On February 20th-21st the 2nd international conference “CITIES BY THE WATER: IMAGES REAL AND VIRTUAL”, held within the international projects “Contemporary old city: enhancing cultural tourism across the border” (funded by the Karelia ENPI Cross-border cooperation programme), and “City Branding. Phase II: Common branding of medium-sized cities” (funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers), took place in Petrozavodsk.
The organizers were:
– Petrozavodsk City Administration;
– Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KarRC RAS);
– Institute of Economic Studies, KarRC RAS;
– Union of Russian Cities;
– Karelian Resource Centre for NGOs;
– Karelian Branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA Karelian Branch);
– Karelian Regional Non-government Fund “Petrozavodsk”.
The conference had nearly 150 participants – specialists in strategic planning, place marketing and branding, spatial planning, architecture, landscape planning and design, as well as representatives of businesses and NGOs.
The participants came from Petrozavodsk, Cherepovets, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kondopoga, Moscow, Olonets, St. Petersburg, Sosnovy Bor, Tolyatti, Veliky Novgorod, Vologda, Vyborg (Russia), and from Elblong and Katowice (Poland), Narva (Estonia), Kristiansand (Norway), Joensuu and Varkaus (Finland).
The conference was greeted by the Consul of the Petrozavodsk Office of the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg Mr. T. Kinnunen and the Mayor of Petrozavodsk Ms. G. Shirshina.
Reputed Russian experts in place branding and marketing D. Vizgalov, N. Zamyatina, V. Dubeykovsky gave lectures at the plenary session. Ms. S. Palviainen from Joensuu (Finland) shared the experience of networking and cooperation between various stakeholders in cultural tourism development.
On its second day the conference worked in four parallel thematic sessions:
– Designing and marketing local brands;
– Tourism: real and virtual;
– Urban images;
– Water resources: apparent and latent developmental opportunities.
Presentations were made on various aspects of strategic and spatial planning, city marketing and branding, landscape design in waterfront cities, development of crafts, events marketing, promoting citizens’ initiative and involving local people in the city development, utilization of water resources in municipal development, etc.
In the “Urban Images” session the results of the “Visual markers in Petrozavodsk” design sketch competition held within the “Contemporary old city” project were announced, and the winner diploma was awarded to designer S. Treshkin.
The speakers emphasized the need to promote and strengthen cooperation on city planning, marketing and branding between all stakeholders, including local communities, authorities and business. During the discussions the participants expressed willingness to continue multilateral contacts to create the conditions necessary to implement projects in these spheres.
The conference was timed to one of brand events in Petrozavodsk – the annual “Hyperborea” Winter Festival and the Snow and Ice Sculpture Contest, which the conference participants could visit as part of the cultural programme.
In conclusion, the organizers voiced the opinion that given the topicality and growing interest in the subject the “CITIES BY THE WATER” conference has all the potential to develop into an annual event.
The participants unanimously remarked on the smooth organization, rich programme and creative atmosphere of the conference.