Fifth Annual ICLRD Conference

2010 programme cover

The fifth Annual ICLRD Conference took place on the 21-22 January 2010 in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen.  Attended by over 130 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 Preparing for Economic Recovery: Planning Ireland, North and South, out of Recession.

Sponsored by the Special EU Programmes Body with support from InterTradeIreland and the Higher Education Authority.  The conference  was organised around four sessions:

Speakers included: Declan Kelly, US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland; John Fitzgerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI); Pat McArdle, Economist and Irish Times Columnist; Conor Skehan of the Dublin Institute of Technology; Wesley Shannon of the Department of Environment, Northern Ireland; Hubert Kearns of Sligo County Council; Charlotte Kahn of the Boston Foundation’s Indicators Project; Holly St. Clair, Boston Metropolitan Planning Council; Celine McHugh of Forfás; Martin Spollen of the Strategic Investment Board; Brian Murray, The Workspace Group; and Greg Lloyd of the University of Ulster.

* 2010 Conference Report *

*2010 Conference Photos*

In opening the conference, Professor John Fitzgerald told conference delegates that “The UK faces a structural problem in its public finances of a similar order of magnitude to that in the Republic of Ireland.  However, while a very serious adjustment has been made in Ireland to put the public finances on a sustainable path to recovery, the UK has postponed all such action until after the election. Thus the Northern Ireland economy faces a number of years of very tough fiscal action in the 2011-15 period, albeit superimposed on a world economic recovery”.

In closing the two-day conference, US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, emphasised that indigenous development – leading to industry clusters, where feasible – will be very relevant to the long-term prosperity and successful sustainable development in today’s fast-paced business environment.

ICLRD Conf 2010 Group

As well as discussing the current economic situation across the island, a number of speakers stressed that spatial planning has a key role to play in securing economic recovery in both Irish jurisdictions.  As we move into recovery, Charlotte Khan of the Boston Indicators Project in the US emphasised the value of using data to inform and drive a shared civic agenda, thus ensuring that future policies are evidence-informed and ‘fit for purpose’.  A clear message emerging from the conference was that the economic environment of the future across the island of Ireland will be different to that of the ‘noughties’; with recovery being driven by the concentration of employment growth in major urban areas.

Rural Restructuring: Local Sustainable Solutions to a Rural Challenge

The Conference Programme is available here.

ICLRD hosted a very successful and engaging conference on rural development strategies, Rural Restructuring: Local Sustainable Solutions to the Rural Challenge on Friday, 8 May at the Blackwater Learning Centre in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan.

There is growing recognition that rural areas – and their balanced development – are an important policy area in their own right; and that the current political climate facilitates the development of rural communities on a North, South and cross-border basis. The conference brought together 115 delegates and speakers from community and local development agencies, local government officials, businesses and business networks, practitioners, policy makers and academics for a one day event.

Conference Presentations

ICLRD Presentation
Rural Restructuring: Local Sustainable Solutions to the Rural Challenge – ICLRD Research Team

Keynote Address
Bucking the Trend – The ‘Local’ as Centres of  Rural Growth and Development – Roger Turner

Workshop 1: Rural Economic Diversification
Workspace – Adopting an Economic Model to Local Community Development – Brian Murray
Innovation and Business Clustering: A Case Study of the Irish Furniture Industry – Dr. Kevin Heanue

Workshop 2: Unleashing Local Potential by Building on a Rural Area’s Asset Base
Developing a Strategic Vision and Translating this into an Action Plan – Maura Walsh
Realising Asset-Based Development and Local Potentiality: The Petal Model – Geoff Brown

Workshop 3: The Impact of Government Policy on Rural Development
Planning for Rural Development – A New Emphasis – Zita Murphy
Learning from Experience: Mainstreaming Sustainable Development Practice – Declan Nelson

Workshop 4: Approaches to Rural Restrucutring
Nature and Sustainability in Rural Communities – Peter Carvill
The Role of Education in Rural Restructuring – Kate Clifford

Closing Address – Peter Quinn

The publication of the research report, Rural Restructuring: Local Sustainable Solutions to the Rural Challenge, is the culmination of a twelve-month research programme into sustainable rural development across the island of Ireland; with a particular focus on economic diversification, spatial planning and rural communities. Standing – left to right: Dr. Neale Blair, University of Ulster; Caroline Creamer, NIRSA, NUI Maynooth; John Driscoll, Director, ICLRD and Andy Pollak, Director, Centre for Cross Border Studies; Sitting – Left to right: Dr. Karen Keaveney, Queens University Belfast; Minister Michelle Gildernew; Dr. Brendan O’Keeffe, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick The overall theme of this study was to consider the impact of economic re-structuring on rural areas together with the opportunities for diversification including micro-enterprise development, business clustering, joint marketing and branding. In the context of a changing policy environment and challenging economic times, the report considers the opportunities that can be made available by adopting a local asset-based approach to rural restructuring and diversification.

Working closely with a committee including representatives from the three case study areas of Draperstown, Emyvale-Truagh-Aughnacloy and Duhallow, the study team interviewed over 80 people and conducted a number of focus groups. In addition, the ICLRD hosted a very successful and engaging conference – attended by over 110 people – on rural development strategies, Rural Restructuring: Local Sustainable Solutions to the Rural Challenge, on Friday, 8 May at the Blackwater Learning Centre in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. Those participating in the study noted that rural areas are well-positioned to adapt to changing demands even during an international recession given their traditional reliance on small-scale businesses.

This report, which was guided by a high-level independent Advisory Committee involving representatives from central and regional government on both sides of the Border, captures many of the features, successes and challenges associated with rural restructuring and territorial cooperation. It provides insights and recommendations on future local governance arrangements, the need for local responses to economic decline, and the opportunities for incorporating innovations and good practice into future partnerships. The report also emphasises the role of collaborative spatial planning in addressing the needs of both rural and urban communities which are increasingly inter-connected in a globalised economy. Specifically, the report recommends the establishment of a sub-regional civil society forum, the extension of business networks – using the Business Innovation Centre (BIC) model – across the island of Ireland, and the need for a strategic vision set within a top-down framework and delivered through partnership at local level.

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

Third Annual ICLRD Conference – Fostering Co-Operation for Local and Regional Development through Cross-Border Spatial Planning

Armagh, Co. Armagh
17 January 2008

The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) third annual conference was held in collaboration with InterTradeIreland at the Armagh City Hotel on January 17, 2008. The conference focused on how long term economic success coupled with high quality of life on the island of Ireland can be achieved by harnessing the potential of sustainable communities which transcend the border.

The ICLRD’s  Third Annual Conference invited international planning, economic and community development experts to examine how cross-border spatial strategies can foster greater co-operation for development North and South. The conference was attended by 143 delegates representing local and central government, cross-border agencies, the private sector and community organisations.

The conference, supported by cross-border business development body InterTradeIreland, was opened jointly by Batt O’Keeffe TD, Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, and Conor Murphy MP MLA, Minister for Regional Development.

“Sustainable communities transcend the border and we must develop and implement initiatives to harness this potential,” said Mr O’Keeffe.  “The collaborative spatial framework between the Regional Development Strategy and the National Spatial Strategy provides the over-arching mechanism to deliver, and can set the context for thinking and working together.

“The Irish Government has placed the NSS centre-stage by setting it as the main plank on which to base future investment decisions.  Moreover, many sectoral programmes are now prioritising investment in the nine NSS gateways and nine hubs to build critical mass in these cities and towns.”

Mr. Murphy said he could clearly see the benefits of co-operation in the provision of infrastructure and services to citizens – by working together, both governments could provide better health care, better prepare young people for work, and better protect and manage the environment.

“There are considerable growth challenges North and South, but there are many similarities in the trends that we measure,” he went on. “Solutions will require very positive attitudes, long term planning and co-ordinated actions if we are to achieve long term economic success coupled with high quality of life.

“Our over-arching aim is to focus and harness economic development, regeneration and prosperity within a just, peaceful and stable society.  We will do this by addressing head-on decades of underinvestment, regional imbalance and inequality so everyone can enjoy a better quality of life now and in the future.”

Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director of InterTradeIreland, identified enhancement of our global competitiveness through co-operation as one of  the organisation’s key objectives.

He said:  “Joined-up regional and local planning initiatives, along with targeted investments and a programme of spatial planning research, are paramount in promoting economic competitiveness, aiding sustainable development, improving services and supporting the mobility of a growing population on the island.”

Among the key issues and research papers presented at the all-day conference were how to implement and finance a collaborative spatial framework, proposals and project areas which can deliver on a cross-border sub-regional strategy for Newry-Dundalk, research and recommendations on how cross-border towns can be reconnected and revitalised; and the role of housing in building sustainable communities. 

Professor Rob Kitchin, director of the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis, National University of Maynooth, also introduced The Atlas of the Island of Ireland – Mapping Social and Economic Change, launched by Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor of Radio Telefis Eireann.

Pamphlet and order form for the Atlas of the Island of Ireland

Conference Report
Conference Programme
Speech by Minister Batt O’Keeffe, TD
Speech by Minister Conor Murphy, MP MLA
Sustainable Balanced Communities - Nicolas Retsinas
Introduction to Fostering Cross-Border Cooperation Panel - Dr. Francois Vigier
Financing Cross-Border Collaboration - David Gavaghan
Financing Cross-Border Co-operation - Dermot Nolan, Department of Finance
Newry-Dundalk Twin City - Professor Jim Berry and Dr. Chris Van Egeraat
The Newry-Dundalk International Services Zone - Dr. Chris Van Egeraat and Professor Jim Berry
Dundalk 2020: Sustainable Energy Community Project - Declan Meally
The Example of the Energy Self-Sufficient City of Güssing - Declan Meally
Mourne-Cooley-Gullion: Releasing the Potential - Martin Carey
Introduction: Small Connected Towns in Cross-Border Areas - Caroline Creamer and Neale Blair
Study: Small Connected Towns in Cross-Border Areas - Caroline Creamer and Neale Blair
Kilty Cashel Project - Elish Gray
Bristol and Leipzig: Driving the Sustainable Communities Agenda - Professor Peter Roberts
Sustainable Communities on the Island of Ireland - Paddy Gray
Housing and Land Issues on the franco-swiss and franco-spanish borders - Olivier Denert
Closing Comments - Alastair Adair

Conference audio files

ICLRD Conference – Supporting Evidence-Informed Spatial Planning and Analysis

Dundalk, Co. Louth
15 November 2007

On 15 November, 2007 in Dundalk, the ICLRD together with the Regional Studies Association, the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, the National Centre for Geocomputation and the All-Island Research Observatory held a conference on Supporting Evidence-Informed Spatial Planning and Analysis—Towards the Development of Spatial Databases on the Island of Ireland.

Attended by over a 100 delegates, the conference presented the findings of two earlier seminars on the kind of spatial indicators needed to assist in high quality analysis for evidence-based planning and policy. The seminars were held in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and the University of Ulster.

Presentations by leading academics and researchers were made on all-island indicators, data applications, maps and key issues around the type, scale and form of potential all-island datasets. Senior policy-makers offered comments on how these initiatives can support both policies and specific projects to foster cross-border co-operation in the areas of spatial planning, service delivery, economic competitiveness and investment strategies.

The conference and the workshops were undertaken in cooperation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Development in Dublin and the Department for Regional Development in Belfast. ICLRD and its partners will continue to develop inter-jurisdictional spatial indicators and thematic maps that can assist policy makers and practitioners involved in spatial planning and local development.

The presentations, including a list of proposed indicators that the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) will begin tracking can be accessed below.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the indicators, the AIRO group would look forward to hearing from you. Please email Justin Gleeson, Project manager of the All-Island Research Observatory based in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth:

Conference Presentations and Documents

Conference Programme
Priority Indicators for All-Island Mapping – Dr. Chris van Egeraat and Professor Rob Kitchen
Suggested Spatial Indicators
Data Sources
The All-Island Urban Clusters Study – Dr. Chris van Egeraat and Professor Des McCafferty
Modelling Health Services on the Island of Ireland – Dr. Ronan Foley, Martin Charlton and Dr. Patricia Clarke
Exploring a Co-operative Approach to Health Services – Dr. Patricia Clarke
Small Areas for the Republic of Ireland: Implications for All-Island Datasets – Martin Charlton
Informing Planning Policy and Practice: All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) – Justin Gleeson
Regional Studies Association Newsletter, Autumn 2007, Towards the Development of All-Island Spatial Indicators

Second Annual ICLRD Conference – Implementing a Framework for Collaborative Action: Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland

9 November 2006

The one-day conference on “Implementing a Framework for Collaborative Action: Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland” took place on Thursday, November 9th in Newry. As part of this event, the report Spatial Strategies on the Island of Ireland: Development of a Framework for Collaborative Action was launched. This report was prepared by ICLRD and commissioned by InterTradeIreland on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in Dublin and the Department for Regional Development in Belfast. The report outlines measures to better align spatial planning, infrastructure and cross-border projects to support long-term economic competitiveness, and has been endorsed by the Joint Communiqueacute of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. Both Governments have now committed to developing a framework for collaborative action between the two existing spatial strategies on the Island.

The opening speakers were Mr Dick Roche TD, Irish Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and Mr Gerry McGinn, Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Regional Development. Other speakers included the prominent Dublin architect Mr Sean O’Laoire, the property developer Mr Gerard O’Hare, and senior planning officials from both Irish jurisdictions and from the European Commission.

A key focus of the conference on November 9th was an examination of (a) the range of regional and local spatial planning initiatives for key development areas identified in the existing spatial strategies and (b) the role of the business community and private sector in inter-jurisdictional development.

Conference Presentations and Documents

Background and Purpose
Conference Programme
Introduction and Contextual Perspective - Professor James Walsh
ICLRD Report Findings and Recommendations - Professor Jim Berry and Mr. Brendan Bartley
Proposed Frameworks for Action - Mr. Mike Thompson and Mr. Niall Cussin
Financier’s Perspective on Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Provision - Mr. Henry Elvin
Developer’s Perspective on Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Provision - Dr. Gerard O’Hare
Managing Growth Through Spatial Planning: Learning from International Experience - Mr. John Driscoll
The Role of Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière in Documenting and Supporting Cross-Border Initiatives in France - Ms. Silvia Keckeis
Institutional Perspective - Mr. Michael McLoone
Developing the Ulster-Connaught Corridor: A Spatial Planning Perspective - Dr. Chris Boomer
All-Island and Cross-Border Data - Professor Rob Kitchin