CIVITAS PROSPERITY Training Activities Kicked-Off,

Improving capacities, knowledge and understanding by means of training activities is at the core of the CIVITAS PROSPERITY project. As the famous German neurologist Gerald Hüther once said, “Being creative is not always inventing something completely new. Rather, it is more a matter of connecting existing knowledge that was previously separate in new ways. From this process new knowledge and know-how is created.”

The first two training events took place in Kaunas and Limassol, and seven more are to come in 2018.

 

Training and capacity building activities within CIVITAS PROSPERITY are based on a sound user needs analysis and are developed and delivered mostly by representatives of cities that have themselves developed SUMPs. This is important because cities themselves are well placed to understand the challenges and develop solutions to these challenges in implementing SUMPs. Complementary to them, other project partners bring valuable new ideas, as well as their knowledge of practice to put the cities’ own experience in context.

All training activities are well balanced between theory and practical units and make use of existing training material and tools, but also use newly developed ones. The material and tools are country specific, with detailed consideration of how to use the EU Guidelines in the local context, and they build on local needs and concerns. Additionally, and to overcome the language barrier, these events are taking place in local language and consecutive interpreting into English is provided for experts from other countries.

 

The first training took place in Kaunas, Lithuania, from 20 November – 24 November 2017. Thirteen cities took part including Jonova, the PROSPERITY partner city, and Kaunas itself.  There was a lot of interest and active participation because SUMPs are very much on the agenda in Lithuania at the present time: the national government has published its own SUMP guidance document, there is money available from the national level for SUMP development and implementation funds are also likely to be made available. 

The training was opened with a presentation from the national ministry, and also featured presentations by Kaunas and by the capital city Vilnius about their own SUMPs, which generated a lot of discussion and debate about, for example, data requirements and modelling for SUMPs, and choice of SUMP measures.  With the visiting experts the trainees covered Communication and Stakeholder Involvement, Monitoring and Evaluation, Land Use and Mobility Management in SUMPs, and the Urban Transport Roadmap Tool.  The quality of the interaction and engagement with the participants was extremely high both in the presentation sessions and in the interactive exercises.  For example, participants were required to design in outline a participation and stakeholder engagement strategy, and some excellent ideas were discussed.  The Champion City Vitoria Gasteiz gave a presentation on their approach to monitoring and evaluation in SUMP which also stimulated a great deal of discussion. Overall a great deal of positive feedback was received.

 

The second training took place in Limassol, Cyprus, from 27 November – 01 December 2017. Cypriots are very car-oriented;  e.g. in  the Limassol district 90 % of all trips are made by car.  Public Transport is at low operating level, and cycling and walking are regarded dangerous (this is the vicious circle thought:  due to many cars it too dangerous for walking and cycling, so we keep on using the car…)  The quality of urban space and - in general-  liveability conditions – especially in the cities - suffer from this dominance of the car. 

There are only four cities in Cyprus. Nicosia has a SUMP since 2010, whereas the other cities are starting, with the support of the Ministry and EU structural funds.

Limassol is the Cyprus city partner. They also hosted the national training. Even though the participants’ numbers varied from day to day, the attendees were very positive about what they learned from the targeted training topics; SUMP for medium and small sized cities, communication and stakeholder involvement, evaluation and monitoring and working with the Transport Road maps tool. They stated: “it made them think on a deeper level about SUMP". 

Also the coaching session –  partly attended by the Mayor of Limassol – made some challenges clear; especially that SUMP is not only a technical exercise, but needs political and public support for a true and urgent change.

 

CIVITAS PROSPERITY is providing a total of nine training events in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and a joint training in Slovenia and Croatia. You can find here more information about the upcoming national training events and practical information.

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