We are commencing a new two year project VOLVOX – Stronger involvement of civil society in environmental policy making and monitoring funded by the EU. As a Project Lead, partnered up with Belgrade Open School (BOS) and Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI), we are seeking to engage in advocating for adoption of key environmental […]
The right to WhiteCity
Year of Realisation:
Goal and Project Description:
The project “The Right to WhiteCity” (15/03 / 2010-15 / 03/2011) dealt with the problem of the enormous impact of traffic on environmental quality, especially in urban areas, with an emphasis on the lack of a multi-disciplinary approach and greater involvement of the civil sector in the delivery decisions in the field of urban transport.
Objective: To create preconditions for systematic dealing with the problem of traffic impacts on the quality of the environment in Belgrade, by connecting citizens, civil society and institutions with decision-makers and making a cross-section of the situation on needs and possible solutions.
The complexity of the topic – the relationship and the interaction between transport and the environment, has caused the project “The right to WhiteCity (Belgrade)” to be designed as a set of methodically different activities: discussion and consultation with stakeholders, promotional and educational campaigns and research.
At the end of the project period, it can be concluded that it has entered into intentions and that it is an essential result of the project:
- assembled groupings of organizations and institutions – stakeholder stake, i
- specific conclusions derived from the campaign, research and consultative process that provide guidance on how to deal with this topic further.
On the road to achieving the projected results, the project consortium has carried out a large number of activities:
During the whole project, stakeholders worked through 3 roundtables, 5 meetings of the cross-sectoral group and a national conference.
Roundtables had the role of discussing current issues, such as: Parking Problems in Belgrade; Traffic and climate change; Parking and public transport; gather the most important actors from the sphere of competent institutions and organizations and individuals especially interested, but also responsible for improving the situation on these topics. From them, as an added value to the project, two public ecological tribunes emerged, launching new partnerships and activities with the municipalities of Savski Venac and Vracar.
The inter-sectoral group had panelists of the first roundtable from the Belgrade institutions and organizations, and through the preparatory meetings for the national consultative meeting, expanded its composition to a larger number of representatives of local communities from Serbia. At the last, fifth meeting of the working group, with the most active actors involved during the project, the will and intent were expressed to continue with the joint work and after the completion of the project.
A consultative process based on observations gained during the implementation of previous activities, including 3 preparatory meetings in Uzice, Nis and Novi Sad and a major national meeting in Belgrade, clearly demonstrated that: the themes of planning the development of sustainable transport have an important and urgent position in many local communities; the practice so far has not been based on cross-sectoral cooperation; there are a large number of actors and sectors that need to be consulted when it comes to transport and environment, because this is certainly not a question of specializing in one profession.
Of the numerous recommendations that were defined during the above activities, involving about 200 individuals, three groups identify three groups that point to further directions in which this topic and the work of the platform of the intriguing sides should go:
- It is necessary to practice and increase the participation of citizens in all transport development planning processes.
- Improve conditions for safe bicycle traffic, in the context of the construction of new infrastructure: trails, parking lots, roadway tracks and adequate signalling.
- Make an overview of existing educational programs on traffic in compulsory education and driver training and encourage informal education programs with the aim of improving the traffic culture and raising awareness about the need for developing more sustainable transport solutions.
The intention of the project consortium “The right to WhiteCity” is to continue to maintain a platform of interested organizations and institutions (in the form of an informal working body) ready to work on the implementation of these recommendations in the scope of their missions even after the project expires.
The specific topics of promotional and educational campaigns through street actions followed the basic issues discussed during the consulting component:
- Integration of bicycles into public transport – was the backbone of the action held in Belgrade and Klek near Zrenjanin.
- Advocacy for reducing the construction of new parking spaces in downtown Belgrade – was placed in the parking time performance.
- The construction and installation of bicycle combs in front of the Youth Office in New Belgrade was a “demonstration exercise” for one of the recommendations of the consultative process.
Five youth workshops were held in the Belgrade municipality of Palilula, in three outgoing departments of the primary school Olga Petrov, in the villages of Dunavac, Kovilovo and Glogonjski rit, in order to accelerate the inclusion of peripheral parts of the city, which can still avoid mistakes in transport development, following the recommendations of a sustainable Planning.
Although the grant proposal proposed only the making of a comparative analysis of Belgrade with other cities in the surrounding area, additional efforts provided co-financing for the conduct of research on citizens’ attitudes, which aimed to determine the existing tendencies in view of traffic in Belgrade by the citizens, in order to based on the basic findings, defined the methodology for conducting a deep research on this topic.
The comparative analysis dealt with Belgrade in relation to the cities with which they had or still have similar infrastructure problems. The criterion was also followed: that the structure of the city, in physical and population terms, is similar to that of Belgrade, and on the verge of being cities in some immediate environment, which meant that besides geographical similarities, the similarity in the mentality of the population is necessary. In the final presentation, there is one positive example of the traffic infrastructure in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Budva and Vienna.
The perception and attitudes of citizens towards traffic in Belgrade – there was a pilot survey and was carried out through the focus group method. During the testing, different ideas were also tested, which could contribute to solving the problem of crowds and traffic congestion. Special attention is paid to understanding and mapping the intervention site. Ideas that do not fall within the scope of capital investments (construction of bridges, metro) were tested, but the proposed measures involved smaller operations – viewed in the context of assets and time. Given that these proposals significantly influence changes in the daily patterns of behaviour of participants in traffic, special attention is paid to assessing the readiness of respondents to accept one of them, changing their habits.
Civil society organizations and decision-makers (at the city level of Belgrade)
Project Spacial Area:
Belgrade, Uzice, Nis, Novi Sad, Klek (Zrenjanin)
REC, Sector II Program (Supporting Environmental Civil Society Organisations in South Eastern Europe) (EUR 33.000 (REC 27.000, in-kind 6.000))
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