Strategies for Enhancing Attractiveness of the Cities in Latgale Region

Sandra Ezmale

Abstract


Policy creators and planners at different administrative levels adopt decisions regarding distribution of social activities in space. Many political decisions influence decisions in other sectors, the latter being related to launching activities in a particular place or extension thereof. The regional political framework of Latvia is formed by important long ‑ term documents of the European Union (EU), namely, the strategy “Europe 2020”, and the European Union Territorial Agenda 2020 which are international agreements on important principles facilitating territorial development. The researchers of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network have started to pay more attention to investigation of new theories and concepts, including territorial attractiveness. The concept “territorial attractiveness” here refers also to such notions as regional attractiveness, place attractiveness and city attractiveness.

The city and regional attractiveness has come up high on the agenda of urban policy planners across the European countries. Attractiveness of cities and regions is defined as a key issue to maintain and strengthen their competitiveness in the era of global competition and knowledge-based economies. Each territory has specific combination of factors ensuring its attractiveness and each territory can focus, in its development, on the strengths (social, economic, cultural, natural diversity) and competitive advantages in comparison with other cities. Depending on the attractiveness factors of the territory, it is necessary to choose strategies for increasing the territorial attractiveness. Therefore, to perform an analysis of attractiveness and to identify the most important attractiveness factors of the cities in Latgale region, twelve criteria of attractiveness have been selected.

The aim of the research is to explore the importance and future perspectives of the city attractiveness in Latgale region and the way it could become an element of spatial policy to contribute to balanced development of Latgale region. Three tasks have been set within the framework of the research:

-         to investigate the theoretical aspects of territorial attractiveness;

-         to identify the most important factors of  city attractiveness for the residents of Latgale;

-         to set up the spatial strategies’ priorities of the cities located in Latgale region to enhance their attractiveness.

As a result of the research it was concluded that the most essential factors of city attractiveness for the residents of  Latgale region are: (1) the quality and availability of state and municipal services; (2) the quality and availability of publicly controlled services (energy and water supply, et al.); (3) material welfare, employment and safety; (4) the quality and availability of health care services; (5) culture and leisure time activities. Other significant factors are the quality and opportunities of education, safety, the ecological quality, public transport, et al.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.6.1601


Keywords


territorial attractiveness; city attractiveness; spatial strategies; regional policy; regional development

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Print ISSN: 1822-8402
Online ISSN: 2335-8831