On the 28th June the city of Larnaca presented its Strategic Plan for Sustianable Urban Development, the result of the USUDS project that has been implemented since October 2011 by the Municipality of Larnaca

After having exposed the plan to the various political parties involved in the municipal government, this presentation was done to local stakeholders as well as international guests, with representatives from Spain, Lebanon, Greece, Romania and Switzerland. The presentation of Larnaca 2040 was not only focused on the results of the project regarding the development of its strategy, but rather presented the experience lived during the USUDS project, that allowed them to completely understand the comparative advantages of Larnaca; to analyse its strengths and weaknesses in order to identify the challenges that will be faced in the following years; to draw the political priorities and decisions; and to engage a serious debate with the stakeholders and the citizens as to the vision for the future of the city.

In the initial interventions the project coordinator focused on the need to overcome the traditional concept of the masterplan as an instrument for urban development and move towards holistic and strategic approaches, such as the strategic planning, that will reduce the vulnerability of the cities and will increase their adaptability and resilience and their capacity to deal with the challenges faced in the current conditions of crisis and globalisation.

In the first part of the seminar, the Larnaca team presented the methodology of the project and the results of the thorough diagnostic process undertaken by the local team of experts. This diagnosis led to the identification of the strategic lines of Larnaca and its vision as a city of choice, a city gateway, a city energy hub and a city touristic destination.

The sectors of tourism and energy were also confirmed as being priority ones for the economy of the city, through specific economic studies undertaken during the USUDS project using various econometric methodologies. For this reason, specific interventions were done by national institutions on the perspectives of both sectors and the challenges that they pose for the whole island and, thus, for the city of Larnaca as well and the debate was focused on the effort that will be needed to make these two sector compatibles.

Last, the seminar concluded with the intervention of the International Consultant of USUDS project in Larnaca, Mr. Josep Acebillo, who exposed the three concepts that will guide the strategic plan of Larnaca, notably the interventions in the coastal corridor, in the neo-tertiary corridor and the urban accupuncture interventions. Mr. Acebillo focused on the complexity of the small – the importance of implementing small scale projects that change the nature of the city- and generated a discussion on the alternatives for the development of the port and the marina and on the need to use the old oil refinery for purposes of urban development, and not as a spot for activities related to the energy hub, due to its central position.

The public presentation of the Urban Development Strategy of Larnaca is considered another opportunity to engage in a public discussion about the future of the city, while the strategic projects identified is another instrument for the municipal government in order to draw its future political priorities.