SWOT. analysis. weaknesses. strengths. opportunities. threats

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1 S W weaknesses strengths O opportunities T threats SWOT analysis The SWOT analysis method, evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the city, the opportunities for development and threats to this was first used in 1994 when initiating work on the strategic plan. In 1998 the results of this initial SWOT analysis were reassessed, updated and, after the evaluation of suggestions made by politicians and experts, approved in April 1999 by the regional co-ordination group for the development program for Prague. The threats outlined in the SWOT analysis represent the most evident risks facing Prague currently and those of the near future, too. In fact, they embody the negative variations and sides of possible future progress and are, indeed, warning signs. 12

2 Prague integration into the European structure Strengths Prague s position at the heart of Europe, the rapid renewal of its former prestige and its continuing attraction Prague s traditional standing as the hub of the Czech nation, head of political authority, culture and academia Rise in the quality of transport networks on a continental and global scale Weaknesses Poor level of external communication structures and weak city marketing strategy Incoherent central policy and lack of initiative to encourage international participation and relocation of world, European and national institutions into the city Opportunities Continued consolidation of Prague s standing on the European market as a perspective, dynamic and long-term stable and innovative city Opening of dialogue with other major European cities Use of Prague s location in Europe supported by appropriate investment into the service infrastructure and other means necessary to attract important national and international institutions Use of Prague s exceptionally rich history as an opportunity to take part in the integration process within the areas of cultural heritage, conservation, cultural co-operation and tourism Threats Rapid narrowing of scope for taking full advantage of the current interest in Prague due to lack of action, shortcomings in the quality of services offered and shortsighted marketing strategies from both the central and local authorities An approach that lacks concept and which does not allow the city to be fully represented and which will succumb to the pressures of change and force Prague to become just another ordinary city within a unified Europe and thus result in a loss of prestige Lack of investment in the further improvement of connection into the highlighted transport infrastructure and local transport and technical infrastructure Fall in the importance of Prague as a business and cultural centre in Europe as a direct result of the delayed integration into Europe and dysfunctional infrastructure The economy and human resources Strengths Open business environment, great investor confidence in the investment stability of Prague, well-developed private sector and a favourable support system for the tourism industry Stable and diverse labour market and above-average quality of the workforce Great potential for science and education Relatively good accessibility for the majority of the regional hinterland and sufficient space both within and around the city for securing its development Weaknesses Unfinished restructuring of the economic base, growing financial problems even for large firms, and continuing low economic effectiveness and competitiveness Unco-ordinated and unclear relationships between city authorities and the business sector (potential investors) Insufficient support of medium and small businesses Little use of the scientific and research resources that Prague has for innovation purposes Absence of mid- or long-term budget planning and strategic policy on credit, lack of review of city expenditure and its effective use Not enough correlation or continuance between general and further education Limited choice and variety of requalification and resocializing programs Opportunities Creation of a stable political and socio-economic climate to ensure the ongoing attraction of Prague as a business city to both foreign and Czech firms alike Creation of conditions for an effective, competitive and motivating labour market Utilization of the well-qu alified and flexible workforce and its continuing comparative advantage in terms of salaries and expenditure Utilization of European know-how in creating an implementation strategy for development of the city s economy Threats Worsening macro-economic conditions across the whole country which have an effect upon investors who lose faith in the wisdom of relocating to Prague Slowdown in restructuring and hence a worsening of the parameters and levels of business efficiency, which affects competitiveness on markets both here and abroad Further underestimation of the sustainability of development and overestimation of shortterm factors and positive effects Low activity in the fields of academia, science and the 13

3 consumer sphere and the loss of the capital s innovative role in national life The frequently uncontrolled and devastating course of restructuring which, apart from anything else, does not give sufficient room for effective use of resources Quality of life Strengths Continuation of spiritual and material development and renewal of the spiritual atmosphere attributed to a city that is open to impulses from diverse cultures and persuasions Living standards above Czech norms, relatively high social stability and strong middle-class make-up of society with the highest concentration of high school and university graduates in the whole of the republic Balanced social structure Weaknesses Worsening demographic structure and ageing Prague population coupled with the growth of problematic social groups High proportion of housing estates that offer nothing more than accommodation that were built to low technical standards and offering very few job opportunities Slow rate of housing completion which has been continuing over a longer period of time Growth of crime rates, including organized crime and unlawful acts in general (e.g., drugs and prostitution related) Slow integration of the physically handicapped into society at large and slow removal of the tangible barriers that restrict their right to freedom of movement Lack of integration of those groups likely to be socially excluded from society Low participation of the public in decision-making and lack of identification with the local community and Prague as a whole Low levels of civic awareness and feelings of responsibility Opportunities Re-evaluation of Prague s multicultural traditions and utilization of its cultural importance to improve economic performance Creation of stable round-theyear interest in Prague as a tourist attraction by supporting profitable tourism and offering an attractive program of events (even in the off season) Conservation of the overall character of the city by keeping the aesthetic and cultural in mind while bringing development projects into fruition Preservation of the mixed social make-up of the majority of residential areas in the city Threats Continuing demographic trends (ageing populace, falling birth rates) bringing negative side effects to both economic and social areas Social collapse of Prague housing estates over a relatively short period of time, if such estates are not provided with new facilities, especially job opportunities, if nothing is done to help residents identify more with such estates, and if the technical state of their homes is not improved Low level of civic responsibility toward maintenance of property and the environment in general, especially in terms of the quality and safety of public places, buildings and green areas Growing xenophobia and expressions of racism among certain parts of the population and caused by the rising numbers of foreigners in the city Growth in the crime rate and increasing levels of drug addiction Further loss of public interest in public matters if there is no co-operation between local authorities and the public. This will have further negative implications for the political scene in general Quality of the environment Strengths Exceptionally rich history and culture Unique and well-known genius loci Rich potential of both the city and suburban landscape with the added advantage of the river Vltava Weaknesses General overburdening of the centre, particularly of the Prague Heritage Conservation Area Incomprehensive, and in some cases, lack of care of historical sites particularly of those outside the conservation area Heavy air pollution mainly in the central parts of the city caused by congestion and negative geomorphologic conditions Noise pollution from traffic and other sources Pollution of underground water sources in the city Unacceptable state of the majority of central and suburban green areas and a dysfunctional green system Vandalism and unsatisfactory level of cleanliness of the public byways and local neglect of building maintenance Opportunities Reduction in traffic intensity particularly in the city centre and in residential and ecologically sensitive areas Further reduction in air pollution caused by in- 14

4 dustrial emissions and heating systems Overall improvement in the care of the historical sites including appropriate legislation and control mechanisms Revitalization of urban and suburban green areas and strengthening of their functions in terms of eco-stabilization Renewal of the ecological and recreational potential of waterways and reservoirs in the city Renewal and regeneration of the housing estates as a whole Support of a polycentric structure and easing of the fully overburdened city centre Effective and environmentally friendly system of waste management (higher level of waste sorting and recycling etc.) Threats Further growth in the negative effects of car transport on the environment and on the inhabitants of the city should the current problems be allowed to go unresolved Devaluation of historical sites as a result of their unsuitable use and insensitive urban measures Loss of Prague s genius loci and increase in eyesores that destroy its panorama Inadequate flood protection, especially in the historical city centre Loss of green areas and non-built-up areas suitable for greening Disproportional pressure upon protected areas Unchecked urbanization of suburban areas and disturbance of the traditional settlement structure and appearance of the city due to the increase in the number of unsuitable building going up Lack of co-ordination between Prague and the Central Bohemia Region when forming land use policies General drying up of the Prague landscape as a result of insensitive and poorly planned urban policies Unecological waste disposal policy and contamination of soil and underground water sources Transport Strengths Well-functioning public transport system (especially the electric powered means of transport), which is popular and well used by the public Functioning integrated regional public transport system Weaknesses High demands on passenger transport as a result of an uneven distribution of individual functions (i.e., residential/work/social facilities) throughout Prague Low level permeation of city roads; lack of by-pass routes around Prague and the inner city which currently prevents any marked reduction in the volume of incoming traffic throughout the city Insufficient activity on the part of Czech Railways aimed at improving the quality of suburban transport services Opportunities To ensure a high level of interest among residents and visitors alike in Prague s public transport services by making more attractive and giving preference to public transport To create favourable conditions that protect the city from non-essential motor vehicles by completing the outer and inner ring road Threats Weakening of the position of public transport and further growth in private car use on the low capacity road network Worsening of the natural environment in areas of concentrated transport Paralysis of the majority of the city transport systems as the city becomes unable to secure an efficient public transport infrastructure based on a preference for public transport Technical infrastructure Strengths Widespread use of more ecological fuel and district heating systems, gradual overhaul and redevelopment of the energy network Sufficient mid-term capacity of technical service backup systems (apart from central water purification plants) Weaknesses Insufficient capacity of the central waste water treatment plant, insufficient waste water treatment and areas that remain unconnected to public sewerage Problematic location of the water source in Podolí and of the central wastewater treatment plant Outdated and dilapidated water management infrastructure, high levels of water lost through leakage in the network Above average public consumption of and demand for energy in Prague. Opportunities To improve water quality of the rivers Vltava and Elbe through the creation of a new central waste water treatment plant To reach optimum goals for usage and capacity by upgrading and modernizing the water and sewer systems in general, intensification and implementation of a new 3-tier purification system at selected water 15

5 stations and the running of a water management infrastructure by specialists To improve air quality by using district heating systems, changing over to modern heating methods and using high quality fuels To reduce energy consumption by insulating panel buildings and improving the technical state of old buildings To increase the capacity of the telecommunications infrastructure Threats Collapse of the city s basic functional systems due to the unreliability of its technical infrastructure Dependency of infrastructure systems on certain external factors that are not within the city s control City management and administration Strengths Prague is traditionally seen as an independent administrative unit Longterm continuity in the spatial development planning of the city Well-advanced system of university education and research centres in the areas of human sciences which creates a bank of well-qualified people upon which the city can draw The City of Prague Act which allows for comprehensive problem solving in the areas of city administration and development Weaknesses Unclear, complicated and hypertrophied system of public administration Insufficient co-operation and teamwork between Prague and its neighbouring region Continuing neglect and failure to appreciate Prague by the central government Unsuitable division of work and responsibilities between politicians and civil servants Poor use of information systems in the decision-making and implementation processes, further hampered by the lack of a universal set of communication and data norms Opportunities To utilize the existence of public administration central authorities in the city and of higher education and research foundations as a resource to bring together specialist teams to work on the issue of city development and on questions related to community politics and administration To monopolize on the changes being undertaken in the territorial administrative organization of the city to create a more transparent system and to offer a higher quality of service to both the public and private sectors To create a citywide information system which can be used as a uniform basis for data and information services for the city administration and public alike To make use of the statutory bodies of the Central Bohemia Region with the aim of improving the standard of co-operation and teamwork between the city and its neighbouring region when co-ordinating development policy and initiatives To make the most of Prague representation s conviction about the necessity to reform the city administration To make the most of Prague representation s interest in preparing a long-term city development strategy Threats Continuing rivalry between Prague central and local borough authorities with regards the scope and division of powers Lack of success in the effort to reform public administration as a public service Low level of co-operation between the city authorities, businesses and the public at large, which in turn encourages general passivity and low participation levels in decision-making processes 16

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