The Zagreb Architects Society (DAZ) has responded to the design project of the public park in Savica and the current media reports about the announced spatial planning of the area from the Branimir market and the Victims of Fascism Square to the Stock Exchange Square, reports forum.tm.
Zagreb architects warn that in both cases public hearings and public competitions weren’t held, to the disadvantage of the citizens and the quality of public space.
We bring you the response of DAZ in its entirety:
Public spaces should not be changed nor designed without conducting public hearings and public architecture, urbanistic and landscape competitions. Also, it is mandatory to inform the citizens and have them participate as well. Everything else is considered undemocratic and has long-term adverse consequences, which we, as a responsible and competent society, deem unacceptable.
Two recent examples where these procedures were disregarded to the detriment of the citizens and public space quality of the city are: design project of the public park in Savica and the announced spatial planning of the area from the Branimir market and the Victims of Fascism Square to the Stock Exchange Square.
In the case of the Savica park, the town made a step in the right direction when it abandoned the construction of the church, avoiding the unnecessary conflict between church and public (park) area. However, the city made a few steps backwards when it came to citizen participation, desirable approach to planning and the implementation of the public architectural design competition.If we take into account the strength of the community in Savica and its connection with the park as currently the strongest symbol of citizen participation and public interest in the city of Zagreb, the lack of information about the planned design of the park and citizen’s non-inclusion in designing its future content is an unnecessary and unacceptable oversight. Failure to hold public architectural and urban competitions is also unacceptable.
At the same time, Savica serves as an example where the city opted for the optimal procedure. Based on the citizens’ proposal and petition, in June 2016, there was an architectural-urbanistic competition for designing the part of the Ljerka Šram Street into a central public square – ‘neighbourhood square’. Although it is possible to further modify the park space in Savica and improve its quality, the Zagreb Architects Society believes that the implementation of the awarded project of a square by the market would prove to be a more useful investment in the public space of this neighbourhood, as well as an affirmation of applying the proper procedures.
In the case of the recently announced spatial planning of the area from the Branimir market and the Victims of Fascism Square to the Stock Exchange Square, we believe that this is another issue of disregarding public architectural and urbanistic competitions to the detriment of space quality and citizens’ interests. We support the initiative of individuals and the city to design the space around the Branimir Market, providing it a high-quality content and giving it identity, and we welcome the idea to improve the aforementioned space with an emphasis on the high-quality pedestrian and cycling experience. However, having in mind the importance of the space and its historical heritage, individual initiatives should remain just that – initiatives, while the implementation of a public architectural and urbanistic competition is absolutely essential to obtain the best possible solution.
We believe that by holding public competitions and having both citizens and local government involved, we can work towards and reach the right solution. Everything else is just improvisations with adverse consequences in the long run.
Translated from forum.tm