”Tourism and Urbanism” Conference Held in Makarska

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Slavica Vukovic/VL writes on the 4th of June, 2019, the “Tourism and Urbanism” conference organised by Večernji list, Poslovni dnevnik and the Tourist Board of Makarska proved to be a hit.

The proof of this can easily be found in the fact that the conference halls are full of those interested in hearing about investment, including Predrag Štromar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction and Physical Planning, and Ante Vrban, one of the best European architects.

A panel discussion “The Problems of Apartmentisation – Makarska today and tomorrow”, is also being held, where numerous speakers from the world of hospitality and beyond will speak alongside Ante Vrban.

In the example of Makarska, the need for sustainable and planned development of the Croatian coast was discussed, as well smart capacity building and the activation of the local population in the design and construction of the area in which they live. In addition, the problems that come with overbuilding, apartmentisation, concreteisation and a lack of adequate infrastructure were discussed. These are issues that not only Makarska but the majority of the Croatian coast is faced with.

“The conference was organised in an attempt to stop building predators who come and take over spaces for their own profit without taking the public good into account at all. This isn’t just a problem faced by Makarska, we read what is happening in Mandrača on Korčula, on Brač, it’s a problem faced by the entire Croatian Adriatic,” said Hloverka Novak Srzić, the director of the Makarska Tourist Board.

Jure Brkan, the Mayor of Makarska, touched on the unavoidable fact that Makarska, much like all other Dalmatian towns and cities, lives on tourism, and what happened in urban planning began a long time ago, when the resorts were built and the number of beds increased.

”We want to increase the quality of the hotel facilities, but we’re not going to make such a step with our 4 and 5 star hotels. What happened is that we started to rent out residential buildings and that’s why we have an urban boom,” added Mayor Brkan.

Minister Stromar confirmed that urbanisation is increasing and that the infrastructure capacities just aren’t good enough to match it or keep up with it.

Štromar stated that it was important to find out in which direction Makarska is heading, and he also lectured on the topic of “Results and Reforms to a more Competitive Croatia”. His ministry has built 8,200 POS apartments, subsidised housing loans, thanks to which 13,500 young families managed to properly resolve their numerous housing issues, and in the last year, it has successfully withdrawn 60 percent more than was initially planned for from European Union funds for energy renewal, and now 1,300 hospitals, schools and kindergartens are undergoing energy renewal.

Speaking about construction reforms, he highlighted digitisation, which would result in the faster and simpler issuance of building permits and reduce the space left for corruption among other things.

“This is just the beginning of creating a more competitive society, we’ll continue with it in all governmental areas,” added Štromar.

Ante Vrban, who has 300 projects around the world under his belt, said that it isn’t too late for Makarska, although there are many things that definitely need to be better than they currently are.

”I haven’t been to Makarska for 15 years,, and as soon as I arrived I drove a bit around the city to see what has happened in the meantime. There are some nice examples, but also things that aren’t good. I understand investors, and I work for them, they want their investments to pay off. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t important to build a large building, you can make money from beautiful, smaller, better quality facilities that fit nicely into the environment,” Vrban stated.

The panel discussion, moderated by Maja Mikulandra from Poslovni Dnevnik, began with a presentation by Željko Uhlir, who frequently talked about the conversion of regular apartments into rental apartments being a big issue, putting enormous pressure on the infrastructure and quality of a destination, but also on the life of local people.

”The Department of Physical Planning knows how to make a space with better quality and be more attractive. Quality spatial plans, urban planning and area rehabilitation will help to get better clientele and increase earnings. Good urbanism can create rehabilitation and the regeneration of spaces,” Uhlir said.

The aim of the conference was to place emphasis on the fact that Makarska can be a leading example to other Croatian destinations, up and down the coast, in terms of creating proper infrastructure, enriching the lives of the local population and understanding their concerns. The main point was to highlight the face that everyone must work together to create a better situation for all, that brownfield investments were the key, and that building in the name of tourism should naturally come with respect to the local environment, not to mention local people.

Space is a limited area, therefore quality in the area on offer should come before anything else. Croatia definitely has issues in all of the above respects, but if enough energy is placed into working together to overcome such problems in the future, Makarska and the entire Croatian coast, as well as its inhabitants, can all be better off while still living primarily from tourism.

The conference held in Makarska is just one of many such conferences which will be organised in other towns and cities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment