Liveability – Designing public services for resilient neighbourhoods

What makes our cities liveable, now and in the future? The project Liveability tackles this question within cities around the Baltic Sea and trains public administrations in innovative ways to engage people to create liveable and attractive city environments that adapt to people’s needs as well as advance collective wellbeing.

Baltic cities similar its European counterparts were already dealing with various social, environmental, and economic challenges before the COVID 19 crisis, such as socio-economic inequalities, climate change impacts and demographic shifts. However, the shifts in work and life patterns present medium-sized and smaller cities an opportunity to attract residents and businesses by being more liveable. That involves taking an integrated and balanced approach to the built environment, innovation culture, public services, and socio-cultural life.

Cities must become “closer”, “more public” and “more agile” to be more liveable. For this, city administrations must encourage their civil servants to adopt innovate mindsets, creative thinking, and participatory methods. Public services and planning processes must become more responsive, and authorities should involve residents and civil society to develop ideas of what future urban life should look like. Public interest design (PID), i.e., the application of user-centred design in matters of general interest, is a suitable methodological framework for this objective. It can be applied in practically all domains of public services.

The Liveability partnership develops, pilots, and transfers a capacity building programme by applying PID principles that targets both the city-wide (leadership level) and civil servants. The project will be piloted in Riga, Gdynia, Pori, Kolding, Guldborgsund and Kiel through testbed neighbourhoods. Candidate cities will be invited to transfer the programme where they will receive the liveable city label and become part of the liveable cities network in the Baltic Sea Region.

Liveability has been approved in September 2022 and is co-funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027. REM Consult was involved in the project development and is contracted since 2023 to support with project and financial management as well as communication tasks.