 1-3 March 2017.

The first day was reserved for project related activities such as sharing best practices and uncovering the challenges that the cities face when implementing the brownfield regeneration activities in their respective Pilot Site. The project partners were then taken to a Site Visit to see some examples of brownfield development in Tallinn – Noblessner and Ülemiste City.  Despite the rainy weather, the planners enjoyed the Site Visit and listening to the stories from the people who had developed them.


The second day, 2 March 2017, involved the external stakeholders to the first Baltic Urban Lab’s workshop. Even though the majority of the participants were from Tallinn (Estonia), Cesis (Latvia) and Valga (Estonia) were both represented as well as NGOs such as Linnalabor (Estonian Urban Lab), students from Finnish and Estonian universities as well as company representatives. The workshop formally started with opening words from Baltic Urban Lab's project coordinator Maija Rusanen and Tallinn Urban Planning Department's Chief Anu Hallik-JürgensteinLiisa Perjo and Christian Fredricsson from Nordregio presented us with differences and similarities in the planning systems of Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia.  Norrköping's Jennifer Jangert and Fredrik Wallin touched the importance of communication in planning for brownfields. Following, we had guest speaker Leena Kallioniemi from the City of Oulu, presenting the case of Hiukkavaara area.  Telliskivi Creative City and the developer’s perspective was portrayed by Jaanus Juss, the CEO and founder of the Telliskivi Creative City. After the presentations, participants got the chance to have simultaneous discussions with the speakers and elaborate on the issues they had brought forward in their presentations. Site Visit passing the Skoone Pilot Area and exploring the Telliskivi Creative City – could be marked as one of the highlights of the workshop day. The workshop participants were especially inspired by the excursion led by Jaanus Juss himself, the surroundings of the Telliskivi Creative City were impressive and the whole area acted as a hub for local design, crafts and culture. Definitely a place worth a visit for anyone who happens to visit the Estonian capital.

After the Site Visit, the workshoppers were presented at the Case Study Workshop with multiple challenges on how to help Tallinn to improve their collaboration with an array of stakeholders so that the development of the Skoone area could proceed in a sound manner. The participants were advised to create diverse groups, each of them including a moderators and a person from Tallinn’s team to open up the discussions. The final results of the Case Study Workshop consisted of concrete solutions and recommendations for the City of Tallinn.

Anu Leisner (project coordinator, Tallinn Urban Planning Department) commented on the outcomes of the Workshop: "We are very satisfied with the results of the Case Study Workshop. We got plenty of ideas and possible solutions that we can experiment with at Tallinn's Pilot Site - for example we are planning to organize a similar workshop with our stakeholders to start solving the issues that have been most conflicting."

The third day put the attention back to project partners and their activities, emphasising how important communications and exchange of good practices are in getting more visibility locally and internationally for the crossborder cooperation projects. Project partners also got a chance to develop further the integrated urban planning model that will be one of the main deliverables of the project.  Overall, Baltic Urban Lab project partners had both a successful project meeting as well as the workshop in Tallinn and everyone is looking forward to the next workshop, this time taking place in Norrköping (Sweden) in June!

Photos: Kristiina Paju