Conference to hear how vibrant city centres vital to economic recovery

A MAJOR conference on urban regeneration this week in Waterford will hear about the importance of vibrant city centres to economic recovery.

The conference is being hosted by Waterford Chamber in association with the city council and the city’s development board and will be addressed by Irish and British academics involved in delivering thriving urban centres elsewhere.

Entitled Regeneration – Opportunities for Growth, will include workshop sessions on Thursday afternoon which will focus on particular strands of urban regeneration in the area such as Waterford Health Park on Slievekeale Road, which was recently shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival Awards and presented at a major healthcare infrastructure conference in Chicago.

Among those due to address the conference in Waterford’s Theatre Royal will be Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe, Fine Gael transport spokesman Simon Coveney, Waterford Chamber president Tom Murran and city mayor Cllr Mary Roche.

According to Tom Murran, the timing is “entirely appropriate” given the work in Waterford on restoring vitality to the city centre. “Rather than rolling over in the face of recession, Waterford is standing up and making the best of our tremendous heritage assets so that we all have a more attractive place to live and that we attract more visitors with whom to share our city.”

Waterford is achieving much through various public and private sector initiatives, Mr Murran said, including the House of Waterford Crystal and the related Viking Triangle.

“While we’re all keenly aware of the difficult economic environment, there is a real optimism apparent in Waterford at the moment and it’s that which this week’s conference will look to capture and channel.”

Speakers taking part in Thursday’s conference include Dr Singhal Shaleen of the University of Ulster; Christina Lister from the Norwich HEART project; Waterford city manager Michael Walsh and Dr Patrick Wallace of the National Museum of Ireland.

More in this section