Fourth Annual ICLRD Conference – Achieving Balanced Regional Development: Dynamic Regions, Spatial Strategies and Collaboration

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
22-23 January 2009

Dignitaries from the 4th Annual ICLRD Conference "Achieving Balanced Regional Development: Dynamic Regions, Spatial Strategies and Collaboration" are (from left to right) John Driscoll, Grant Duncan, Dr. Gabor Novotny, Dr. Rupert Kawka, Minister Michael Kitt, Minister Conor Murphy, Steve Quartermain, Jim Mackinnon, and Peter Roberts

Dignitaries from the 4th Annual ICLRD Conference "Achieving Balanced Regional Development: Dynamic Regions, Spatial Strategies and Collaboration" are (from left to right) John Driscoll, Grant Duncan, Dr. Gabor Novotny, Dr. Rupert Kawka, Minister Michael Kitt, Minister Conor Murphy, Steve Quartermain, Jim Mackinnon, and Peter Roberts

In January the ICLRD held its annual conference in Letterkenny, Co Donegal under the title Achieving Balanced Regional Development: Dynamic Regions, Spatial Strategies and Collaboration. Letterkenny was chosen as the venue in order to highlight the ongoing efforts with Derry/Londonderry to develop the cross-border Northwest Gateway. The conference was attended by over 130 delegates, speakers and chairs from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, Hungary, Germany, the Skane Region in Sweden, and the states of Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia in the United States. Mr. Michael Kitt, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and Mr. Conor Murphy, MLA, Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland addressed this major cross-border planning conference.

Keynote speakers from overseas included Steve Quartermain, Chief Planning Officer in the Department for Communities and Local Government in London; Jim MacKinnon, Director for the Built Environment in the Scottish Government; Grant Duncan, Head of the Sustainable Futures Division in the Welsh Assembly Government; Dr Gabor Novotny, from the European Commission’s DG Regio (Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion); Dr Rupert Kawka from the German Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning; and Professor Gerrit Knapp, Director, National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, University of Maryland.

The conference – especially the address by both Ministers Kitt and Murphy – was timely, given that the plenary session of the North-South Ministerial Council focusing on cross-border initiatives was held in Magee Campus, Derry on Friday January 23. In the coming months there are various cross-border policy initiatives scheduled to launch, including the Collaborative Framework for Spatial Planning on the Island of Ireland, the Northwest Gateway Initiative and an ICLRD report on the Newry-Dundalk Twin City Region. Launching these three-initiatives will represent significant milestones in cross-border cooperation on the Island of Ireland.

The conference delegates represented a mix of academics, students, practitioners, Ministers, Councilors, officials from central and local government, and representatives from cross-border bodies and the private sector. Organized across two days, there was ample time for debate, networking and cross-learning on the themes of inter-jurisdictional collaboration in spatial planning and local and regional development.

The first day focused on issues of strategic territorial planning through specific examples: EU territorial cohesion policies, international experiences from the State of Maryland (US) as well as Germany to encourage balanced regional growth, and on spatial planning experiences of our neighbours in Scotland, Wales and England. We closed the afternoon with presentations by Michael Kitt, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Minister Conor Murphy, MLA, Minister for Regional Development on the current efforts by both Governments to establish a collaborative framework for spatial planning on the island of Ireland.

The presentations on the second day concentrated on balanced regional development through designated gateways on the Island of Ireland, including those that cross borders and jurisdictions: the Northwest Gateway, the Newry-DundalkTwin City, the Atlantic Gateway and the Cork Gateway. Furthermore, presentations from the Department for Regional Development, Northern Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Heritage & local Government, Ireland discussed the opportunities that are emerging for inter-jurisdictional cooperation and the role of gateways and regions within and between the respective spatial strategies. Closing breakout sessions offered conference participants an opportunity to discuss and debate the presentations and present questions to a panel representing the County and Council Executives and Central government departments.

We were pleased to continue our collaboration with InterTradeIreland, with its sponsorship of the Day 2 session on Achieving Balanced Regional Development—Learning from Each Other.

Conference Programme
Conference Report
Conference Audio

Conference Summary Report
Achieving Balanced Regional Development – Cliff Hague

Day 1
Opening Remarks – John Driscoll
Balanced Regional Development and Territorial Competitiveness – Gabor Novotny
The Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion-Annex for Discussion – Gabor Novotny
Advancing the Land Use Agenda In Maryland: Analysis, Policy, and Public Participation – Gerrit Knaap
Achieving Balanced Regional Policy in Germany: The Role of Urban-Rural Partnerships – Rupert Kawka
People, Places, Futures: The Wales Spatial Plan – Grant Duncan
Spatial Planning at the National Level: Scotland’s Experience – Jim Mackinnon
Spatial Planning in England – Steve Quartermain
Address to the ICLRD Annual Conference – Minister Michael Kitt, TD
Address to the ICLRD Annual Conference – Minister Conor Murphy, MLA

Day 2
Review of the Regional Development Strategy – Mike Thompson
Refreshing the National Spacial Strategy and the Framework for Collaboration – Niall Cussen
The Atlantic Gateway – Brian Callanan
The Role of the Cork Gateway in Achieving Balanced Regional Development – Kevin Terry
The Newry-Dundalk Gateway – Conn Murray and Tom McCall
The Letterkenny Derry/Londonderry Gateway – Michael McLoone, John Meehan