Under the Urban Partnership Program, a first workshop on the topic of participatory planning/placemaking was held on June 21-22, 2018 in Niš for Serbia’s three largest cities Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš. Participants, mainly urban planners, architects, local economic development officers, young professionals/academics and Civil Society Organizations, including representatives from the local government association of Serbia and the Ministry of Construction, Infrastructure and Transport, joined together to learn about the potentials of placemaking, tactical urbanism, and people centered/participatory urban planning tools and techniques. The workshop was designed and delivered in collaboration with Roland Krebs and Kerstin Pluch, urban planners/academics from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria and superwien.
The workshop introduced the methodology of placemaking as a useful planning technique for activating public and central open spaces. Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. It is a creative platform to engage different stakeholders into the planning processes, gather ideas and involve citizens and local businesses in the collective development of urban projects.
The Serbian cities of Novi Sad, Belgrade and Niš all have rivers that dominate the urban landscape of these central areas. However, the public spaces around these rivers are not properly articulated in the urban fabric and have a huge potential that can be activated by the municipalities through a collaborative planning approach. The cities expressed great interest in developing the rivers and making more use of these public spaces, especially for walking, cycling, recreational activities and, in general, spending more free time in different spaces around river fronts.
On the first day of the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to hear about the planning process - the background, history, future, techniques, and to go through a casestudy of the city of Niš as a basis for the walk-on sessions that followed. During the working sessions, the participants were ready to put into action the principles of the Placemaking methodology and with the Walkshop mapping they identified the potentials and problems of the Nišava riverfront. During the second part of the day participants learned more about Urban Design lab and its tool-box, as well as different success stories from Vienna, Skopje, and cities from Latin America. In continuation of the case study, the participants developed a comprehensive SWOT analysis and engaged in Emotional mapping. An extensive list of opportunities and potential areas of development was created, as well as a very thorough Social cartography illustration of perception, with a detailed map of possible intervention areas.
During day two of the workshop, participants were introduced to several more interesting case studies and had the opportunity to continue with applying additional techniques to their case study. The integral scenario working session focused on using all the data gathered during day one and putting it into a vision for the Nišava riverfront. Lastly, the Role play session produced possible insights in potential stakeholders’ perspectives on different activation scenarios. It was very helpful and interesting to see how different stakeholders like students, retirees, small and large business owners, women and local architects may react to different outcomes and ideas for the riverfront space activation.
The workshop in Niš generated great interest and a demand for follow-ups from all three cities. The most useful and easily applicable parts for the participants were collective brainstorming and dialogue between different cities, idea and suggestion sharing among participants and innovative approaches. Concrete ideas were created during workshop such as development of an urban plan for removing the car market from the city center, solutions for urban mobility, and a more inclusive approach to urban planning. This is why UPP plans to continue with follow up workshops in Novi Sad and Belgrade that will not only focus on other cities and create further exchange, but will also bring into action additional placemaking concepts and techniques and participatory planning methods, and be more practical in form and focus on river activation and design, as well as implementation.
Agenda Placemaking Workshop Nis, June 2018.doc
Urban Design Lab Handbook.pdf
WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop_Nis_Summary Report.pdf
WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop_Nisava workshop SymbioCity Living Nis.pdf
WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop_Nis_Presentation_Nisava workshop.pdf