SPATIAL PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR IMPROVING ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE PLACES: CASE OF LATGALE REGION
Keywords:spatial planning, city attractiveness, competitiveness, quality of life, regional development, strategies
According the new concepts of the regional economics and geographical literature, territorial attractiveness is an issue of growing importance for national, regional and local governments during last years. Territorial attractiveness can be defined both as the capacity to attract new residents, visitors, enterprises and investments as well as the ability to retain and develop mobile communities and assets. Medium-sized and small towns play complementary roles and are differently integrated into urban systems depending on the specific features of the country and the historical, institutional and economic development background, but at the same time its attractiveness has been increasingly recorded as a key factor to strengthen the competitiveness of cities in the regional, national and global context.
City attractiveness is determined by different elements like the quality of road networks and public transport, effectiveness of infrastructure, quality of life as well as activity of local economy, city image and institutional capacity, which are substantial factors for attraction of new residents, highly skilled workforce, new enterprises and investments. Policy and city development planners have adopted diverse measures like spatial plans and strategies for city development to enhance it. Territories are competing to offer the most productive business environment and to attract new businesses or industries creating jobs and thus providing increased material welfare.
There has been a growing interest in academic literature in recent years on creating new paradigms of regional development to introduce new ways of tackling longstanding regional problems. One of these directions is spatial planning being closely related to the regional planning theory, which has sought to explain the causes and consequences of regional economic disparities and regional competitiveness. Political and development planning documents, which take into account spatial perspective, can contribute to many important factors of competitiveness in production and development being essential areas for growth.
Winners are those territories which have elaborated their development strategy or other development planning documents with a clear message and vision to potential investors as well as local entrepreneurs regarding the future development of the territory and the mechanisms to achieve it. It reduces doubts and risks of potential investors and territory developers and promotes mutual trust and partnership between policy makers, decision makers and entrepreneurs.The research deals with the analysis of the development planning documents to enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of cities considering the example of Latgale region.