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One of the new Centre's branches in Riga, Source: Riga Municipality

Neighbourhood Centre: Riga’s way of easing residents’ lives

Neighbourhood Centre: Riga’s way of easing residents’ lives

This is an institutional re-organization aimed to make lives and initiatives easier

The Latvian capital of Riga will now count with Neighbourhood Residents’ Centre, represented in 5 different locations. This was made possible after reorganizing the previous Visitors’ Reception Centre in a way that would foster stronger cooperation between the city council and the residents, neighbourhood organizations and NGOs.

Representing a more proactive approach to community relations

So, what will change with this reorganization? It was reported that the five branches of the Centre will be staffed by the so-called ‘neighbourhood coordinators’ who will have a variety of tasks to perform.

Among them will be to proactively find out the needs of the population and inform about participation opportunities in the development of their neighbourhood, promote communication between residents, the municipality and various municipal bodies in the direction and implementation of initiatives, as well as in the moves towards community cohesion.

Citizens will be able to implement their initiatives in direct cooperation with the coordinator, without visiting other municipal institutions. For instance, if an association wants to place a bench in its neighbourhood, it will no longer be necessary to go to a number of departments and corporations in order to make it happen. The coordinator will take care of the initiative.  

Likewise, the city council has ensured that citizens will still be able to approach the new centres with their regular administrative needs, queries and questions just like they had been able to do with the Visitors’ Reception Centres. In fact, the plan is to develop the customer service area by constantly expanding the range of services, as well as ensuring the observance of the “one-stop-shop” principle in their provision.

For example, until now, it was necessary to go to the relevant executive directorate to apply for a permit for sales activities on the streets in municipal premises, now it will be possible to apply for and receive a permit in any customer centre. 

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