- Ensuring the integrated approach in the delivery of the strategy & their related actions/projects
- Maintaining involvement of local stakeholders and organising decision-making for delivery
- Setting up Public Private Partnerships for delivery
The city of Sigulda (LV) has developed an Arts and Crafts quarter in the old Castle Complex. Workshops representing various traditional crafts are open to public and intend to provide a “hands on” experience where visitors can produce their own pieces. The main goal is to show how the valorisation of sites can not only attract new visitors but also promote entrepreneurship and job creation.
A previously degraded area has been turned into a lively part of the city by attracting local businesses and craftsmen to reside in the renovated spaces. Smart selection of both the Castle Complex residents and the activities that together make a good mix of attractions interesting to locals as well as visitors thus creating a constant flow of people and keeping the place alive.
Solution to empty spaces and maintenance costs – restoration of cultural monuments is very expensive; therefore, use of public money can only be justified if the restored spaces are used and at least the maintenance costs are covered through the usage – it can be income through ticket sales or rental cost. In case of Sigulda one part of the renovated spaces is all rented out to creative local businesses and the other part – the New Castle – will be opened to public providing new services – an interactive exposition, a wedding hall, an exhibition space, and the income of these newly created services will cover the maintenance cost of the cultural monument.
Building on the sustainable and integrated approach
The work on the Development Strategy of Sigulda Castle Complex 2013 – 2018 ensured a sustainable and integrated approach from the very start of the development process of Sigulda Castle Complex. All the stakeholders were involved and listened to before taking the final decision of which direction to take back in 2012. The process has resulted in a revitalised area opened to public were maintenance costs are covered by different private users of the buildings.
The tourism season in Sigulda is summer and the first part of fall when there is a natural flow of visitors attracted by beautiful nature that surrounds the Castle Complex. However, for small businesses to stay alive there is an income necessary throughout the year. Therefore, the smart selection of creative businesses that are complementary to each other and provide hands on experiences is crucial. During the low season these provide educational opportunities to school children and families. Other type of complementary businesses – co-working space, photo studio, etc., and events that are organised also in low season for the local public, like skating ring in winter, ensure there are people visiting and using the space throughout the year.
Based on a participatory approach
The project has certainly built on the participatory approach through ULG meetings, which has played a role in listening to stakeholders needs and ideas. There are also weekly Sigulda Development Agency meetings with the entrepreneurs residing in the Castle Complex where day-to-day information is exchanged. Entrepreneurs are invited to participate in all the cultural events that are organised in the Castle Complex.
What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?
There are around 30 newly created work spaces in Castle Complex right now, and the number will increase as soon as all the spaces are rented out. Also there is an overall increase of number of visitors in Castle Complex and an increase in time they spend there.
Why should other EU cities use it?
To find a contemporary use of their cultural heritage which justifies spending of public money in renovation and maintenance processes. Also to support and encourage the local craftsmanship in order to retain uniqueness and value of different cultures in a globalised world.
Key Facts and Figures:
Start and end dates of case example:
June 2016 – October 2018
Date of preparation of this case example:
Who prepared the case example?
The whole revitalisation of the Castle Complex (all the buildings including the medieval castle) has cost about 10 ml euros. The decision to promote entrepreneurship by smart selection of local businesses and craftsmen hasn’t cost anything to the Municipality. Quite contrary, the maintenance costs are covered by entrepreneurs. The budget for the reconstruction of the last three buildings that are solely rented out to entrepreneurs was about 660 000 euros.
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