CUPA Workshop Bratislava
The entire western and southern boundary of Bratislava is also the border with Austria and Hungary. After joining the EU, the accession of the Schengen Treaty, and the adoption of the Euro, this boundary has become less and less a barrier. Therefore, the suburbanization of the city of Bratislava affects and concerns also Austrian and Hungarian municipalities as there are several problems following these developments. One the one side, the city and its surrounding communities are in different stages of development. What is more, the people of the region speak three different languages and the area is affected by four different law systems, which means that there are four different spatial planning systems with conflicting organizations, instruments and legislation. Apart from that, the number of stakeholders in this region is enormous, as it includes spatial planning players from Bratislava, Lower Austria, Burgenland and from the Györ-Moson-Sopron County.
The case study focuses on the area of the 4th quadrant of Bratislava in the southwest of the city that includes the borders of Austria and Hungary. The area geomorphologically clearly belongs to the city, but in the early 20th century, it was separated by a political decision by implementing the Danube as a natural obstacle between the old town and the areas towards Austria. The task of the Implementation Lab is to verify the potential evelopment, the possibilities for future urbanization and of reshaping this area as one organism not separated by an artificially created political boundary.
The questions that needed answering were the following:
- How should all these stakeholders be coordinated in a transparent planning process?
- What kind of governing body or institution could be developed and installed to suit the task and carry enough weight to be acceptable to all stakeholders?
The land use concept has to be taken into account in addition to the process concept. The southern part of the area, where Slovakia and Austria are separated by an artificial border, offers great potential for development because of its closeness to the Bratislava city centre. The best possible land use for this part of the region had to be defined during the CUPA Implementation Lab that would enable building the discussions on the experiences of previous projects in the region, such as project KOBRA (Stadt-Umland-Kooperation Bratislava), the restoration of the former arms of the Danube and the development of a green belt.
The main topics that had to be discussed in this context included the function of Bratislava as an economic and cultural centre, the necessity of expansion, the identification of the population of Bratislava within the 4th quadrant area and the function of the green corridor. Other points to consider included the option of a land bank and the risk of flooding.
In 2011, the project BAUM (Bratislava Umland Management) was initiated by a team of Slovakian and Austrian planners, focusing on the recommendations of the CUPA workshop and other concepts that had been developed for the region. The main focus of the project was on the coordination of urban development in Bratislava and its surrounding areas, including regions in Austria and Slovakia.The objectives of the project included information and coordination meetings in Bratislava, the development of common urban development strategies and an urban planning study for Bratislava that would take into account the interests of the Austrian regions involved. To achieve these goals, a cross-border coordinated platform called MEP (Multilateral Expert Platform) was developed to hold regular meetings about current topics. The project ended in 2013 and was among the finalists of the EU-Regiostars Award 2012.
Based on these analyses, a spatial development concept was published in 2014, focusing on the topics of housing development, green areas, traffic, mobility and hydrology. The concept involves 14 regions in Austria and in the surrounding regions of Bratislava. It concentrates on housing and land resources and the use of possible instruments for housing development. Measures to develop nature protection areas and tourism are also mentioned. In the field of traffic and mobility, an enhancement and optimisation of street and railway connections as well as the development of alternative forms of mobility and public transport are described. A green space concept is also mentioned as a measure to enforce green networks.