The central city area of Kragujevac in central Serbia is one important regional centre in aspects of administration, trade, education, services and culture. The high concentration of business, public administration and other institutions in the central city area have led to an increase in car traffic, overburdening the traffic infrastructure of the city centre.
Facing a trend of urban degeneration, the Municipality of Kragujevac and AMBERO/ICON initiated a pilot project during the years of 2011 to 2012, in order to elaborate an Integrated Urban Development Strategy (IUDS) to guide the future development of the inner-city area. The main goal of conducting an IUDS for the city’s centre is to identify and strengthen local potentials for urban rehabilitation, increase the attractiveness of the city centre for living, cultural activities and business and hence also to contribute to the further economic development of the city as a whole. Therefore, the IUDS should give answers to topics, such as the supply of building land, the upgrading of existing communal and social infrastructure, the change of use and transformation and renewal of underutilized or neglected areas.
Stakeholder involvement and citizens’ participation
The whole process of the elaboration of the IUDS was accompanied by informing and actively involving local stakeholders and citizens. The encouraged large-scale participation and high grade of transparency of the process shall create the basis for a better ownership and acceptance of the future development of the city centre. The new participation methods tested during the process in Kragujevac were the conduction of a citizen’s survey in the beginning, an internet questionnaire, a workshop for the presentation and discussion of the results of a previous SWOT (strength’, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, as well as a World café and visioning workshop.
Integrated Urban Development Strategy: Early involvement of local stakeholders
Steps of the IUDS
The baseline of the process of formulation of a strategy for the future development of the inner-city of Kragujevac was built by the careful analysis of the current situation, as well as future development trends in the fields of demographic development, urban structures and cityscape, traffic and environment, economy and tourism, education, health and social care as well as culture and leisure. In order to complement the existing data and knowledge of the city administration on those topics, as well as to gather additional ideas, suggestions and guidelines for a future development, citizens’ participation was introduced at the early beginning by the realization of a citizen’s survey and internet questionnaire on the official web page of the Municipality.
In a first workshop with some important local stakeholders, the preliminary results of the SWOT analysis were presented and working groups on different topics (urban structures, tourism, traffic, environment, etc.) were formed. Those working group engaged in discussions in order to verify the SWOT analysis and give first ideas on priority intervention zones in the city centre.
Integrated Urban Development Strategy: Urban structure, housing and public spaces in Kragujevac
In a next step, a World Café and Visioning-Workshop joined representatives of the local administration, public enterprises, different institutions, as well as citizens including school children. After the presentation of the previous analysis and first ideas for the definition of future strategic goals, areas of intervention and a catalogue of measures for different projects, those were openly discussed by the participants. The results of the workshop were incorporated into the elaboration of the strategy. As a part of the workshop, the participants formulated a conjoint vision and slogan for the future development of the city of Kragujevac up to the year 2030. For this purpose, apart from the previous discussions on strategic development goals, adults were inspired by children’s drawings, showing their vision of the city’s future.
IUDS adopted by the city assembly
The result of the process of strategy elaboration is a spatial model with agreed priority areas for intervention, sector-specific strategies and an agreed catalogue of measures for the following sectors:
• urban structures and cityscape,
• traffic and environment,
• economy and tourism,
• education and social care,
• leisure and recreation
Furthermore, the elaborated document analyses different organizational and financial options for their realization.
The strategy has been adopted by the city assembly in September of 2012.
Implementation of the IUDS
After the adoption of the IUDS, the city of Kragujevac and AMBERO/ICON decided to continue their successful cooperation starting with the implementation of the formulated strategy for one of the defined priority areas for intervention. This area is a former factory complex of the military industry, called “Military-Technical Institute (Arsenal)”. The former industrial site dominates the southern part of the central city area with large production halls and industrial facilities. Due to its architecture, today the site is protected as cultural and historical heritage. In a new pilot project, an urban design concept for the envisaged future revitalization of the site has been elaborated.