To demonstrate how the positive socio-economic impacts of open space improvements could be maintained in the long run (‘place-keeping') by promoting innovative partnership approaches involving private enterprises, communities and government.
MP4 mainstreamed best practice in place-keeping across the whole of the North Sea Region. Through transnational cooperation, it demonstrated how socio-economic growth could be stimulated and maintained through long-term physical improvement.
The strategic goal was to bring about a major shift in EU cohesion policy towards the long-term security of its investments.
A key challenge facing communities throughout the North Sea Region is to offer a high quality of life, in order to attract skilled employees in the global knowledge economy. This is a concern shared by areas in economic decline and in post-industrial communities where the threat of market-failure is most acutely felt. Key EU policies supporting the Lisbon/Gothenburg process confirm the importance of providing attractive investment locations.
Making Places Profitable therefore highlighted the importance of ‘place-keeping', and its delivery in partnership. It applied the proven approach of mainstreaming best practice across the whole of North Sea Region, showing how to maintain the positive impact of concrete actions, in perpetuity.
The challenge was to maintain the real and multiple benefits of well designed places. The project combined efforts to solve the problem that too much emphasis was being placed on ‘creation' rather than long-term upkeep. In practice, open space managers increasingly recognised the danger of cities constantly revisiting and ‘improving' previous projects, which was neither environmentally or economically sustainable.
This problem was compounded by the fact that many local authorities and public agencies faced a constant struggle to obtain sufficient resources for maintenance. Place-keeping suffered from being unglamorous, whilst being important for social, economic and environmental reasons.
This was a job that no single member state could achieve alone. The challenge was of such a magnitude that it required the critical mass of action that only transnational cooperation could deliver. The partners in Making Places Profitable worked hard together to find strategies to upgrade public and private open spaces and to provide for their long term maintenance.