The ‘KRAFT Creative Cities, Sustainable region’ methodology was integrated in the ECoC 2023 proposal of Veszprém resulted success against the favourite cities.
In Europe, small and middle-sized cities are still important spaces for living, however, not able to exploit the resources efficiently alone. Therefore regional collaboration is needed for successful and effective development with joined forces of the involved settlements.
Veszprém is a regional centre with rich cultural heritage, however, with weak surrounding socio-economic network and scarce connections to the favourite touristic and leisure area of lake Balaton and the Balaton upperland.
We made a comprenehsive analysis on the Veszprém-Balaton region using our ‘KRAFT Creative Cities, Sustainable region’ methodology, focusing on local values, heritage, identity elements, cultivation in different levels of communities and materialization potentials of those. The study was presented to the preparatory team of the EcoC proposal and the representatives of our Institute regularly took part on the preparatory meetings repeatedly describing the unique benefit of the regional approach. As a result of this insistent persuasion, city of Veszprém submitted its proposal with a regional extension.
Main stakeholders are: city of Veszprém with its cultural institutes and events,its inhabitants, settlements and inhabitants in the Balaton region with their cultural heritage, events and institutes and the potential visitors of the EcoC.
Beneficiaries are city of Veszprém with its creative and cultural industry, local inhabitants and mainly the neighboring cites at lake Balaton.
The basic regional study was made by three researchers in three months and two leaders participated in the one-and-a-half-year long reconciliation process. No special funding was allocated.
Evidence of success
City of Veszprém won the EcoC 2023 tilte against all odds, i.e. ahead of the larger favourite cities, with the explanation that the regional extension made the difference.
It was a challenge to convince the main representatives to taking the whole region into accounting when formulating the proposal. The main challenge is how the concept will turn into practice during the realization of the projects since new type of collaboration forms are required from the partners.
Potential for learning or transfer
The good practice has already been transferred to Savonlinna as a candidate for ECoC 2026.
The practice can be potentially interesting for developers of regional alliances promoting creative and cultural industry based regional development with the use of its cultural equity focused approach and the corresponding reasoning. The methodology of the underlying study can provide the proper ammunition for the presentation of the necessary benefits and handling modes of the potential drawbacks. The success of the proposal calls the attention that small- and medium-sized towns how would raise the level of their attractiveness when cooperating with nearby settlements. It is also a good lesson for developers of city marketing plans to open regional collaboration initiatives. By this approach the “placemaking” could offer more benefits for potential stakeholders.
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