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ICLRD’s 7th Annual Conference

19-20 January 2012
Dundalk, County Louth

The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) will be holding its Seventh Annual Conference on 19-20 January 2012 in the border town of Dundalk, County Louth.  The theme of this two-day event is Planning for a New Future: Can Planning and Cross-Border Cooperation Deliver Change in Ireland and Europe?

The island of Ireland faces many challenges due to the severe downturn in the world economy, stagnant development and the legacy of over a decade of sometimes ill-planned development. These challenges have knock-on implications for cross-border cooperation, sustainable development and engaging businesses and residents in shaping communities where people want to live and work.

The Seventh Annual ICLRD Conference considers models of collaboration across borders and between local government and other key local agencies.  Both presenters and delegates alike are being asked to identify workable new approaches to planning and the delivery of services.  The conference will be organised around three main sessions:

  • New Regionalism in Action in Border Areas – speaking to the role of new regionalism in enhancing cooperation within functional regions, where mutual concerns, challenges and opportunities become the basis for practical cooperation.
  • Planning and Governance: Demonstrating Leadership in Achieving the ‘Common Good’– debating the role of communities, the private sector, and planners in learning from the past and planning a new future.
  • Planning for a New Future: Rethinking the Role of Planning, Governance and Community – bringing together delegates and speakers to consider the role and future of planning and local and regional development in planning a new future, and the opportunities and implications of emerging EU agendas on policy and practice.

Confirmed speakers to date include: Prof. Allan Wallis, University of Colorado; Prof. Karina Pallagst, Department of International Planning Systems, Kaiserslautern University of Technology, Germany (and formerly of the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies at University of California, Berkeley); Prof. Mary Corcoran, NUI Maynooth; and Ms. Alice Charles, Alice Charles Planning.

The ICLRD conferences continue to play an important role in shaping collaboration on the island of Ireland in the areas of spatial planning, and local and regional development – and we hope you are in a position to attend.  If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Eimear Donnelly, ICLRD Events Coordinator at +44 (0)28 90 3751 1550 (048 from Republic of Ireland) or by email at eimear.donnelly@qub.ac.uk.

Coming Soon: the Second Issue of ICLRD’S Journal Borderlands: The Journal of Spatial Planning in Ireland

The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) will publish the second edition of Borderlands: The Journal of Spatial Planning in Ireland in January 2012.

The new articles will be on:

  • Infrastructure planning and optimisation and the potential for border area
  • Planning for Children
  • Contrasting the Old and New Regionalism in the US
  • Building the Evidence-Base: Developing a Deprivation Index for the Island of Ireland
  • Housing and Planning on the Island of Ireland: An Emerging Story
  • Marine Spatial Planning: Perspectives from Ireland and the Gulf of Maine

National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and the Irish Housing Crisis – Problems and Solutions

By: Robert Curry, Harvard Business School Class of 2011

At the January 2011 ICLRD conference, one of sessions focused on Planning for Homes and Communities and featured Prof. Nic Retsinas of the Harvard Business School. Prof. Retsinas subsequently supervised a final year research project by Mr. Robert Curry at the Harvard Business School. ICLRD helped to facilitate this research and is pleased to make Mr. Curry’s research available. As he notes, other countries, including the US, Sweden, and Japan faced similar crises in the past. The countries that most successfully addressed these problems acted swiftly and with broad political support. In learning from these past crises, he indicates that local communities can proactively approach banks, NAMA and property owners with a plan and support for failed developments.
Download the presentation here.

The Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny TD, pays tribute to ICLRD and CCBS

Addressing the annual conference of the Institute for British-Irish Studies at University College Dublin on 26 May, The Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny TD, paid tribute to the work of the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) and the Centre for Cross Border Studies (CCBS)  in supporting cross-border initiatives by local authorities in the border region.

Mr. Kenny said: ‘In the European context, the new Government will continue to pursue and engage in initiatives with the Northern Ireland Executive on EU issues where it makes sense to do so. We have clear shared interests in areas such as research funding, regional development policy and the future of the common agricultural policy.

And at a local level, we should try to emulate in other border areas the recent groundbreaking initiatives between Newry and Mourne District Council and the Louth local authorities.

I would like to acknowledge today the important role played by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development and the Centre for Cross Border Studies in that process, as well as their pivotal roles in engaging with other councils to promote practical cooperation along the border.’

See the speech.

Island of Ireland–Housing Monitoring Tool

housing_atlas_screenIn its research on inter-jurisdictional and cross-border planning, the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) has shown how one of the first entry points to developing cooperation is providing information and shared evidence on common issues such as housing, trade, environment, transport and services. The process of collection, joint analysis, reports and forums can help to build an agenda for action around common interests and challenges. Today, one of the major challenges within the Irish economy and society (North and South) relates to issues within the housing market. The All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) at the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), has developed an interactive mapping and querying tool for housing market indicators combining data from both Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland. By facilitating access to comparable statistics, the Island of Ireland Housing Monitoring Tool can be a key step towards addressing common difficulties in the housing sector. This on-line housing atlas is one of three spatial data indicators projects undertaken by AIRO under ICLRD’s Cross-border Spatial Planning and Training Network (CroSPlaN).

Continue reading about the atlas here . The tool is available to registered users from the AIRO website.

Publication of Study Series on Cross-Border and Inter-Jurisdictional Planning and Governance Reform

The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) is delighted to announce the publication of a series of reports on cross-border and inter-jurisdictional planning and governance. The first three reports in the series have been undertaken as part of the ICLRD’s EU-Funded initiative, CroSPlaN. Funded under INTERREG IVA, and administered by the Special EU Programmes Body, this three-year programme promotes the development of a cross-border planning network by enhancing and promoting the opportunities that exist for collaboration and addressing identified areas of need.

All-Change-But-Any-Alignment-cover2 The first report in the series, All Change But Any Alignment? The Impact of the Proposed Governance and Planning Reforms Across the Island of Ireland on Inter-Jurisdictional Planning, was published at the end of June 2010. This report considers the implications of the proposed governance and spatial planning reforms in both jurisdictions on future collaboration. The report can be downloaded from here.

Read more…

Metro Boston The second report in the series, Regional Planning in the Boston Metropolitan Area, was published in October 2010. With its focus on the greater Boston Area, this case study provides practitioners, policy makers and academics involved in cross-border and inter-jurisdictional cooperation with practical examples of how cooperation, in local and regional development, can be shaped by collaborative efforts. The report can be downloaded from here.
Basel The third report in the series, The Basel Metropolitan Area: Three Borders – One Metropolitan Area, was published in December 2010. The last of the three reports financed under the CroSPlaN Initiative, this study focuses on the Trinational Eurodistrict Basel (TEB), a region with strong cross-border functional linkages and a history of developing joint projects and co-ordination mechanisms. The report can be downloaded from here.

These international case studies provide illustrations of good practice for emerging cross-border cooperation in spatial planning at the sub-regional level that are pertinent to the Irish border region, including the Newry-Dundalk Twin City Region; the North-West Gateway which includes Londonderry/Derry and Letterkenny; and the Central Border Region.

Mancomunidades_cover The fourth report, Collaborative Communities: Co-operation among Rural Municipalities – Insights from Spain, was published in February 2011. Funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), and focusing on cross-municipality collaboration, this report compliments the other three in the series; offering as it does practical insights and good practices for the ongoing governance reforms in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. The report considers the Mancomunidades in Spain, voluntary associations of municipalities who cooperate among themselves to deliver services in an effective and cost-efficient manner. The report can be downloaded from here.

Borderlands: The Journal of Spatial Planning in Ireland


The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) is delighted to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Borderlands: The Journal of Spatial Planning in Ireland. This informative annual journal includes timely articles on cross-border and inter-jurisdictional cooperation on the island of Ireland – and beyond.

With a particular focus on the challenging issues facing local and regional development, the articles on spatial planning practice and policy, balanced regional development, governance reform, community development and cross-border cooperation, and evidence-informed planning will appeal to planning practitioners, policy-makers, community interest groups, and academics. Contributors to this issue included Dr. Tim O’Connor on the genesis of the ICLRD; Prof. Greg Lloyd on the role of spatial planning in supporting the ‘common good’; Charlotte Khan and Holly St. Clair on the Boston experience of evidence-based planning and policy – not only at national government level but also within and across communities; and Prof. Peter Roberts on the evolution of sustainable communities theory and its application to the six case studies presented in the ICLRD Project, “Living Together”.

The journal, made possible by funding received from INTERREG IVA administered by the Special EU Programmes Body, was jointly launched by Ms. Anne Barrington, Joint Southern Secretary and Ms. Mary Bunting, Joint Northern Secretary of the North South Ministerial Framework on 2o January 2011 as part of the ICLRD’s Sixth Annual Conference.

Copies of the journal are available by contacting Eimear Donnelly, Project Administrator at (028) 3751 1550 or on eimear.donnelly@qub.ac.uk

Public Consultation on Framework for Collaboration

On 15 February 2011, the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland jointly released the The Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland—Framework for Collaboration for public consultation over an 8 week period.

As the press release states: “The consultation document identifies key planning challenges faced by both jurisdictions and discusses the potential for collaboration in spatial planning. It sets out a non-statutory framework for collaboration at different levels within the public sector which should result in mutual benefits”.

The idea of a non-statutory framework for cooperation between the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) and the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) was first introduced in the 2006 ICLRD study, funded by InterTradeIreland (ITI). Since then, we have continued to shine a light on the advantages of the framework through our research, conferences and dialogue with senior policy makers.

The original team members on the ITI-funded study, Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland—Development of a Framework for Collaborative Action, included Jim Berry, Brendan Bartley, Alastair Adair, John Driscoll, Caroline Creamer, Neale Blair , Stanley McGreal and Francois Vigier. They are to be thanked for their efforts; as are both Departments for persisting in their own efforts to draft and publish a joint document. This study also set a benchmark for how ICLRD engages senior policy makers and practitioners on a steering committee, in this case chaired by Aidan Gough of ITI.

The deadline for comments on the collaborative framework is 5p.m., Monday 11 April 2011. We encourage you to put together a response; with the relevant documents accessible from the following links.




Press Releases:



New Cross Border Agreement

BrusselsLouth local authorities and Newry and Mourne District Council took a major step forward in the promotion of cross border partnership in the border region.

At a special event hosted by the Northern Ireland office in Brussels on March 2, 2011, the local authorities from Newry and Mourne District Council, Louth County Council, Drogheda Borough Council, Dundalk Town Council and Adree Town Council signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in a number of thematic areas including; emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, sustainable economic growth and job creation. There was a local launch of the agreement on 7 April 2011 at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk.




The agreement, developed with the assistance of ICLRD, is seen by EU officials as a best practice and an important new instrument to build cooperation among the involved councils. An ICLRD report commissioned by the Councils outlines the options for this strategic alliance and the final memorandum: Developing a Strategic Alliance between Newry and Mourne District Council and Louth Local Authorities–Background Report. The report provides cases studies and explores different legal instruments for cross-border cooperation that can be useful for other local authorities.

Support from central government authorities in Dublin (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government) and Belfast (Department for Regional Development) were also important in reaching this agreement. The North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretaries, Mary Bunting and Anne Barrington welcomed the launch of the Memorandum of Understanding:

“This is a very positive development and an excellent example of practical, mutually beneficial cross border co-operation. The four themes for co-operation have a direct impact for the people of Newry and Mourne and Louth at a time of constraint on resources. It makes sense to co-operate and where practical to share resources for the benefit of the whole region”.

ICLRD Commences Executive Training Programme in the Northwest Region

ICLRD is in the process of delivering an Executive Training Programme for public/private sector representatives and elected members in the Northwest. Primarily working with both Donegal County Council and Derry City Council, this programme is focusing on the theme of Fostering Growth through Cooperation in the Northwest Region. It will take place over a series of five modules – commencing in October 2010 – with interventions from expert speakers from government, academia and the private sector, from both sides of the border.

Through highly informative and interactive presentations, the programme will pay particular attention to the themes of cross-border collaboration, leadership and institutional arrangements in achieving collaboration, city of culture and the role of culture in regeneration, cross-border enterprise and skills strategies, and the green economy and sustainable energies.

The training is being offered as part of ICLRD’s CroSPlaN initiative funded under INTERREG IVA, administered by SEUPB.

ICLRD Sixth Annual Conference: Doing More with Less – Challenge and /or Opportunity?


The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) has just hosted its Sixth Annual Conference on the 20-21 January 2011 in the Radisson BLU Hotel, Ballincar, Sligo. Attended by 110 people representing central, regional and local government, elected representatives, policy-makers, cross-border networks, community activists, academics and representatives of the business community, the theme of this event was The Changing Business, Community and Spatial Planning Landscape: Doing More with Less.

Copies of the conference presentations, audio files are available to download here. The conference report is available for download here.


ICLRD Publishes Report on The Delineation of Functional Territories Across the Island of Ireland

functional-territories-coverThe International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) is delighted to announce the publication of its study, Delineating Functional Territories Across The Island of Ireland: An Initial Scoping. The report can be downloaded from here.

This report comes out of a 10-month research programme (August 2009 to June 2010) on the various options for mapping functional territories across the island of Ireland. In undertaking a preliminary analysis of Functional Urban Areas (FUAs) of the Irish / Northern Irish urban systems, this study includes maps of natural catchments, travel-to-work catchments, origin-destination data, gravity models and urban functional specialisations. The research has been carried out by a multi-disciplinary team within ICLRD and has been funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Read more…

ICLRD Briefing Paper Series

ICLRD is publishing a series of short timely articles that explore how various forms of planning, enacted at different spatial scales, can contribute to better collaboration on the pressing issues facing both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

By considering both jurisdictions on the island and the potential synergies and efficiencies that can be realised through cooperation, we aim to provide a more rounded view than considering each jurisdiction in isolation. We believe that good planning, following international best practice, can be a major part in the crafting of practical solutions to inter-jurisdictional and cross-border cooperation.

Articles available to date include:

Paper 9: Reflections on the Boom: A Time for Reform — Dr. Patricia O’Hara, Chairperson of the National Statistics Board and Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for Regional Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), NUI Maynooth.

Paper 8: Innovation: The Challenge of Building an Adaptive and Innovative Society — Dr. James Cunningham, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) and senior lecturer at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway.

Paper 7: Doing More with Less: A Business Perspective — Feargal McCormack, FPM Chartered Accountants

Paper 6: Recovery Scenarios for the Two Irish Economies — Prof. John FitzGerald, The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)

Paper 5: Evidence-Informed Spatial Planning: A Boston Metro Perspective — Holly St Clair, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston

Paper 4: ESPON – A New Practical European Research Agenda for Territorial and Development — Cliff Hague, ESPON Contact Point UK and Brendan Bartley, ESPON Contact Point Republic of Ireland

Paper 3: The Conditions Necessary for Gateway Development & the Role of Smaller Gateways in Economic Development–Jim Walsh, NUI Maynooth and Cormac Walsh, Urban Institute of Ireland at UCD

Paper 2: Linking Spatial Planning with Public Investment: Perspectives from the island of Ireland–David Counsell, Planner & Prof. Greg Lloyd, University of Ulster

Paper 1: Good Planning Key to Future Success–Prof. Rob Kitchin, NUI Maynooth & Prof. Alastair Adair, University of Ulster