On Thursday, 22 March 2018, we organised the Divan called ‘We Change Places’. Citizens were informed about ideas and guidelines for the call for managing small public places. They were also invited to express their ideas and needs related to this topic.
The attendees were addressed by Marek Sivák from the ‘Pestuj prostor’ organisation from Plzeň (Czechia), Vera Golubović from the City Administration for Construction Land and Investments, Slobodan Jović from the Association of Architects of Novi Sad, and Danica Jovović Prodanović from Belgrade International Architecture Week (BINA).
Marek Sivák presented examples of good practice and shared experiences on implementation of similar calls in Plzeň 2015 – European Capital of Culture. ‘We kicked off the programme with simple open call telling people: please give us proposals and ideas what places and topics you think are most important to address in terms of small-medium size projects in public spaces… This was to get the inhabitants to really activate and to minimise the number of the people that only complain about everything, but cannot initiate positive changes’, said Mr Sivák.
Slobodan Jović pointed out the importance of dialogue with citizens: ‘The city is changing decision-making processes by taking into consideration the concrete needs of the users – citizens. In addition, we finally have different levels of communication – both professionals and decisions-makers in the city, i.e. administrations now communicate with citizens’. Mr Jović also stressed the development of awareness of citizens of Novi Sad through the dialogue about the quality of living space in city environment.
Vera Golubović spoke about the importance of continuity in terms of maintenance of these public spaces that will be improved based on submitted ideas: ‘It is crucial to maintain these spaces, and we believe that citizens will have completely different approach to this. We are glad that we managed to develop different forms of cooperation with the Foundation – both in solving problems through dialogue with citizens, and in implementing projects and calls. This is one more way to find out what the citizens think about different approaches to managing public places, to hear their ideas and wishes’.
Danica Jovović Prodanović shared the experiences of the BINA organisation in implementation of similar projects in Belgrade, and was pleased that the cooperation with the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation will provide opportunity to bring examples of good practice to Novi Sad. The attendees also watched a film that was created during the European project: ‘ Shared Cities: Creative Momentum’ in which the BINA participated. Through direct activities, 7 cities from Central and South-Eastern Europe will try to explain to their citizens that involvement and mutual cooperation are necessary to create pleasant and hard-working city environment.
In the following period (beginning of April), the Foundation will organise info-days on the territory of the city and Zone 021 (Irig, Beočin and Sremski Karlovci) in order to promote micro-granting call, i.e. procedures for awarding small grants to citizen associations for management of small public spaces.