Longford URBACT Local Group
PHASE 2 MEETING - DEFINING THE PROBLEM
Longford URBACT Local Group (ULG) launched phase 2 of the URBSecurity project in September 2020. The second meeting of the ULG took place on online, due to COVID restrictions, on Monday 7th December. The Longford County Council Regeneration officer updated the ULG on the Network Transnational meetings held in November and the upcoming programme of meetings agreed and the draft roadmap for the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) was reviewed and discussed.
Ongoing issues were outlined in the context of urban security in Longford Centre, focussing on the attractiveness and security of laneways and how this might be improved to encourage greater use of off-street parking and general activity within the core area to encourage passive security and enhanced urban permeability.
The importance of taking on board the views of younger users of the urban area was highlighted and it was agreed that a project will be developed with transition year students in line with their geography curriculum. This initiative will establish a baseline of attitudes toward the use of laneways and backland areas off the main street, establish what the main issues are and how these might be addressed.
The small-scale action proposed for investigation is the Garvey’s Yard Art project, which will involve the installation of an art project at the lane to focus the visitor on the space beyond the arch from the Main Street. It is proposed that the school project will then be used to measure how this action has encouraged use of the laneway or changed attitudes towards its use, comparing the effects of this action with other public realm improvements ongoing in other laneways throughout the town centre. These outcomes can then be fed into the network for analysis and potential application in other partner cities. Similarly, experiences elsewhere in the network will be investigated in a Longford context over the course of the project.
The next meeting of the ULG is scheduled for 1st March 2021 and will focus in a more detailed way on the Actions proposed.
Progress on the project can be followed on UrbSecurity Facebook page and https://www.facebook.com/regenerationlongford/
LAUNCH OF PHASE 2 OF URBSECURITY PROJECT
The UrbSecurity network of the URBACT Program was one of the 23 programmes approved for progression to phase 2. Under the banner “Planning Safer Cities”, this project has the Municipality of Leiria, Portugal, as Lead Partner and brings together eight other European cities and regions: Longford (Ireland), Madrid (Spain), Mechelen (Belgium), Michalovce (Slovakia), Parma (Italy), Pella (Greece), Szabolcs 05 Association of Municipalities (Hungary) and Unione della Romagna Faentina (Italy). The lead partner, Leiria, Portugal, will officially launch phase 2 of the project on Monday 21st of September.
The main objective of the network is to study, create and develop new approaches and strategies aimed at innovative urban planning solutions that can prevent crime, improve the perception of urban security and change behaviors to improve the quality of life of citizens in urban environments.
UrbSecurity will contribute to the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of cities. Partners have been divided into nine thematic groups in the areas of spatial design, functions & animation, engagement techniques, communities, minorities, benchmarking & impacts, CCTV, nudging and pedestrian safety. Taking advantage of the good practices already implemented by each of the partners and having each established their local objectives, the network's activities will run until mid 2022, when the results will be collated and disseminated.
On the 28th of September, the Longford Urbact Local Group will, in association with the Longford County Council Regeneration Team, launch and commmence activities in support of Phase 2 of the project, in tandem with ongoing initiatives in other partners’ respective cities. Activities will include international meetings, local meetings and public events, largely restricted to digital communiation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Progress on the project can be followed at https://www.facebook.com/regenerationlongford/ and UrbSecurity Facebook pages