ICLRD: Celebrating Ten Years with Annual Conference focused on Place-Making

Conference Programme

As part of its ten-year celebrations, the International Centre for Local and Regional Development’s (ICLRD) held its annual conference on the afternoon of 9th February 2017 in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo. The theme of this celebratory event was place-making; a subject matter that has lain at the heart of much of the ICLRD’s work programmes – whether action research, policy briefings or capacity building programmes – over the past ten years. As such, it was considered both fitting and appropriate by the Executive Board that this topic, and the opportunities it offers in unlocking the potential of places, take centre stage at this conference, “Our Future in Place: The Role of People, Policy and Process in Place-Making and Place-Shaping”.


There is a growing argument that ‘place’ should play an increasingly prominent role in public policy making. As investment and people are now more mobile than ever before, considering the quality and potential of a place becomes ever more important. As noted by FitzGerald at the 2010 ICLRD Annual conference, quality places attract and retain skilled and talented people by providing a mix of natural, community, social, leisure, creative and cultural activities for themselves and their families. Determining on what a place-based strategy should focus starts with identifying what the location provides in terms of key assets, services and growth opportunities that shape day-to-day-life and economic opportunities. For policy-makers, this raises questions around innovation and creativity in the spheres of socio-economic, cultural and environmental development and governance – themes explored in much detail during this conference. Speaker slides are available for download below.


Welcome Session

Welcome Address  Conference MC: Mr. Padraig Maguire, Senior Executive Planner, Meath County Council & ICLRD Advisory Board Member

Session 1 

What Role for ‘Place’ in Public Policy and Strategy?

Welcome by Chair  Ms. Caroline Creamer, Director, International Centre for Local and Regional Development & Research Fellow,
Keynote address: ‘Place’ in Public Policy: Place-Making, Place-Shaping and Place-Marketing Prof. Robin Hambleton, Director, Urban Answers & Emeritus Professor of City Leadership, Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, University of West of England (UWE)
Cross-Border Place-Making….and Un-doing: An International Perspective  Mr. Martin Guillermo-Ramírez, Secretary General, Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)
Recognising the Place-Shaping Role of Local Authorities: A New Vision for the North West Mr. Seamus Neely, CEO, Donegal County Council & Mr. John Kelpie, CEO, Derry City & Strabane District Council
A Reflection: An Emerging Place-Making Agenda for Ireland Mr. Dennis Kelly, Assistant Director and Senior Planner, Northern & Western Regional Assembly


Session 2

Place-Making in Communities – Learning from Others

Welcome by Chair  Dr. Neale Blair, Senior Lecturer, School of the Built Environment, Ulster University & Executive Board Member, ICLRD
Resilient Places through Place-Making: The Experiences of Ireland’s Coastal Towns     Dr. Linda McElduff, Lecturer, School of the Built Environment, Ulster University
Building SMART Places: The Cork Smart Gateway Ms. Claire Davis, Programme Manager, Cork Smart Gateway
Putting Good Design in Place: Lessons from Scotland Mr. Diarmaid Lawlor, Director of Place, Architecture & Design Scotland
Society, Space & the Citizenry: Future-Proofing Places for Evolving Service Needs Prof. Mary P. Corcoran, Professor of Sociology & Head of Department, Maynooth University


Plenary Session and Close

A Creative Response: Place-Making as a Process of Mutual Learning, Co-Design and Innovation  Prof. Peter Roberts OBE, Interim Chair, Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE)
Closing Comments  MC: Mr. Padraig Maguire, Senior Executive Planner, Meath County Council & ICLRD Advisory Board Member