“You are an expert too” workshop in Belgrade

An interactive workshop „You are an expert too“ was recently held online in Belgrade, regarding one of the demo locations, the pocket park on Danube quay in Zemun (Belgrade’s municipality) within the euPOLIS project.

The purpose of the workshop conducted by euPolis expert Ranko Božović was to map the health challenges of the nearby citizens, but also their preparedness, knowledge, and overall interest to take part in future processes of implementing the nature-based solutions.

The results show us that, even though many of the participants (around 50) have previously heard of the term nature-based solutions, the majority don’t really know how they work, how they can be implemented, or what the results may be.

 

On the brighter side, almost all of them are aware that the microclimate around just one small area like the mentioned pocket park, can significantly affect people’s health, but also that improving the quality of the park can empower neighborly bonding, and create a better, healthier atmosphere with better chances for co-creation and joint decision-making.

When it comes to the „stones in their shoes“, citizens have pointed out the raft restaurants in the very vicinity of their homes with loud music and which intensifies the traffic during night hours. The nearby amusement park also attracts activities that are not suitable for a neighborhood with family households.

Instead, the neighbors would like the opportunity for more interactive playgrounds for the youngest, didactic toys, Edu-centers that could attract visitors of all ages, an open-air cinema, or a theater in the summer. Also, solar charges and WiFi access were mentioned as perks.

According to the results of the interactive session, the neighbors crave more natural shade, park furniture, but also, space for outdoor workouts, water taps, and trash bins. Despite the long and spacious walking area visited daily by hundreds of passers-by, there is no public toilet in this area.

It has been shown necessary to also separate the bicycle lanes from the pedestrian walkways.

Besides planting trees, the citizens have highlighted the need for bushes and blooming plants which would attract and provide shelter for sparrows and bees and improve biodiversity.

Citizens welcomed the euPolis innovative ideas openheartedly and expressed hopes for it to be implemented, not only in this demo location but „stretched“ to other nearby areas that struggle with many communal, social, environmental, and other urban challenges.