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The Strength of Culture for Development

Why Culture Matters in International Cooperation

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Edited By Pascaline Gaborit

On the global scale, the challenges surrounding development are massive and complex, as inequalities in living conditions between the richest and poorest countries become greater. Development is a global challenge on a par with the financial crisis and environmental concerns. The participation of local communities and towns in development programmes may result from a desire for influence at an international level, rather than the idea that they can bring some measure of stability, like the large NGOs.
In this context, culture remains an omnipresent factor. Indeed, culture takes on a multifaceted front for it is not solely limited to the organisation of cultural activities or the protection of heritage, but also about the values, significance, and everyday actions of human communities. It contributes to the well-being of local populations. Using culture as a transversal tool to solve the development issues means tackling those issues from a different angle: bringing solutions to some multicultural questions that exist in rich countries.
This book brings together a selection of articles by researchers and experts in this area from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines and countries.
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Participative Cooperation of Urban Planners around the World

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Interview with Claire ViGE HELIE

Director of Les Ateliers

Can you give some information about the organization? What are your role and responsibilities?

Les Ateliers is a French non-profit organization. We have only two permanent people in the team, but we manage quite a big network of students and professionals in the field of Urban Planning and City Development. My job is firstly to manage the structure itself and secondly to organize the work between the different people of the network of Les Ateliers. We set up different management teams for our projects.

Les Ateliers was born in 1982 in the new town of Cergy-Pontoise and has been organizing urban planning workshops for students and young professionals ever since. We organize one workshop for students every year in the Paris region and we also organize workshops which are more focussed on professional participants and which are organized on an international level in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In general we organize two or three international workshops per year.

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Rather than generating ideas that would be implemented in the short term, the idea of our workshops is to start interacting in a dynamic way with local actors, to bring them together and to enable them to co-operate with each other. The participants who are recruited by us work in teams. In general we have three teams and each team is comprised of international and pluridisciplinary...

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