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Prof. Knaap to Moderate Webinar on Creating Thriving Places


NCSG’s Irish research partner organization, the International Centre for Local and Regional Development, is hosting a ‘Post-Pandemic Planning Series’ webinar. NCSG executive director Gerrit Knaap will moderate, and frequent NCSG collaborator Manuel Ochoa will serve on the panel.

COVID-19 has created severe economic challenges for businesses across the world, with lengthy closures, significant job losses and an uncertain road ahead.  As reported by the Irish Central Bank, the uneven nature of the shock across sectors has become apparent, with firms within the accommodation and food sector continuing to report the largest falls in activity relative to pre-COVID-19 norms.  While numerous, temporary financial programs have been put in place to support the economic resilience of businesses, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, (SMEs), it has largely fallen to local government to tailor the legal and regulatory tools available to them in planning for the future resilience of town centres and ‘place’ more generally.

While towns and cities are making more space for walking during the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a growing movement to closing off streets to traffic in favour of creating the ‘space’ necessary for businesses to move outside, as well as other place-based business support strategies.  This webinar aims to outline some case studies of projects across the USA and island of Ireland and discuss the learning from these experimental projects to inform more permanent interventions that offer ways to ensure the survival of SMEs in these uncertain times. In doing so, the discussion should provide insights into the future implications for planning and policy makers in creating the right conditions – financial and regulatory – for living and vibrant places in a post-pandemic world.

Speaker Line-Up: 

Moderator – Prof. Gerrit Knaap, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning & Executive Director, National Center for Smart Growth Research, University of Maryland

  • Ms. Mary MacIntyre OBE , ICLRD Chair
  • Mr. Manuel Ochoa, Principal & Founder at Ochoa Urban Collaborative (USA)
  • Mr. David Joyce, Director of Operations, Cork City Council
  • Ms. Suzanne Lutton, Regeneration & Infrastructure Manager, Economic Development Unit, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
  • Prof. Brendan Williams, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy (APEP) , University College Dublin

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