The former facilities of the ‘Petar Drapšin’ factory complex, better known as the Chinese Quarter, came into focus thanks to European Capital of Culture 2021 and European Youth Capital 2019 titles, and they are recognised as an important city location. After adoption of the Detailed Regulation Plan, which happened after these titles were won, this location is protected against demolition and transformation into a mall or residential complex. Next step that includes development, i.e. decision on future content of the so-called Chinese Quarter, will be made through the culture of dialogue. This is one of the conclusions of the ‘Using Dialogue to Develop the Chinese Quarter’ forum, organised by the Danas daily and Exit festival at the Petrovaradin Fortress.
The Youth Creative Polis, which should be implemented in the so-called Chinese Quarter, would be a joint pillar of the cooperation of teams that prepared the candidacies of Novi Sad for European Capital of Culture and European Youth Capital and, at the same time, a crucial project that brought these two titles to Novi Sad, said Vukašin Grozdanović on behalf of the OPENS project.
Zdravko Vulin, producer and one of the founders of the Fabrika Cultural Centre, emphasised that the ECoC and OPENS titles draw attention of the public to the Chinese Quarter. Whether this attention will be used to make the Chinese Quarter into a representative and recognisable space, and place for all who perform creative and cultural activities depends on the dialogue that should be initiated and result in offering the best solution.
Pera Mirković, visual artist, who has his own work space in the Chinese Quarter, also expects joint solution that will balance out the content and preservation of the architectural heritage. Slobodan Jović from the Association of Architects of Novi Sad (DANS) agreed with this, and emphasised that the forum is a good introduction in public dialogue on the future of the Chinese Quarter. He also stated that the space of the Chinese Quarter is preserved from decay, therefore DANS will continue to advocate for a public architectural call in the development phase of the project.
The Directorate for Culture of Novi Sad and ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation prepared several phases of the dialogue on future development of the Chinese Quarter. The research process initiates soon. It includes mapping of space, survey with citizens, researching examples of good practice in transformation of industrial heritage, and an online form for citizens to give suggestions will be available at the website of the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation.
The willingness to take further steps is seen from the fact that the first Forum of Culture was held, as announced, in the City Assembly of Novi Sad on 10 July.
The Forum was attended by members of City Administration for Culture, City Council for Culture, as well as relevant subjects in the culture of the city. The results is a series of announced activities that will define the process of dialogue with wide public.
The dialogue process will start on 22 August, when the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation will prepare the first of three Let’s Talk sessions – open discussions with citizens of Novi Sad and expert public. At the same time, the City Administration for Culture will hold three sessions of the Forum for Culture in late August and early September.
The results achieved through open dialogue, as well as guidelines for transformation of the Chinese Quarter, i.e. former industrial complex ‘Petar Drapštin’, as it was previously announced, will be communicated on 12 September by the Mayor of Novi Sad.