NorthSEAfaring Maritime Heritage + Spatial Planning: Results + Outcomes

Between 2005-2007 the Landscape Interface Studio team based in the School of Architecture + Landscape at Kingston University, London supported the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), ‘NorthSEAfaring’ project. During the course of the project,  in excess of 100 landscape architecture students and staff produced more than 200 design proposals developed through port appraisal visits, consultation with local partners, stake holders and specialist agencies.  The following overview of achievements from the programme was produced by the programme secretariat on behalf of the EU Commission.

NSF InterregIIIB

Click on the image to read the full report.

 

North Sea Interreg IIIB Programe – THEME 1 – New Opportunities for Rural and Peripheral Areas

The North Sea Region is characterised by large peripheral and semi-peripheral rural areas with many small towns of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Many parts of the programme area already have low GDP and face the further challenges of an ageing population and out-migration, both of which have decreased the active labour force. These pressures, together with the scarcity of urban functions can, if unchecked, lead to economic and social decline. These trends affect the inherent economic competitiveness of some regions within the North Sea Region, resulting in changed demands for land use, travel, access to services and infra-structure.

The peripheral and semi-peripheral areas of the North Sea region also possess unique qualities that represent huge potential for future social and economic development. Some rural areas have few job opportunities to replace those lost by declining agricultural activities. The economic potential of these areas is limited, but there have been positive developments in fields such as rural tourism, establishing new services and improving existing ones. In addition there has been an emphasis on developing new opportunities for economic activities, whilst harnessing and protecting the unique environment and heritage assets of many areas in the North Sea region.

The activities and achievements of the nine projects approved by the Programme within this theme have demonstrated the value of intervention to encourage urban-rural and inter-rural co-operation in order to provide a decent level of services and solve common problems to preserve and improve the quality of life in these special parts of the North Sea Region.

 

Project : North SEAfaring

  27 February 2004 to 30 June 2007

The creative rehabilitation, protection and development of cultural and natural landscapes and townscapes through integrated spatial planning with a focus on seafaring heritage

Partners:

  • Maritieme Site Oostende, BE
  • Autonoom Gemeentbedrijf Haven Oostende, BE
  • City of Emden, DE
  • Province of Noord-Holland, NL
  • Stichting Industrieel Engoedbank ‘De Hoop’, NL
  • Province of Zeeland, NL
  • Excelsior Trust, UK
  • Waveney District Council, NL
  • Dundee City Council, UK

Project Aim

The central aim of the North SEAfaring project was to raise the status of maritime heritage in regional and national spatial planning strategies. Hence the project referred to a creative rehabilitation, protection and development of cultural and natural landscapes and townscapes. This was accomplished through integrated spatial planning, with a focus on seafaring heritage.

 Project implementation and results

  • Spatial development

The North SEAfaring project combined maritime heritage with regional and national spatial planning strategies by innovative solutions and ideas bringing together spatial planners and maritime heritage people.  The main achievement was that local planners from each project side, acknowledged the importance of maritime heritage in the development of their work. Therefore, spatial strategies including heritage protection measures were developed in all of the participating regions and towns.

Another final outcome is represented by reconstruction of historic maritime heritage sites in the North Sea Region, which serve as tourist attractions and support economic development.  As a social aspect both young people and unemployed were directly involved in the reconstruction. The project has also had a positive effect and benefit on the environment. Through the development of integrated spatial strategies respecting the local environment, it also led to improvements in the environment through the creative rehabilitation of derelict sites and wasteland.

  •  Joint transnational strategy

The project partners were inspired to work hard in their own areas and make connections in a range of vertical sectors. Horizontally, many more people were interested in both the heritage aspects of the project and the spatial component than was anticipated.

Through the transnational approach, project partners of NorthSEAfaring have succeeded in gathering together traditional skills and crafts to restore historic port infrastructure such as the reconstruction of the “tjalk”, a traditional vessel type in Emden (DE).

Impact of the project

Long-term achievements and policy shaping: North SEAfaring anticipated that most activities would be carried out at a local level. However, opportunity arose to cooperate with the UK government on the development of concepts of support for maritime heritage on ministerial level. Broader EU levels were influenced through European Maritime Heritage. Furthermore, transnational work with the key maritime heritage groups within the EU has raised awareness of the implications of working with spatial planners and the necessity of becoming involved as a matter of priority rather than wait for planning issue to create difficulties.

Dissemination

The illustrated guidelines and examples, developed and supported by Landscape Interface Studio, are now used as primers and toolkits for innovative North Sea spatial planning on local, regional and transnational level.

The North Sea Region is characterised by large peripheral and semi-peripheral rural areas with many small towns of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Many parts of the programme area already have low GDP and face the further challenges of an ageing population and out-migration, both of which have decreased the active labour force. These pressures, together with the scarcity of urban functions can, if unchecked, lead to economic and social decline. These trends affect the inherent economic competitiveness of some regions within the North Sea Region, resulting in changed demands for land use, travel, access to services and infra-structure.

The peripheral and semi-peripheral areas of the North Sea region also possess unique qualities that represent huge potential for future social and economic development. Some rural areas have few job opportunities to replace those lost by declining agricultural activities. The economic potential of these areas is limited, but there have been positive developments in fields such as rural tourism, establishing new services and improving existing ones. In addition there has been an emphasis on developing new opportunities for economic activities, whilst harnessing and protecting the unique environment and heritage assets of many areas in the North Sea region.

The activities and achievements of the NorthSEAfaring project approved by the Programme within this theme have demonstrated the value of intervention to encourage urban-rural and inter-rural co-operation in order to provide a decent level of services and solve common problems to preserve and improve the quality of life in these special parts of the North Sea Region.

Safeguarding cultural and natural heritage:

  • integrated management and development plan for the common landscape and cultural heritage
  • protection and restoration of cultural, natural and historical landscapes and townscapes
  • combined maritime heritage with regional and national planning spatial planning strategies
  • bringing together spatial planners and maritime heritage practitioners
  • reconstruction of historic maritime heritage sites

Discussion

The creative rehabilitation, protection and development of cultural and natural landscapes and townscapes through integrated spatial planning with focus on seafaring heritage (NorthSEAfaring) combined maritime heritage with regional and national planning spatial planning strategies by introducing innovative solutions and ideas, bringing together spatial planners and maritime heritage practitioners.

Spatial strategies, including heritage protection measures were developed in all of the participating regions and towns. Another final outcome was represented by the reconstruction of historic maritime heritage sites in the North Sea Region, which serve as additional tourist attractions and support economic development. Through the transnational approach, project partners of the NorthSEAfaring succeeded in gathering together traditional skills and crafts to underpin historic port infrastructures such as the reconstruction of the “tjalk”, a traditional vessel type in Emden, Germany.

Lasting legacy for the North Sea Region through the projects’ achievements 

The creative rehabilitation, protection and development of cultural and natural landscapes and townscapes through integrated spatial planning with focus on seafaring heritage (NorthSEAfaring) worked together with the UK government to develop concepts of support for Maritime heritage at Ministerial level. Transnational work with the key maritime heritage groups within the EU raised awareness of the implications of working with spatial planners and the necessity of becoming involved as a matter of priority rather than waiting for planning issues to create difficulties.

The nine projects approved in this theme have delivered an interesting and wide range of results that will contribute to the lasting legacy of the Interreg IIIB North Sea Programme. These include policy shaping, the integration of cultural and national heritage issues into planning to avoid problems and the encouragement of integrated policy making at regional, national and international levels of Europe and beyond. Some projects also succeeded delivering additional investment as a result of their activities.

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