Kerri Farnsworth was invited by the City of Riga as part of an expert panel to advise the municipality and its partners on the development of the city’s first 10-year Strategic City Plan.
Rigas was founded in 1202 and was an early & influential member of the Hanseatic League of trading ports. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Following the 1991 restoration of independence there was a significant transformation of the city physically and socio-economically, which put increasing pressure on its heritage assets and economic performance. By the mid-2000s there was an urgent need to balance preservation of these heritage assets, whilst also accommodating rapid population growth, a 600% growth in tourism and the restructuring of the economy from one rooted in industry to technology-driven.
The expert team – drawn from Ireland, Denmark, Bulgaria, UK and Switzerland – worked closely with Riga City officials over an extended period to test a number of draft proposals and advise on implementation. The ‘Riga Development Strategy: a Framework for Sustainable City Development 2007- 2017’ was subsequently adopted by the City of Riga and Government of Latvia in January. As an umbrella strategy, it guided a number of focused plans, programmes and initiatives in physical and socio-economic transformation. It also provided the benchmark for a follow-on sustainable development strategy to guide the evolution of the city to 2030.