Latvian seminar: The role of small and medium-sized urban areas at the European and national level

The event, organised by the state regional development agency in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MEPRD) took place in Riga on June, 19.

The topics in the seminar evolved around the underpinning theme of the seminar - Challenges and development opportunities of small and medium sized urban areas in Latvia and in Europe (e.g. EU urban agenda). The participants of the event were experts from various EU countries, representatives from Latvian municipalities and urban areas, researchers from universities and international research networks.

The main messages of the seminar were as follows:

  • Small and medium-sized cities are underrepresented in both policy and research, which tends to focus more on capital cities, second tier cities, and metropolitan areas, ignoring the fact that 40% of the population in EU live in towns under 20 thousand inhabitants.
  • Shifting the power concentration from the main state institution to regional councils and institutions can play an important role in forming more polycentric regional structures that would lead to more balanced and sustainable economic development.
  • Policy makers should consider cooperation over competition at least in the scope of their respective country to move on a pathway of resilient economic development.
  • Mobility of the people and transport infrastructure is one of the main contributing factors that could limit the monocentric development in Latvia.

Agenda of the seminar, as well as presentations are available below.


Photo made by Valdis Skudre.