26 November 2019
Project closing seminar
On 7 and 8 November 2019, the closing seminar of the Latvia-Lithuania project “INNOVATIVE BROWNFIELD REGENERATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF CROSS-BORDER REGIONS” (BrownReg, LLI-325) was held in Jelgava, at the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, in Valdeka palace. Participants of the project at the workshop presented and discussed the conclusions and results obtained from project. The results really are impressive.
The project started in 2018. The aim was in close cooperation with local governments of Latvia (Ludza) and Lithuania (Kupiski and Ignalina), to acquire, introduce and promote new experience for innovative, local-based and environmentally friendly revitalisation of degraded areas. The project was led by the dean of Faculty of Environment and Civil Engineering of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, professor, Dr.arch. D.Skujāne. In the project participated number of departments of Faculty on Environment and Civil Engineering (Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Department of Land Management and Geodesy, Department of Environment and Water Management), other faculties (Forest Faculty, Agricultural Faculty), as well as representatives of Ludza, Kupiski and Ignalina municipalities.
The industrial heritage left by previous generations can be very diverse. It can strengthen the visibility and identity of the area, but it can also appear in the city landscape as dangerous, abandoned and contaminated places. As one of the most representative industrial heritage in the Baltic States is heritage of Soviet period, because at this time took place extensive industrialisation processes. However, after restitution of independence of Baltic States, several industrial zones have become abandoned areas with high level of environmental pollution – ruins of production buildings, soil pollution by chemicals, etc. products, because production volumes decreased. Almost always these areas have significant potential to become significant public or public/private outdoor elements – parks, offices or residential buildings, new industrial areas, multi-functional areas, etc.
In the frame of project participants studied the problem of degraded areas, possibilities of their revitalisation and further use, participated in educational and experience exchange trip to Poland and Germany, where they become acquainted with several examples of revitalisation of former production and its infrastructure, carried out measures of remediation of degraded areas on the pilot sites selected by municipalities, organised and conducted several thematic workshops both in Latvia and Lithuania, developed number of informational and educational materials and carried out other activities.
In pilot areas in Latvia and Lithuania for treatment of contaminated soils the method of phyto-remediation was used. Phyto-remediation is the use of complex of plants and associated micro-organisms in order to reduce concentration of pollution or its toxic effects in the environment. It is relatively new technology and is considered as profitable, efficient, environmentally friendly and solar-oriented technology.
In BrownReg project for remediation were included three degraded areas in municipalities. These territories were: former fuel storage station in Kupiskis (Lithuania), former heating plant in Ignalina (Lithuania) and former flax factory in Ludza (Latvia). In each of the objects was:
- carried out assessment of environmental risks;
- collected and analysed samples of the soil to identify existing level of pollution;
- carried out analysis of spatial structure and elements of the landscape;
- carried out investigation and analysis of vegetation;
- carried out, according to the survey, treatment of areas from ruins of buildings and road surface, other infrastructure objects which are not used and are dangerous;
- according to the level of pollution have been looked for most appropriate approaches of bio-remediation in identified areas, established the pilot areas for research of phyto-remediation process in real-life situation, plants for phyto-remediation have been grown;
- plants have been planted which will perform phyto-remediatical treatment of soil from specific identified substances in the identified pilot areas;
- monitoring of pollution in pilot areas was realised prior to planting and after three months, and it will be continued after implementation of the project.
Fig.1, 2. Territory of the former flax factory in the Ludza city (Latvia) prior to the project
As one of activities of the project was development of educational and practical guidelines for remediation of degraded areas. Therefore in frame of project was published the book “Remediation of degraded areas. Research. Planning. Use”. There are summarised both theoretical and practical knowledge and examples. This edition of guidelines will allow better to understand issues, challenges and opportunities of degraded areas, as well as will be useful both for educational and practical use. It will serve as information material for students, practitioners of the industry, spatial planners and decision-makers in municipalities and other responsible state authorities.
In project activities were involved students from Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Vytautas Magnus University and Kaunas Forestry and Environmental Engineering University of Applied Sciences. They participated in planting of plants in pilot areas, in workshops where they expressed their views and offered proposals for the future use and development of degraded areas. Final seminar of project was also attended by large number of students, teachers, researchers and other stakeholders. Participants on the workshop expressed the great satisfaction for time and work contributed in the project, as well as for obtained experience.
Fig.6. Joint picture of project partners’ at the closing seminar