City of Pärnu, located in the mouth of the longest and largest river of Estonia, the eastern part of the famous Hanseatic way of the Baltic Sea, was an important trading town for many centuries. During industrialization period the port of Pärnu became a lively gateway for local products like wood, textile, food. In the middle of the 19th century, the health resort of Pärnu started and in the 20th century its mud bath reached international recognition. In the Soviet period (1940-1990) the food, textile and machine building industries were developed. The port was enlarged for fishery. In early 1990-s when Estonia regained independence, the situation was changing gradually. Today, the port is totally privatized and it functions only for wood export. Most of waterfront factories are closed, some of them are in ruins or removed already. The wide areas in the former port are out of use and are waiting for new solutions. As Pärnu has quite long-lasting cultural traditions (especially in music, visual arts, architecture), there are several ways of combining regeneration of waterfront areas with cultural purposes.
We expect to learn from experiences of the other cities on waterfront regeneration. According to the initiative of our museum, we’ll prepare a specific conference on future development of the waterfront cities of the west coast of Estonia (Pärnu, Haapsalu, Kuressaare etc). In addition to the participants from our partners, we intend to invite guests from the other Baltic Sea cities like Ventspils (Latvia) and Malmö (Sweden). These two coastline towns have done an immense work for regeneration of old ports into active and attractive public spaces.
Specific Project Output
A wide discussion among citizens of Estonia will be launched to figure out the best ideas for regeneration of the left from the Soviet regime former industrial zones. The new ideas will be forwarded to architects, urban planners, leaders of local governments. The waterfront areas will be reborn for a new life.