Atlantic Cities

 

* Presentation of her own, her experience at ACA

 

Hello. My name is Léna Dos. I’m French, actually I grew up in Brittany, and I studied urban and environmental engineering at the ENTPE school in Lyon. I graduated last year and during lockdown, in March and April I was working for the Atlantic Cities. I was working on the EURE project and more specifically on the Brittany region regarding the characterization of the project territory on economic, social and environmental scales. I also worked on the environmental management performances that is to say how Brittany handles environment management. I focused my analysis on air and noise quality, climate adaptation, social inclusion and governance for sustainable urban development and participation. Besides I also worked a little bit on the SHE4SEA project.

 

* Vision of the Atlantic city: where can it move forward?

 

To me, the Atlantic city is a city nearby the Atlantic Ocean. Their characteristics depend on the oceanic climate and the presence of the sea, their peripherical location, their strong cultural identities. The Atlantic city is not only a city, it is a city in a region. Interactions between urban and rural life do exist. The Atlantic City can be a small, a medium or a big city, even a capital. Its inhabitants rely on the quality of life they can find there. If they’re native from the area, it is very common to witness an attachment to the region and to the sea. Indeed, since the Atlantic Ocean is very close and present, many economic activities work with the ocean: fishing, cultivation of algae, seafood, maritime transport, shipbuilding, marine energies, research, tourism. Of course, other economic activities are as important as these ones: farming, research, land transportation, education, agribusiness, some industries maybe and every other business. Yet, the strong point on which, to my mind, the Atlantic City should be focusing on is the Ocean. Not many cities in Europe can say they have such an asset. They are more central and accessible. They are more visible but, they don’t have the strength of the Ocean, its particularities. The Atlantic city has it. Trying to erase them so as to become more like the other European cities might be a fall out, a pitfall betraying what makes it interesting as an Atlantic city. To move forward, the Atlantic city could enhance the ocean presence by being super wide-open on maritime transportation while still being connected to land transportation. Thus, the Atlantic city would be an entrance door to the sea. However, only embodying the marine aspect could be a trick by isolating the Atlantic city to its status of an ocean city. So, in order to use its strength and compensate its weakness, I think the Atlantic cities could work together even closer than today. They could develop some partnerships and alliances on many levels: economic, exchanges of people, students and means, congresses and other events (when it will be possible and safe again), spatial and territorial practices that can be transferred to a similar reality, some Atlantic maritime connections between the cities to get to one another easily and to create some maritime bridges on the Atlantic façade. I mean developing a network of maritime connections between the main Atlantic cities, reinforcing this way of transportation to offer more connections and also to create a striking image of what the Atlantic region is. To put it in a nutshell, developing the Atlantic connections on the Atlantic façade while strengthening the links to the rest of the territory. The Atlantic region shall become a slender peripheric yet active region having its own local functioning within a larger national and European functioning.

 

* How to mobilize Atlantic youth? How to make them work together?

 

As in every region, the population has children, adults, elderly people and young people. The Atlantic youth is often, as I mentioned previously, attached to the Atlantic area. Even though they might need to go far away from it to study or to travel if they want to, the Atlantic Ocean has marked their childhood. Some of them stay in their region and work in the maritime activities or other local businesses or industries. To mobilize Atlantic youth it is, I believe, important to keep in mind that not all the Atlantic youth has the same reality. Some will travel to many places, study several years, others won’t, some will have a very practical or manual or local job, others will be able to work almost everywhere. So, to mobilize them and to make them work together, I would suggest trying to implement a cooperation and collaboration as soon as possible, when they go to primary school, middle school and high school and to pursue the exchanges during their university studies and early years at work. This way, young people from the Atlantic region will develop a sense of belonging to the large area they grow up in. They will get to know their neighbours, their cities and regions, their culture, their languages, their traditions, their cuisine, their music. Later on they will share their practices and methods. Another prospective point to this idea is that young people, as they get older, tend to go back to what they learn or did when they were younger. Thus, initiating a cooperation and collaboration s to get to know each other and to work together for some fun projects will instil and open the door to the possibility and opportunity of future partnerships to them. The other question is how to mobilize current Atlantic youth and how to make them work together in a short-term future. As a girl who studied engineering, I will speak for the sake of young people who studied. I don’t know for sure what everyone thinks and won’t do a false generalization. So, in my opinion, ERASMUS program to study abroad and the push from universities and other schools and programs to go abroad for curriculum internships and academic year, plus the focus on learning and mastering at least English, and if possible a third language have already an impact. It is also easy, or at least, it was easier until 2020, to travel and expand horizons by going to many places in Europe or elsewhere and to get so many resources on the Internet (movies, series, books, virtual museums and exhibitions visits, lectures, etc). Cultural activities might be an answer, giving a foretaste of what and how several Atlantic regions are similar and could mutualize their means. Organizing cuisine or music or movies’ festivals to attract young visitors and to gain their attention. Having them attend some international conferences, to have some work or studies related travels made easier by their municipality and some thematic events could be a way to arise their interest toward a potential collaboration and cooperation between the members of the Atlantic façade. Cultural exchanges might lead to tourism exchanges and maybe later to a more professional exchange such as Atlantic youth working in a manual or more practical field who could be involved in some workshops related to their specialty (for example plumbers from a country are used to working with tiles, plumbers from another country are specialized in all types of pipes and they could share their knowledges and techniques just like mosaics conservators do). Then, it could be expanded to even more people and profession and volunteering work.

 

All in all, I would say Atlantic cities are great, have a tremendous potential and a long way to go. There are many operations to continue and other to develop in the future. I hope it will turn out as expected, or even better.

Thank you.

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