The mission project “Great public space” jointly kicked-off by the Association of Estonian Architects and the organising team of “The Republic of Estonia 100” concerns the reconditioning of city centres, which should be one of the tasks of regional policy.
The initiators of the project see the reconditioning of city centres as a good opportunity to bring people together, increase their sense of community and make the living environment of small towns more attractive. Reconditioned centres will be turned into places for organising cultural events and spending leisure time and will give priority in traffic to pedestrians. By making the hearts of the cities a more philanthropic and pleasing living environment, it will be possible to enhance entrepreneurship and avoid dilution of cities.
Within the scope of the project architectural design contests will be organised and, as an outcome, the central squares of 15 small towns, main streets or their surroundings will be reorganised.
The public space solutions are planned to be completed at the latest by 2020 within the anniversary programme “Republic of Estonia 100”.
The opening forum of the programme was held on 11 June 2014 at the Museum of Estonian Architecture, where the programme was officially declared open.
Public architectural design contests started in autumn 2014 and lasted until spring 2017. The conditions of the contests were prepared by experienced architects with architect’s qualification, who have also successfully participated in contests and several of whom have previous experience in compiling contest conditions.
The first seven towns that applied for funding in 2016 from the resources of the European Regional Development Fund’s support scheme for investments for raising regional competitiveness were successful in their endeavour. These towns were Põlva, Valga, Tõrva, Võru, Rapla, Kuressaare, and Elva. In total, EUR 11.58 million was allocated between the applications submitted for the Great Public Space programme in 2016. The remaining towns are planning to submit their funding applications in 2017 and 2018. Only Tallinn, Narva and Jõhvi already have their funds or will be getting it from other sources.
The organising team of the UEA is extremely happy about the project’s success, but will not be resting on their laurels. The new idea, already approved by the organising team of Estonia 100, is to continue the work this year and to start similar projects in small towns that have similar needs and issues but were not initially included in the project. Negotiations and awareness-raising will begin in relation to these towns.
As a result of the municipal reform, new joint municipal centres requiring high-level public space solutions will be created in Estonia. The idea is to identify their needs and to offer solutions. It will be determined whether the local municipality has a sufficient sense of perspective to direct the budgetary funds so that it would enable the creation of a valuable and versatile urban space, or whether other funding measures must be involved. The project will be treated as an extension of the main Great Public Space programme of Estonia 100.
By 2018 we want to be sure that our gift to the Republic of Estonia will be present and viable in all rural municipality and county centres—already completed in some places and still under construction in others, but frequently side by side with the wish of residents to see the public spaces in their hometowns active and alive.
Passed architectural competitions:
Introducing lecture in YouTube (27.05.15)
Introducing lecture in YouTube (4.11.15, Tallinn, Kuremäe, Põltsamaa)
More information: www.avalikruum.ee
Kalle Vellevoog, Vice president of EAA, kalle (at) jvr.ee
Ingrid Mald, Managing director of EAA, ingrid (at) arhliit.ee