During recent years, the city of Užice has been mainly growing in its periphery. In order to reverse this trend and improve the attractiveness of the inner-city area, the Municipality of Užice has decided to put special attention on its future development. In this context, one of the two pilot projects implemented by the Municipality of Užice and AMBERO/ICON in the years of 2011 to 2012 focused on the elaboration of an Integrated Urban Development Strategy (IUDS), as a new instrument for sustainable planning in Užice.
The main idea of the development of this strategy is the consideration and analysis of different aspects, relevant for the sustainability of the future development of an urban area. Furthermore it integrates views and opinions of different actors about the envisaged future of the city. The IUDS for the city of Užice has been elaborated within a process, encouraging communication by allowing different actors to express and discuss their ideas, worries and opinions on future development alternatives and ensuring a high grade of transparency. In this context, the pilot project introduced a series of new methods for citizens’ participation and stakeholder involvement.
Introduction of new participation methods
The new participation methods tested during the process in Užice were the conduction of a citizen’s survey in the beginning, a design workshop, World café, visioning and a final presentation of the elaborated strategy.
Exhibition of posters for the discussion of strategic goals and project proposals
The citizen’s survey, realized in the beginning of the process, served as a baseline study about the satisfaction of citizens with different aspects of their urban life quality and showed the need for action in the respective areas. The design workshop was organized in order to give local stakeholders an opportunity to introduce their suggestions and ideas for the improvement of the urban space and the quality of public services into the process. It was attended by more than 20 representatives of the local administration, public enterprises (in the areas of tourism, urban planning, culture, traffic, etc.), NGOs and citizens associations. As the next step of a broader public participation within the process of the elaboration of the development strategy, the World Café-Workshop joined more than 100 representatives of the local administration, public enterprises, different institutions, as well as citizens including school children.
Working group meeting for the elaboration of the IUDS in Užice
Discussing the future of the city
Using different thematic points for the exhibition of posters, elaborated strategic goals and project proposals up to that date were verified through discussions and written comments. Also, participants had the chance to propose new ideas for the different project proposals. 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 Užice’s future development 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. Finishing the process of elaboration of the Integrated Urban Development Strategy for the Inner City of Užice, a final conference was organized. At this event, the different steps and elaborated materials during the process, as well as an introduction to the outline of the process and its results were presented to the public. The presentation was covered by local media – TV and radio.
A common vision to guide future development
The final product of the process pictures a common vision of a lot of different local actors for the future development of the inner-city area of Užice. Five overall measures have been defined to guide the future development of the city through the implementation of specific individual measures:
1. The valorisation of the architectonical and urban heritage of the area through reconstruction of buildings and revitalization of vacant sites.
2. The improvement of social and educational infrastructure of the area.
3. The revitalisation and improvement of public spaces and technical infrastructure.
4. The improvement of general conditions of the location for the further development of the local economy.
5. The strengthening of networks, synergies and cooperation between local actors and enterprises.
Priority intervention areas of the Integrated Urban Development Strategy for Užice
Furthermore, the elaborated document defines a spatial model, sector-specific strategies and measures (for construction area, built structures and morphology, public spaces, economy and tourism, social infrastructure, transportation and technical infrastructure, and housing), as well as integrated over-all measures for the implementation of the future development concept and analyses different organizational and financial options for their realisation.
The strategy has been adopted by the city assembly in March 2013.