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City of Zagreb
City Office for Physical Planning, Construction, Communal Affairs and Traffic


Faculty of Architecture
University of Zagreb


City Acupuncture


Oris - House of Architecture




City of Zagreb
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport


Republic of Croatia
Ministry of Culture

Work title: THINK public SPACE - In the Urban Context of Zagreb

In Zagreb, different urban patterns tell different stories about the conflict between Economic and Socio - Political paradigms. In order to address challenges and potentials, we describe them as layers with spatial qualities. 1st Layer : Historical City Centre Vivid open spaces are taken over by privately-owned, profit-making, and capital-oriented activities. People gather, diverse interactions are encouraged and spaces are activated. With its dense population, the attractive characteristic results in overlapping spatial functions for emergent interests and people ironically become unable to experience scale. It also blurs the physical and mental boundaries between private and public realms. 2nd Layer : Early 20th Century Residential Development Open spaces surrounding low rise developments around the city centre merely serve as mono-functional parks, monumental squares, etc., without constant diverse activities and sufficient facilities. Others are only leftover spaces between building blocks and traffic routes and have just a few functions. 3rd Layer : Post-War High Rise Residential Block Between suburban blocks we witness the malfunction of open spaces as carriers of different social meanings. With clearly defined boundaries, areas that should serve as communal space remain passive - parks, parking lots, etc., and have few facilities that activate the space. Within these different layers, the conflict demonstrates itself in two radical forms: vivid small scale usurped space with dynamic competitive activities in the city centre versus dormant large scale public areas in the suburbs with space potential. In order to deal with these polarities, our proposal is to reverse spatial functions of public space in the different layers and to reclaim the public realm in one and to revitalise public space in the other. Our proposed strategy is based on three different scenarios in the three outlined layers : Turn 1st Layer into Sustainable City Centre Strategy : Define one public function per space and extend space Introducing one theme per square and corresponding modular multi-functional facilities, to purify and maximise the experience within public spaces to encourage diverse activities. Expanding profit-driven activities onto building elevations and roofs to create more public space as interests emerge. Prohibiting privately-owned occupation of open spaces we reclaim usurped and privatised public spaces. Implementation : Introducing urban farming and replacing existing artificial pavements with natural vegetation, we reintroduce green landscape into the city centre as a fundamental step towards sustainability. E.g : Wild Nature, City Leisure, Artworks. For financial sustainability, the system will be maintained by municipal & local governments. Turn 2nd Layer into Small-Medium Scale Commercial Belt Strategy : Introduce functions that require proximity to the city and access from outside Implementation : In order to energise and rejuvenate the layer, we introduce markets, urban campsites, fitness trails, wetland, educational parks, etc. into unused spaces within developments or along river embankments. As an intermediate layer, we extend and reform the existing public transport network to offer greater exchange between the inner layer and rural areas. For financial sustainability, the system will transform public spaces into semi-privatised open spaces, maintained by local government and interested parties, such as trade unions, with participation fees, professional association fees, and governmental subsidies. Turn 3rd Layer into Large Scale Residential and Retail Complex Cluster Strategy : Introduce flexibility of use, bold attractions that require space, densify and use technology as a tool to inform. Implementation : Transforming leftover spaces into multi-functional venues such as concert halls, large scale sport facilities, open air 360° cinemas, theme parks etc. Offering public space with overlapping functions that can attract people with different interests to interact with spaces simultaneously. Moreover, as the outer layer of the strategy, these clusters can enhance regional interaction as they draw people and activities with their spaces that can host different theme-related programs like expositions, theme parks, etc. For financial viability, the system will be maintained by communities and interested parties with property management fees, admission fees and governmental subsidies. Sustainable Regional Scheme - Virtual Connection & Physical Connection In order to create a sustainable regional scheme, our proposal also introduces holistic virtual and physical connections, which connect the city with surrounding rural areas, industrial areas and neighbour cities, in order to provide a platform for faster information and resource-sharing within seamless network. World-Wide Application These scenarios can be observed in cities with similar urban structure around the world, especially in Europe, and our strategy on one hand identifies their issues and on the other hand addresses their potentials. By this prototype, we are able to establish public realms based on different urban patterns.
Work details
Application Number 0000702774
Author Lenhardt, Binke , China
Coauthors Chou, Alan ,
Drapic, Kristina ,
Kade, Sidonie ,
Li, Xiangting ,
Mukherjee, Aniruddha ,
Tang, Dian ,

Juror Comments

  • Juror @ 13/08/2015 11:33:39
    The work has fulfilled most of the competition demands. The jury recognizes the value of the proposition, although the quality of the entry does not suffice for the third round of the competition.
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