In order to attract Riga residents and tourists, the improvement of Old Riga will begin this summer

In order to attract Riga residents and tourists, the improvement of Old Riga will begin this summer
In order to attract Riga residents and tourists, the improvement of Old Riga will begin this summer
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This year, Riga municipality will start an ambitious improvement program of Old Riga with the aim of attracting both residents of Riga and local and foreign tourists to the old city. In Old Riga in general, this year it is planned to install more than 200 different types of landscaping elements, several large-scale environmental art objects, and work has also begun to develop the public outdoor space on Valņu street and Teatra Square, Neatkarības Square, 13. Janvāra Street and 11. Novebra embankment.

An orderly and pleasant urban environment is one of the determining factors that encourage people to spend time outdoors, therefore the improvement of Old Riga as an urban planning monument of national importance is one of the priority tasks that the Riga City Council has undertaken. The chairman of the city development committee, Inese Anderson, explains: “The consequences of the pandemic and remote work are felt by every businessman in Old Riga, therefore our goal is to attract people to Old Riga by placing environmental and art objects, organizing various events near the city center, as well as making the environment comfortable and attractive, so that everyone would like to return. There has never been such a targeted beautification program of Old Riga, and this year it is planned to invest historically the largest investments in beautification elements and environmental objects – around one million euros.”

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One of the first tasks is to make the old town a people-friendly environment, therefore this summer Riga Municipality will place various types of improvement elements and environmental objects in Old Riga. In general, starting from July, more than 100 boxes with greenery, more than 70 benches, at least 25 waste bins and five bike racks are planned to be placed in Old Riga. There will be new outdoor furniture in Rātslaukum, Reformation Square, Valņu Street, Kalēju Street, Skārņu Street and elsewhere, replacing elements that have already served their time and creating completely new recreation areas. Their design will be ergonomic, visually attractive and suitable for urban environments, as well as durable and safe for users.

Special attention of the public is expected to be attracted with large environmental art objects, which are expected to be exhibited in the old town from July to the end of September. Art objects will be placed in several places in Old Riga. Their design will be chosen in the design competition, which will end at the end of April. One of the main criteria of the competition is that environmental objects should be attractive and attract people’s interest. These will also be long-term objects, which are planned to be operated for at least three years with the possibility of moving them to other areas of the city later.

As before, it is planned to attract visitors to Old Riga with cultural and sports events of various scales, which will take place in the city center. Also this year, it is planned to organize public viewing of various international sports events in the center of the capital, where every Riga resident or city guest can come. Therefore, it is important that the urban environment where people come is comfortable and attractive.

At the same time, the municipality has also started work on important projects for the development of the public outdoor space of Old Riga. One of the biggest and most important projects of the coming years is the reconstruction of Valņu Street and Teatra Square. In the course of the project, it is planned to rebuild Valņu Street into a pedestrian street, restore the pavement, combining the historical pavement with modern solutions, build new lighting and improve the area. The project will be implemented with the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund. It is planned to start the development of the construction project this year and to complete the construction works by the end of 2029. The second important project is the rebuilding of Independence Square. In the second half of this year, it is planned to announce a design competition to find the best urban and artistic solution for the square and its accent – an environmental object.

In the second half of the year, the feasibility study of the development of the 13th January street and public outdoor space will begin, which is a continuation of the “Rail Baltica” infrastructure integration project in the urban environment implemented by the municipality. Its purpose is to organize the 13th of January Street in the area near the “Rail Baltica” rebuildable embankment, to create an attractive and comfortable public outdoor space, continuing the circle of the boulevard around Old Riga. It is planned that the redevelopment of the area will enliven the area, improve its attractiveness and promote economic activity. In the course of this project, it is also planned to organize the public transport hub around Riga Central Station, Riga International Bus Station, Riga Central Market and Old Riga, making it an efficient and convenient intermodal connection.

At the same time, a feasibility study will be started in order to create an active, scenic and well-equipped public space on the 11th of November embankment in the next few years, ensuring a convenient connection of Old Riga with the Daugava, creating convenient access to the water’s edge, improving economic activity and creating a more attractive image of the city as seen from the Daugava. This year, the municipality will also start research on the reconstruction of the section of Kungu Street from Grēcinieku Street to Mārstāļu Street, in order to replace the street surface with the historical pavement in the next few years. It is also planned to arrange the rainwater drainage system and improve the adjacent territory, infusing the historical heritage of the old town into the urban environment.

Preparations have already been made and important decisions have been made in order to relieve the city center from transit traffic, providing the opportunity to successfully implement the planned public outdoor space development projects. In the coming years, the municipality will continue its work to make Riga more and more a destination for local and foreign tourists.

Tags: order attract Riga residents tourists improvement Riga summer

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