A former soviet military base turns into the city's cultural scene
The Spīķeri Block, a former soviet military base located in the historic centre of Riga, has been lain derelict for more than 10 years and a socio-economic burden for the city administration. Now, as a result of a number of interventions and a successful public-private partnership, it has turned the corner. It is becoming an important player in the city's cultural scene, and is attracting an increasing number of Riga's inhabitants and visitors.
The project aim was to develop the public infrastructure of the Spīķeri Block to provide the basis for the sustainable and integrated urban development of the derelict area. It mainly comprised the reconstruction of the block with substantial adjustments of the urban environment – making the territory and the adjacent bank of the river accessible and safe, and developing a port which can be further used as part of the city's public water-transport system.The revitalisation of the Spīķeri Block provides a good example of successful public-private partnership and cooperation among a fairly large number of actors representing diverse fields of operation. The process integrates a number of projects funded from different sources that are implemented by various actors – enterprises, NGOs and the municipality – all leading to the successful regeneration of the former derelict area. It also demonstrates how 'soft' activities and 'hard' investments can run in parallel to increase the visibility and recognition of the Spīķeri Block among Riga's inhabitants and visitors.