Post-Pandemic Planning for SMEs and Living Streets and Thriving Places

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 15:30 to 16:45

COVID-19 has created severe economic challenges for businesses across the world, with lengthy closures, significant job losses and an uncertain road ahead.  As reported by the Irish Central Bank, the uneven nature of the shock across sectors has become apparent, with firms within the accommodation and food sector continuing to report the largest falls in activity relative to pre-COVID-19 norms.  While numerous, temporary financial programmes have been put in place to support the economic resilience of businesses, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, (SMEs), it has largely fallen to local government to tailor the legal and regulatory tools available to them in planning for the future resilience of town centres and ‘place’ more generally. 
While towns and cities are making more space for walking during the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a growing movement to closing off streets to traffic in favour of creating the ‘space’ necessary for businesses to move outside, as well as other place-based business support strategies.  This webinar aims to outline some case studies of projects across the USA and island of Ireland and discuss the learning from these experimental projects to inform more permanent interventions that offer ways to ensure the survival of SMEs in these uncertain times. In doing so, the discussion should provide insights into the future implications for planning and policy makers in creating the right conditions – financial and regulatory – for living and vibrant places in a post-pandemic world. 
Speaker Line-Up: 
Moderator – Prof. Gerrit Knaap, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning & Executive Director, National Center for Smart Growth Research, University of Maryland 
Ms. Mary MacIntyre OBE , ICLRD Chair
Mr. Manuel Ochoa, Principal & Founder at Ochoa Urban Collaborative (USA)
Mr. David Joyce, Director of Operations, Cork City Council 
Ms. Suzanne Lutton, Regeneration & Infrastructure Manager, Economic Development Unit, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council 
Prof. Brendan Williams, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy (APEP) , University College Dublin  
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Speaker Profiles

Manuel T. Ochoa is Principal and Founder of the Ochoa Urban Collaborative, a planning, community and economic development firm with an equity lens that provides strategy, policy, and implementation services to help people, neighborhoods, and communities revitalize and thrive.  For the past several years, Manuel has worked in Miami and the Washington metro area with small business and community leaders on the issue of gentrification and displacement.  With over 25 years of experience, Manuel brings a unique mix of experience in federal and local government as well as national non-profits.  Previously, Manuel served in senior leadership positions at National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), Enterprise Community Partners, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs at the US Department of Housing and Community Development.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, is fluent in Spanish, and lives in a walkable community with his family in Friendship Heights, Maryland.  

David Joyce is presently the Director of the Roads & Environment Operations Directorate in Cork City Council.  In this role he has responsibility for the provision of a wide range of services to the citizens, communities and business of the city.  These services include:
The provision of drinking water and wastewater services
Environmental management and licensing as well as waste prevention
Litter, dog warden and traffic enforcement services
Flood and extreme weather events emergency management
Cemeteries, golf course, parks, recreation facilities, playgrounds
Parking, traffic and transport services,
Roads maintenance and licensing
Litter bin management and street sweeping/cleaning. Prior to this role, he led the City Council‘s Transition Directorate which delivered, in May 2019, the boundary extension to the City Council’s administrative area.  This was the largest change project in Local Government in Ireland in 25 years and resulted in a fivefold increase in the size of Cork City Councils jurisdictional area and an increase in population of 85,000 persons to 210,000 persons.  In the past he led the City Council’s Business Process Improvement (BPI) Unit.  In this role he had responsibility for championing the twin goals of firstly improving corporate processes to ensure better and more efficient service delivery and secondly had responsibility for driving an efficiency agenda with the goal of delivering Value for Money (VFM) and monetary cost savings.  He was also in the past the City Council’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Officer and has also worked in the Traffic, Parking, Asset Management and Roads Control Divisions of the City Council.  He also holds a Masters Degree in Local Government Management. 

Suzanne Lutton is responsible for the delivery of the Regeneration and Infrastructure Programme of work at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council in Northern Ireland.  With extensive project management experience, gained over the last 17 years in local government, Suzanne has led on the delivery of major public realm schemes; heritage restoration projects; environmental improvement works across the Council area.

Suzanne also leads the Council’s City Centre Management team as they deliver projects and initiatives to support the City Centre economy and better connect the business and residential communities.

Brendan Williams has taught and researched at a number of universities in North America and Europe for over 20 years and is currently Director of the Urban Environment Research Project at University College Dublin where he lectures in Urban Development, Urban Economics and Comparative Planning systems. His principal research themes are urban development and policy frameworks in Ireland and internationally and applied research on the role of property markets in economic development.

Gerrit-Jan Knaap is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Executive Director of the National Center for Smart Growth Research at the University of Maryland.  Gerrit’s research interests include the interactions between housing markets and policy, the economics and politics of land use planning, the efficacy of economic development instruments, and the impacts of environmental policy.  He currently serves on the State of Maryland’s Smart Growth Subcabinet, Sustainable Growth Commission, Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel, and the Mitigation and Science workgroups of the Climate Commission.

We hope you can join us,

Policy, Law & Governance