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Experts from the Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies conducted a course entitled Transfer of Experience in Urban Development and Renewal Planning to Moldova at Alecu Russo State University in Bălți, Moldova, from 25 to 29 September, was financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the Czech Development Agency.

As part of a development project entitled Transfer of experience in urban development and renewal planning to Moldova, a five-day course for students, teachers and local officials was implemented by experts from the Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies. The intention of the course was not only to bring knowledge of urban development and renewal to Moldova, but also to transfer positive experiences and open practices in the field of planning and development to the territory of Moldova plagued by the problems of the post-communist economy. Also presented were practices and experiences in planning for the development and renewal of post-socialist cities and structurally affected areas, as well as issues of public participation in planning processes, their transparency and other European experiences. The purpose of the implementation of the course, which was attended by over seventy participants from students, academics and representatives of other interested institutions - especially from the Bălți City Council - was also to work together and to clarify the trends and processes currently taking place within the EU.

The course included direct lectures, interactive activities in the form of practice games and simulations (e.g. in the area of participation or formulation of strategic visions and goals), as well as group preparation of projects addressing local problems. In this part of the course, four different projects were developed under the supervision of Czech experts, focusing on different aspects of the development of the city of Bălți (revitalisation of the industrial area, creation of a recreational nature park around the city lake, reconstruction of the sports club and, last but not least, the first proposal for the separation and recycling of municipal waste). That projects like this are worthwhile, as commented by a course participant: "During the last year, a quarter of our university's students left to study in Romania or elsewhere in Europe, and a course like this is a good reason to stay at the school and learn how the current situation in Moldova could be improved."

The lectures and activities were translated into Romanian on the spot, which explains the project co-author doc. "The language barrier in the peripheral parts of Moldova is still a big problem. Even most young people do not yet speak English and the information available is only in Romanian or Russian. The amount of information about the EU is generally limited and often distorted by misinformation from Russia."

In the next stage of the project implementation, which will take place at the beginning of December this year, a study trip of the selected best graduates of the course is planned to the Czech Republic, Prague and its surroundings to be precise, where projects and solutions should be presented directly in the Czech environment.

Within MIAS, the project is implemented by dr. Michael Pondělíček, doc. Vladimíra Šilhánková and dr. Lucia Dobrucká.

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