Olomouc (26th May, 2014) - From 14th to 16th May, Olomouc hosted a conference the aim of which was to show examples of successful co-operation between cities and universities in Western Europe as well as projects and initiatives facilitating a more effective participation of the citizens in urban development and decision-making.
On the first day, representatives of the universities and the municipalities of Innsbruck (Tilmann Märk), Aalborg (Sven Caspersen), Ferrara (Gastone Ave) and Bochum (Lars Tata) pointed out to the difficulties of building co-operation with the municipalities, but also shared numerous successes of such co-operation. The programme of the first day was conclude by a speech of the keynote speaker, Benjamin R. Barber, an American political scientist, who in his inspiring sixty-minute lecture pointed out to the global threats faced by the national governments that could be solved on the municipal level.
On the second and the third day of the conference, the attendants engaged in projects of successful civic participation. Our Polish guests presented the participative budgets in the cities of Sopoty and Dąbrowa Górincza. Árpád Kovács and Gábor Szohr, architects from Budapest, showed an example of civic participation in the revitalization of the Teleki Park from the initial idea to the implementation itself. "We are very happy to have managed to invite such interesting guests from Germany, Poland and Hungary who, thanks to their experience, understand the pitfalls as well as the benefits of civic participation and who were willing to share their experience and give us inspiration," said Dana Hellová, the director of Civipolis, benevolent society, regarding the speakers at the conference. "Thank you to the partners, The International Visegrad Fund, Fridrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Palacký University and the city of Olomouc, who supported the conference on the topic of building relations between the cities and the universities as well as the citizens," added Hellová.