Lessons Learned under Lockdown in the Municipality of Gabrovo

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Lessons Learned under Lockdown in the Municipality of Gabrovo

Those responsible for the TeRRItoria transformative experiment in the Municipality of Gabrovo have in mind to co-create something based on the RRI keys of Public Engagement and Science Education. Their original plan involved the planning of 3 bilateral meetings, a writeshop, and a summit. The first bilateral meeting on the 28th of February, entitled “Together for the future of Gabrovo”, focused on the topic of students and young people and how they can take part in the future development planning of the city. It was attended by local politicians, scientists from university of Gabrovo, educators, businesses, research organisations, and the chamber of commerce, as well as young people themselves. After this, further events were derailed by lockdown measures implemented nationwide in Bulgaria.

While the other co-creation activities planned are for the time being on hold, the partners in Gabrovo have at least been able to take one significant learning point from the unprecedented situation: people confined to their houses will enthusiastically take the time to respond online to questionnaires. The partners put together an online survey to feed into the design of their transformative experiment by the title of “How do you see the future of Gabrovo?”.

Being a small university city, Gabrovo has a pool of over 5 000 students to draw on, and these were the main targets for the survey. Before it was concluded, 645 of them had completed the survey, exceeding expectations of how many might take the time to fill it out and giving valuable insights at the same time.

The Municipality of Gabrovo is following up on this with an online survey of local businesses in Gabrovo. This will provide information on the businesses’ main economic results, entrepreneurs’ expectations for the future (increasing or decreasing turnover), their percentage of income from European funds, the suitability of the government’s economic policy initiatives, their workforce and equipment needs, and the extent to which they need industrial parks.

When conditions allow, the partners will again resume their face-to-face, though most likely socially-distanced this time, co-creation activities. 

Article written by Esteban Pelayo – EURADA.

Esteban joined EURADA in 2015 as Director. He has worked for Regional Development Agencies since 2000. He is an agricultural engineer with a specialisation in intellectual property rights and regional cooperation.

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