X
This website uses third-party cookies so that you can enjoy the best possible user experience. If you continue to use this website we will assume that you accept their use. You can change your settings or obtain more information here.
Prior to the intervention.In the heart of Gorica was a circular esplanade which had been conceived of as an open-air leisure zone. However, four decades later it had turned into a bare, run-down wasteland as a result of disuse and lack of maintenance. © adkrajine d.o.o.

BEFORE

images  (11)

AFTER
 

description

previous state

In 1950, the growing demand for coal led to the founding of the city of Velenje in order to house workers from a coalmining zone in the east of Slovenia. The future residents contributed their voluntary work in the construction of the buildings and basic infrastructure. The socialist authorities presented the new urban growth project as a space full of sun and fresh air, especially planned for miners who spent half their day underground. In fact, it was a typical modern housing estate consisting of a series of similar concrete blocks separated by overly large, empty, uninviting spaces.

Twenty years later, the same mistake was committed in the centre of Gorica, the city’s second-biggest neighbourhood. This time the construction took the form of a circular esplanade surrounded by six residential blocks and conceived as an open-air leisure zone. However, four decades later it was a bare, run-down wasteland as a result of disuse and lack of maintenance.

aim of the intervention

In 2012, the esplanade of just over three thousand square metres was chosen for a pilot project coming under the auspices of the ReNewTown programme, which aims to involve citizens in projects of revamping their neighbourhoods. Seeking to recover the founding spirit of Velenje, the Council called on citizens to contribute their voluntary work towards renovating the space. Apart from the hours of cost-free labour, the project had obtained a grant of almost a hundred thousand euros contributed by the European Union and several private sponsors.

description

The work was programmed in three consecutive phases. First, the land was to be readied with the use of heavy equipment. Next, a series of manual operations were to be carried out by a brigade of volunteers who, instead of sleeping at home, would camp in a nearby field. Finally, new playground equipment would be installed and vegetation planted. Before starting work, the residents drew up a plan for maintaining the space and undertook to be responsible for carrying it out once the renovation work was completed.

The excessive width of the esplanade has been remedied by dividing it into three distinct areas: a children’s playground, a recreational zone, and a meeting place. Low grass-covered mounds separate the three sections and conserve their intimate particularity. They are connected with the surrounding buildings by a gravel path alongside which concrete benches with wooden seats have been installed, and trees have also been planted to reinforce the separation of zones. Moreover, there are herb gardens for the use of residents.

assessment

The strategy of involving the local residents as voluntary workers has helped to unite a multicultural community of Slovenian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Romanian residents. The camp also helped to reinforce this process and offerings of coffee and cakes from other local people extended the effect beyond the group working on the project.

The fact of having transformed the space with their own work and being in charge of its maintenance has meant that the residents feel that it is more theirs and hence they use it more. After the success of this experience, other neighbourhoods of Velenje have shown interest in organising similar initiatives.

David Bravo
Translation by Julie Wark

Comment and vote the work

Vote
Average rating: 3.2 / Votes: 4
 
Comments

We shall publish your views on-line as soon as possible. All comments will be reviewed by a moderator in order to avoid abuse. Thank you for participating.

Send your comment »
Please type the text presented in the image:
morning meeting and tasking © members of the velenje brigadiers society

technical sheet

CITY: Velenje (33,331 inhabitants)

COUNTRY: Slovenia

BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT: 2012

BEGINNING OF WORK: 2012

END OF WORK: 2013

AREA: 3,386 m2

COST: 95,000 €

credits

DEVELOPER:

Mestna obcina Velenje

AUTHORS:

adkrajine d.o.o., Damjan Cerne

COLLABORATORS:

Kaja Flis

Submitted panels