Baltic Urban Lab Final Conference

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 09:00 to Friday, September 7, 2018 - 17:00


The Baltic Urban Lab Final Conference took place in Spikeri Concert Hall (Maskavas iela 4 k-1), Riga, Latvia, from September 6-7th, 2018. The conference presented the results of the project and discussed how cities around the Baltic Sea region can tackle better challenges related to brownfield redevelopment. Challenges in brownfield redevelopment are similar across borders: fragmented land ownership, large amount of stakeholders involved, lack of common vision or conflicting development visions, the technical, geological, and financial difficulties of remediating contaminated land as well as questions about responsibility. Close cooperation and partnerships between different actors from the beginning of the redevelopment process are key to tackle these challenges.

The topic of the conference was “Dealing with the past & Planning for the future - turning urban brownfields into possibilities”  and addressed the two crucial topics around brownfield development – how to manage the transformation process and deal with the site's past and possible contamination of soil and at the same time develop visions and plan for the future land-use of the site in cooperation with stakeholders.

Planners and other experts working with urban development around Baltic Sea region were invited to join the discussions, how cities can better solve complex challenges related to brownfield redevelopment, and how to utilize brownfields’ full potential to support sustainable urban development.

The conference addressed two prime topics around the redevelopment process:

  • How to deal with the site’s past and heritage and possible soil contamination?
  • And at the same time develop visions and plans for the future uses of the site in cooperation with a diversity of stakeholders?

The first day of the conference (September 6th) discussed how to deal with these questions in the complex context of brownfield development. Key results and lessons learned from Baltic Urban Lab project and the project cities were shared and interesting examples also elsewhere from Europe were showcased. Market of methods presented some of the tools/methods that Baltic Urban Lab cities Norrköping, Tallinn, Turku and Riga have used for engaging stakeholders in their brownfield planning process.

During the second day of the conference (September 7th), a site visit to three brownfield development sites in Riga was organized.

To learn more about the programme and our speakers, please take a look at the agenda.

The conference language was English. Participation in the conference was free of charge but required registration.


Find the videos from the Final Conference here!


Speaker Profiles 

Site Visit programme (September 7th)

The highlight of the day was a bus tour in the City of Riga to visit three brownfield sites:

1.Skanste neighborhood. Without a doubt, the Skanste neighborhood is becoming the most modern part of the Riga center. Next to the Historic Center and so-called "Quiet Center" of the city, contemporary, high quality construction is taking place here, attracting residents and businesses and fostering the competitiveness of Riga both at the regional and European levels. More information about Skanste

2. Tallinas 10 yard - example of a temporary ude experiment initited by “FREE RIGA”. Revive the empty buildings in Riga, open spaces for creative and social activities.    

3. Kalnciema Street Quarter, with its beautifully-restored wooden buildings, is not only an area pleasing to the eye, but a lively arts and entertainment enclave.  The complex of renovated wooden buildings in Riga’s Kalnciems Quarter, is a 19th century wooden architectural landmark, which was built in the style of late western European Classicism. The revival of Kalnciems Quarter began in 2001 and now everyone can visit the six restored wooden houses which surround a small apple orchard. In the renovation process of the buildings, traditional materials and technologies were used, while at the same time the houses have been adapted for the rhythm and comfort of modern life. More information about Kalnciema Street Quarter