New U.S. Partner

National Center for Smart Growth, University of Maryland joins ICLRD as new U.S. Partner

In April 2019, University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) joined the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) as its new U.S. Partner.  The Director and Associate Director of NCSG, Prof. Gerrit Knaap and Mr. Nick Finio respectively, travelled to Ireland from 6-11th April 2019 to forge a new research relationship with the University partners on the island of Ireland – namely, Maynooth university and Ulster University.

To gain an insight into the ICLRD’s work on the ground, Prof. Knaap and Mr. Finio accompanied the ICLRD Director, Caroline Creamer, to the cities of Derry/Londonderry and Letterkenny to discuss cross-border urban planning issues with local academics and policymakers, and spent a morning with the Researchers Forum to hear of collaborations both underway and in the pipeline.

During the ICLRD Executive Board meeting on 9th April, ICLRD Chair, Ms. Jenny Pyper and Prof. Knapp signed a ceremonial agreement representing NCSG’s commitment to join ICLRD.  The NCSG will be joining ICLRD on a pilot basis for two years to explore and join in research projects, with potential to become a permanent partner in 2021. The ICLRD’s focus on building the capacity of regional and local authorities, development agencies, border networks and community and voluntary organisations to manage spatial planning on the island of Ireland as a whole neatly aligns with NCSG’s work in Maryland, across the US, and nationally, to use best practices in urban planning to build a more sustainable future.

NCSG Director Gerrit Knaap is pictured with Jenny Pyper, ICLRD Chair and Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator of Northern Ireland. Knaap and Pyper are signing a ceremonial agreement representing NCSG’s commitment to join ICLRD.