Imagine a cultural centre and an open zone for art where you can meet designers, architects, or film makers, you can print in 3D, buy whatever you need to create street art or simply have dinner. This is Tabačka – Kulturfabrik, a unique initiative from Košice in the eastern part of Slovakia. It is an excellent example of what creativity and inventiveness can achieve in a macro-region, Tabačka aims to support the creative industry and the additional civic services in town.
Creativity does bring out the best in macro-regions. An interesting project based on inventiveness and involvement is that of UrbanizeHub, a start-up, an aggregator of ideas about smart cities and sustainable urban development. Their initiative is called CityMakers – a kind of urban changemakers, people who build communities and projects for the cities where they live. These citymakers can contribute to changing cities and transforming them into active urban ecosystems.
Vilnius has a small area called “Behind the river” where the local community has its own tradition of collaboration: it has a constitution, president and government, post, customs and other attributes of an independent country. Young people, especially artists like the atmosphere of freedom and liberalism that is created here. An art incubator has been established by the municipality of Vilnius and there are premises where artists from other countries, mostly from the Baltic region, have the opportunity to live there for a few months.
A Lithuanian CSO
The Conspiracy House (https://verschwoerhaus.de/) is a project where young people work on creative digital solutions for the city of Ulm and the region. They develop creative ideas, they are provided with an office space to exchange possibilities, and workshops are also offered.
Local and regional initiatives have indeed gained more importance with the Covid situation. The closed borders created a lot of stress for inhabitants whose normal lives have been affected heavily. The Estonian-Latvian Valga/Valka border town solved this for its inhabitants without problem, enabling them to cross the border freely.
The Nordic and Baltic cooperation has been very much hurt by Covid-19. There should be some kind of recovery and resilience programme targeted at the Baltic Sea macro-region.
We have many good project cases where coalitions/partnerships of organisations from Slovenia and other ex-Yugoslav countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia) work together because of their common history, and cultural understanding
In Erasmus+ and Solidarity Corps there are many occasions to foster dialogue and reflection with partners from non-EU member states. These collaborations are often seen as particularly important for non-EU civil society organisations that can network and build additional capacity.
All macro-regions have interesting touristic attractions; promoting them also contributes to bringing these macro-regions closer to each other. The Obelisk at Jennersdorf in the east of Austria was set up as the common landmark of Austria, Hungary and Slovenia. It became a symbol of connecting people, culture, history and traditions in the Danube macro-region.
My macro-region tourist card – a macro-regional agrotourism/identity tourism digital platform could accommodate the macro-regional tourist card by giving direct access to all regional businesses registered on the platform, as well as providing sizeable discounts. This could connect potential tourists to local producers.