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Hybrid Parks: Combining abilities, creating synergies and enhancing the performance of parks for sustainable local and regional development policies (Hybrid Parks)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Parks, both historic and modern, are intensively managed, high quality environments. They add to the attractiveness and success of cities and regions and to the quality of life for citizens and visitors.The partnership includes many of those cities and regions energetically enhancing and using parks in a wider policy context such as economic development, rural diversification, protection of cultural heritage, landscapes and environment or urban renewal. Partnership also includes some newcomers which started similar policies recently.They all acknowledge the unique resources of parks, the advantages of cooperation and the need to achieve additional economic, social and environmental benefits to diminish the risks of decline or loss caused by conflicting demands, budget reductions etc. Climate change is a growing threat whose effects are not fully clarified. It will affect park features and plants directly. It will attract more visitors using parks as comfort places. Finally parkswill be part of risk prevention strategies such as green corridors to mitigate climate change.It is the projects key objective that parks can fully be used for sustainable local and regional development and for policies to mitigate climate change by enhancing their abilities to better serve economic, social and environmental purposes; by combining the improved capacities to create synergies and to enhance performance and benefits; and by promoting guidance on how to relate the above with local and regional mitigation policies.Such policies ensure that in each park different functions work "hand in hand". This can be compared with a hybrid car, where two sources of energy and engines are linked to use their individual advantages, to support each other and to enhance performance and sustainability. Analogously, the idea of Hybrid Parks came into being.Activities cover the 3 pillars of sustainability by individual and interrelated activities, based on experiences and resourcesof the partnership and the objectives of Hybrid Parks. Best practice studies include Economy: Tourism and urban (re)development", Social: Widening the audience" and Environment: Public awareness. Policies using parks for economic, environmental or social development are investigated in two workshops each. Another six, cross-cutting or "hybrid" workshops investigate how to combine these approaches to increase the contribution and synergies of parks to sustainable development policies and mitigation of climate change. Study tours to the UK (focus: economy), Sweden (social) and Lower Austria (environment) and four open conferences further support exchange and transfer. This feeds into improved skills, policies and regional development plans, championed by regional support teams.The final conference presents the project report, with best practice case studies and the Hybrid Parks Model for integrated management of parks within sustainable development and climate change policies. Achievements: The huge variety of actual uses and the great expectations related to the contribution of parks, gardens and urban spaces to sustainable urban and regional development across Europe, have become very obvious in the situation reports delivered by the partners.These early reports (available from also raised the mutual understanding about the partners,their needs and objectives and about options emerging from exchange and transfer of good practice. The first workshop, held according to the plan in June in Lund, had its focus on the social aspects of parks and gardens. Partners, local politicians and external experts joined in Lunds city park to discuss the needs and the challenges of the transformation of this 100 year old public park into a multi-purpose or Hybrid Park.Presentations by partners allowed comparing different approaches and experiences made so far.On the second day, presentations and guided tours through the Therapy Garden at Alnarp University and the Castle Garden in Malmö (added to the good practice database) further inspired the discussion about transfer options, improvements in existing parks, creation of new areas and help to further define joint challenges. Work on seven good practice case studies (scheduled for September 2012) was inspired by this workshop and the studies will reflect this while also delivering a wider picture. All this also helped to shape the content of the next workshop (Economy 1 in North Rhine-Westphalia) and the first conference in Umbria (postponed to November 2012). The project website offers detailed information and will be further enhanced within the next reporting period (e.g. by a news feed). Main events have been used to inform the media and thus the public about the project. For the forthcoming newsletter partners compiled a joint mailing list of addressees from the various departments, professions etc.
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