Smart Tartu

Social Democratic Party manifesto for the 2017 Tartu City Council election

I City for the people

Social democrats stand for open and people-centric city governance. We aim to conduct our work in an appropriate and professional manner and work together with local communities and interests’ groups. Citizens’ groups are valuable partners to the city leadership. Application of modern technology is integral to a smooth and professional cooperation with citizens and businesses.

  1. We give people the opportunity to address the city council and participate in the city governance through digital referendums and polls.
  2. We will enhance the city website to give people the opportunity to comment on the laws being passed through legislature and ensure people’s proposals are discussed in a respective city council committee.
  3. We will continue to utilise technology tools and solutions to gather proposals from people.
  4. We will make it easier to obtain information about the city by grouping data based on the city district or topic.
  5. We will ensure the availability of open data. In partnership with the universities, we will enable the application of big data to improve public services, scientific research and enterprise.
  6. We will include established and newly created district groups and other associations in discussions about strategies for transforming the city and public spaces and support the community school movement.
  7. We will support citizens’ groups that provide educational, cultural and social services. We will reduce the application of project-based funding model in these areas.
  8. We will change the public procurement process and apply the principles of „smart procurement“ across all areas to avoid reduced service quality which results from prices being undercut.
  9. We will manage planning, approval and monitoring of building, operating and trading licences in a transparent and cooperative manner.
  10. City council will have a new committee that will discuss strategies for making public transport and other means of urban mobility more sustainable.
  11. We will integrate members of the Tähtvere municipality in the city and take the its individual characteristics into consideration.
  12. We will review the participatory budgeting rules and increase its amount.
  13. We will ensure ideas that were not successful in the participatory budgeting vote are discussed in the city council committees.

II Improved connectivity

Fast and comfortable transport links are integral to a university town like Tartu. People need to be able to access airports in Tallinn and Riga easily and further, it is important to enhance connectivity by adding new routes.

  1. We will ensure train service to Tallinn is more frequent and a train service to Riga is set up.
  2. We will start negotiations with the Estonian government to offer more frequent train service to Jõgeva, Elva, Valga and Põlva.
  3. We will demand that Tallinn-Tartu highway is quickly widened to four lanes.
  4. We will ensure Tartu is nominated as a regional airport which allows routes to main centres to be subsidised.
  5. We will create a solution that allows travellers to buy a bus or train ticket from Tallinn to Tartu when booking a flight.
  6. We will arrange a city terminal in the proximity of the train station which provides connectivity to the intercity and regional bus services.
  7. We will introduce direct line between city centre and train station.
  8. We will work together with the government to complete the northern roundabout and Tiksoja development.
  9. We will actively apply for EU funding to improve our transport links and infrastructure.                                                 

III City of Universities

Universities and the university hospital are the biggest employers in Tartu. Our economic success is driven by the cooperation between the universities, city council and local businesses. Students are an integral part of the city and to maintain Tartu’s competitiveness, the needs of students and lecturers must be taken into consideration when developing public spaces. We want Tartu to demonstrate openness to and tolerance of various cultures, akin to an academic city. We will work together with university communities when transforming life in Tartu.

  1. We will provide housing benefits to students who register Tartu as their place of residence.
  2. We will utilise knowledge created in Tartu and by local scientists to innovate public services. We will cooperate with the universities to create more internship opportunities.
  3. We will create more opportunities to utilise the potential of local students, scientists and universities, which, in turn, will encourage science-driven enterprise.
  4. We will transform the city centre into a suitable working environment for the IT sector and creative industries in cooperation with the Tartu University Delta Centre and local businesses.
  5. We will support the development of the Maarjamõisa university quarter into a science-based economy.
  6. We will create a professional support system for new IT companies based on the universities’ experience. We will provide support services to student firms as part of the city’s business development programme.
  7. We will extend the city’s conference bursaries to smaller international events.
  8. We will encourage cooperation between universities and schools in Tartu to organise teaching internships and enhanced subject coverage for secondary schools.
  9. In cooperation with universities, we will establish Welcome-centre (“Tere keskus”) for international students and other foreigners who have recently arrived in Tartu and Estonian families returning from abroad to help with language studies and matters of day-to-day life.
  10. We will start a programme to engage family members of specialists relocating to Tartu for employment.

IV Tartu – Leader of digital developments

Tartu’s economy needs to provide well-paid jobs that require high qualifications.  The support system for starting and developing a business needs to be strong and financial support for new businesses needs to be provided in a stable manner. We are keen to work with new and innovative ideas and want to use Tartu as a smart city platform to trial innovative public services and technologies.

  1. We encourage registration of businesses started by the members of the e-Residency programme in Tartu and will engage with them by providing necessary information and services.
  2. We will create a talent programme which will introduce our living environment and opportunities to the entrepreneurial digital nomads around the world.
  3. We support the development of mobile and remote working environments.
  4. We will work together with the universities to include business development studies in their curriculum and introduce Estonian business environment to international students.
  5. We will invite large employers to Tartu and South Estonia, favouring the leading technology companies.
  6. We want Tartu to actively participate in the development and testing of self-driving vehicles.

V More opportunities for youth

Young people need to be exposed to activities that support their personal development and growth, widen their horizons and help to spend free time productively. In addition to lowering the voting age, we also need to consider how to engage young people to maximise the development of the city. Active participation of young people in the city life will support their aspiration to benefit into the day-to-day functioning of their home town and to settle here permanently.

  1. We will give every child and young person 200 EUR to support their participation in sports and recreational activities.
  2. We will introduce a participatory budget for young people.
  3. We will support the organisation of summer city camps in order to make them affordable to families.
  4. We will introduce extreme sport facilities across all city districts.
  5. We will enhance opportunities for young people to engage with technology and engineering.
  6. We will create opportunities for our young people to study languages and learn more about other cultures that does not belong to the core school curriculum.
  7. We will organise youth competitions to finds ideas for improving our school environment.
  8. We will support the activities of the Karlova Choir School and the aspiration to extend the training offering to the entire city.
  9. We will work with young people to improve digital skills of our parents and grandparents.
  10. We will allow youth councils to nominate members with voting rights to the city council committees.

VI Modernise kindergartens

Tartu no longer lacks kindergarten places. Our new challenges include improving the facilities and study programmes, ensuring a competitive pay for the teachers and making the childcare service more flexible to meet the varying needs of families.

  1. We will improve classroom and playground facilities at kindergartens.
  2. We will ensure support specialists are available in kindergartens and will also be working together with Tartu University to involve students as part of their internship programmes.
  3. We will create special groups in kindergartens to facilitate early drop-off and late pick-up requirements and make the opening hours more flexible.
  4. We will encourage community-centric strategies for kindergartens.
  5. We will ensure foreign languages are taught in kindergartens.
  6. We will support the establishment and functioning of English-speaking kindergartens.
  7. We will establish safe crossing facilities and pedestrian and cycling routes at all kindergartens and schools in Tartu.
  8. Our goal is equal pay for kindergarten and school teachers.
  9. We will continue to sign collective agreements with educational personnel. 

VII Tartu at the forefront of educational innovation

Status as the education capital of Estonia requires Tartu to be a place where material and innovative changes to the educational system are made. We want to include students, teachers, parents, headteachers, experts and politicians in the development of our educational policy. Every school in Tartu is also a community school that grows and develops together with other schools and the communities. Students need to feel physically and mentally safe at school and schools need to ensure education they provide challenges children – schools are springboards for happy people and good citizens, future talents and new ideas. We will ensure schools in Tartu become the leading facilitators of educational innovation.

  1. We support implementation of safe learning environment and principles of participatory education, modern learning and teaching in all schools in Tartu.
  2. We will continue to renovate basic schools; all basic schools will be renovated in 11 years.
  3. We will cooperate with the government, citizens’ groups and universities to develop a methodology to support most able students and apply this to all kindergartens and schools.
  4. We will develop an educational model that integrates specialists and opportunities from universities and other scientific institutions into our schools.
  5. We will establish a school environment that encourages physical activity of children and young people: we will renovate school grounds and gardens and support the idea of active breaks in schools.
  6. We will ensure trustworthy and sufficient pedagogical therapy and psychotherapy would be available in all schools in Tartu.
  7. We will ensure sufficient support is available throughout basic and secondary school for children with special educational needs.
  8. We will improve quality of the learning environment for children with special needs, also providing new facilities for the Kroonuaia and Herbert Masing schools.
  9. We ensure competitive pay for teachers of hobby courses.
  10. We will invest in the professional development for teachers to deliver a well-functioning participatory education system.
  11. We support the roll-out of the IB Diploma programme across all study levels, we will also find a solution for the lack of space.
  12. We will work together with the government and citizens’ groups to create a system that helps families arriving in and returning to Estonia with integration in the educational system.
  13. We will start a system of boarding houses for secondary school students.
  14. We will extend the community school programme to all basic schools in Tartu.
  15. We will ensure all schools start teaching foreign languages from the first grade.
  16. We will remove second shift from schools in Tartu.
  17. We will value vocational education that provides companies in our region with skilled workforce.
  18. We will give schools the opportunity to choose the time they start teaching in the morning.
  19. We will offer reasonably priced breakfast at all schools.
  20. School meals must be free.

VIII Every person is part of the community

Social work must focus more on prevention and treat everyone in need with respect. Social services must help people to get over crises or to live on benefits with dignity should the issues be long-term. Social services benefit from working with citizens’ groups. Social work must not be project based nor can we accept undercutting in service tenders. High-quality social services are a measure for the city’s proper standard of living.

  1. We will pilot a day centre project in Tartu that will combine child care services with activities for young and elderly.
  2. We will increase the availability of social housing across different target groups. We will commence thought-through cooperation with the property developers.
  3. We will provide inexpensive housing for specialists that Tartu needs with help from the Estonian government.
  4. We will trial development of community buildings in collaboration with young families.
  5. We will improve mechanisms used for raising awareness about domestic violence. We will develop a methodical service with sustained funding to support the victims of domestic violence.
  6. We support teaching parents new skills which will help them to support the development of their children better.
  7. We will work with businesses in Tartu to consolidate recruitment notices and adjust these to different target groups. We will provide career counselling and other support services for people looking for employment.
  8. We support and create more activities for individuals retiring from the employment market.
  9. We will develop care services for elderly that serve as an alternative to the care homes: day care, provisioned care, open care and other forms of supported living services, group homes.
  10. We support the development of a new and modern care home in Tartu which would allow support needing elderly to live near their families.
  11. We will adjust our public spaces and transport links to enable all people to move independently regardless of their health condition. We will arrange additional support where required in the form of social transport.
  12. We will introduce wheelchair accessible taxis.
  13. We will increase the availability of home and personal care for people with special needs.
  14. We will create a support system for those who are living below an adequate standard of living but cannot access social services such as money management, labour market training, stress management and so forth. We will review services people need when benefits are no longer available.
  15. We support the development of a multifunctional health and general practice centre in Maarjamõisa, Annelinn and city centre.
  16. We will improve pay and working conditions for social and children’s service workers.
  17. We will develop a network of professional support workers across different social services which the city can continue to uphold should the financial contributions from the EU be lowered.
  18. We will reduce the burden on carers, providing them with support services that allow time for We back the support person scheme for people with significant care commitments.
  19. Following from the youth council, we will create a chamber for the elderly as part of the city government to make their voices heard.
  20. We will pilot a family-friendly workplace project in cooperation with socially responsible businesses which will allow grandmothers and grandfathers take a week’s paid grandparent leave.

IX The „human scale“ city

The main task of city development is to create public spaces that prioritise human scale and attractiveness.  We will preserve the unique academic and creative atmosphere in Tartu. We will maintain Tartu’s compact and vibrant city centre and ensure that core services and leisure activities are available to all in the proximity of their home. We will consider pedestrians and cyclists, including children, elderly and people with special needs. We well create more space on our streets for pedestrians and cyclists by reducing the number of cars.

  1. We will transform our street space by separating pedestrians and cyclists which will allow them to operate separately and in a logical manner and ensures their movements are detected naturally. We will create as many separate cycle lanes as possible across the city.
  2. We will continue to organise high level architecture and planning competitions, and will include architects and landscape architects in our infrastructure projects.
  3. We will open large-scale infrastructure projects and tenders to the public in a similar way to the planning procedures process.
  4. We will demand more ground floor space for public and business activities from developers and preservation of historical footpaths and pavements for the pedestrians.
  5. We will transform Riia-Turu junction into a pedestrian-friendly space. We will trial banning cars from Vabaduse avenue during summer, weekends and big events.
  6. We will transform Vanemuise street into a street that puts pedestrians and cyclists first: we will boost connectivity between Maarjamõisa and city centre through the development of an underground tunnel and the Riia-Vaksali viaduct.
  7. We will develop a road bridge at Marja-Ujula and start planning a road bridge for Rebase street.
  8. We will transform public spaces to enjoyable places that encourage people to relax and socialise.
  9. We will reduce the risk of floods: we will quickly build a drainage network, take torrential rainfall into consideration when planning infrastructure and buildings and look for environmentally friendly solutions to make the city flood proof.
  10. We will continue to open up the river shores and integrate it into the public space: uninterrupted river paths, promenades, places for sunbathing, pedestrian access points, beaches, recreational spaces and fishing spots.
  11. We will improve the infrastructure of our beaches. Every beach will have restrooms, showers and pet friendly areas. We will create favourable conditions for food and beverage facilities.
  12. We encourage active use of the river: we will continue work with Lodjakoda, support travelling by the river and increase the number of services and service providers.
  13. We will modernise Tartu open market into an attractive trading space with multitude of trading opportunities.

X Green city

Every person who leaves their car at home and uses public transport, cycles or walks does a favour to the environment. Every business, institution or new development that is planned and managed in energy-efficient manner invests into the future. We will ensure such choices are easy to make in Tartu. Busy and vibrant city centre with many services leads to a greener city: car travel to the outskirts by car is reduced and the number of people spending time in the city centre as pedestrians grows. Development of pavements and cycle lanes is integral to transform Tartu into a green city.

  1. We will create a large multifunctional park between Anne canal and river Emajõgi.
  1. We will maintain a coherent green infrastructure in the built-up city centre.
  2. We will create new biologically diverse green areas and parks when re-developing historical public spaces.
  3. We will maintain the city’s green balance: we will plant one new tree to replace every tree which has been cut down.
  4. We will revitalise under-utilised parks: we will organise competitions to develop new and exciting recreational facilities.
  5. We support the development of urban gardening in every district.
  6. We will conduct trials for green space solutions that require less maintenance and enhance urban greenery.
  1. We will apply energy-efficient solutions when creating or renovating public infrastructure, for example when creating street lights. New buildings will be developed as zero-energy buildings. We will give preference to green solutions, including green energy when ordering services.
  2. We will work together with companies that produce renewable energy. We will use heat and renewable energy for street lights, central heating and cooling.
  3. We will create a city that is resilient in a time of crisis: as an example, we will aim to ensure that vital public services (hospital, communications) can maintain adequate energy supplies by switching from the comprehensive electricity network to the local distribution networks where required.
  4. We will trial self-driving cars and their ordering process to reduce the number of street parking spaces required in the future.
  5. We will promote the uptake of electric cars and enhance the availability of the electric vehicle charging stations.
  6. Shore paths of the river Emajõgi form a green corridor that unites the city. We will ensure the sustainability and accessibility of the shore paths.
  7. We will restore the Jänese trekking route.
  8. We will enable the river to connect districts – we will create necessary conditions for the commencement of the river taxi service.
  9. New bridges will be planned to incorporate areas where people can rest and relax.
  10. We will make it mandatory to enrol animals that have been fitted with a microchip to a registry – this will rectify situations where animals have been fitted a microchip but the owners cannot be identified.

XI A city for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport

We need to transform Tartu’s public transport system to limit the effects of traffic congestion. Walking, cycling and using public transport are the most natural and sustainable modes of transport in a city like Tartu.

  1. In addition to cars and pedestrians, we will create separate lanes for cyclists across the city. We will develop a strategic plan for the next 20-30 years that will accommodate different ways of travel and can be used as a building block when transforming our streets and public spaces.
  2. We will ensure every investment made into street design and infrastructure aligns with the new travel and mobility principles.
  3. We will build bike hangars and cycle lockers near junctions and schools and support the development of cycle parking facilities in larger residential areas.
  4. We will raise the road maintenance standards to allow walking and cycling in the winter.
  5. We believe we need to offer convenient, fast, logical and well-connected public transport to motivate people to change cars for mass transit – we will follow this principle when transforming public transport.
  6. We see cycling as public transport mode, we will develop the necessary infrastructure and give free public bike hire scheme credit to every person registering as a resident of Tartu.
  7. We will create fast connectivity for the Annelinn-Kesklinn-Maarjamõisa-Lionesses route. We will use external funding to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of new public transport modes (including trams).
  8. We will ensure our bus drivers enjoy humane working conditions and there are restroom facilities at the end of each line.

XII Culture holds us together

Strong cultural traditions hold our society together. Cultural society is diverse and tolerant. We support both high culture and amateur culture. Our emphasis is on new arts and cultural initiatives that encourage cultural entrepreneurship.

  1. We will join the art museum and public library in a city centre development that will be surrounded by a vibrant public park reflecting the culture of the centre.
  2. We will make Tartu European Capital of Culture in 2024, focussing on the promotion of existing cultural achievements rather than new one-off events.
  3. We will put the financing process for cultural projects and Tartu Cultural Capital in order, we will differentiate between one-off projects and prolific events and activities.
  4. We will continue to provide wide-ranging art education at Tartu Art School for Children and will provide the school with a second building at Tiigi street.
  5. We support creative quarters born out of collaboration between private and public sector.
  6. We will find a home for the art cinema Elektriteater (Electric Theatre).
  7. We will create more facilities for choirs, dance groups and other groups engaging in folk culture. Tartu needs a community centre.
  8. A single marketing strategy will encompass all cultural institutions.
  9. We will assist with cultural activities of national minorities and Tartu International House.
  10. We will continue our support for Tartu’s strong theatre culture. We will increase the number of rehearsal rooms and performance opportunities for amateur theatres and support drama activities at schools.
  11. We help district associations to organise festivals highlighting their individual cultural characteristics and to develop into cultural centres for the community.

XIII Sporty and lively Tartu

Learning good exercise habits early is extremely important. Everyone has the right and deserves an opportunity take up exercise regardless of age and health. We will continue our support for sports events in Tartu.

  1. We will provide schools with equipment to maintain good quality sports groups.
  2. We will renovate sports facilities at schools and review their public use.
  3. We will build a new sports facility at Variku school.
  4. We will ensure there is a playground within a walking distance across the city and every district has outdoor activity options for the entire family.
  5. We support the development of an indoor extreme sport facility and parkour playground.
  6. We will tidy up Tartu-Kärevere river path and connect it to the Ilmatsalu fishing place. We will redevelop Tartu’s exciting hiking trail.
  7. We support disabled sports. We will improve and facilitate disabled access to sports clubs and events.
  8. We will build an indoor football stadium that can be used all year round.
  9. We will continue to work together with the private sector when creating sports facilities.
  10. We support the private initiative to create a modern family centre in Tartu.