CUPA Workshop Novi Sad
The areas selected for the CUPA Implementation Lab in Novi Sad were Fisherman’s Island, Kamenica Island, and the neighbouring Chinese quarter, located south of the city centre along the Danube. While Fisherman’s Island is used for recreational purposes and consists mostly of forest, Kamenica Island has little population and offers space for sports activities and recreational areas. The Chinese quarter is a former industrial area in the northern part of the city that blends newer parts into the urban fabric.
Development within this area has come to a standstill and, despite the enormous potential of the Danube waterfront, the cohesion of the present functions in the area does not match its potential and has an extremely negative influence on the structure of the local economy and the settlement of new companies. Both islands have to deal with floods that occur at least every ten years. Illegal single-family houses that are built without a building permit or lack a sophisticated technical infrastructure are especially prone to serious damage. As a result, the population holds the area in low regard and the upkeep of the public space shows proof of neglect and disinterest.
Low-cost activities like tidying up the area would improve the quality of the space substantially and would therefore help create an atmosphere of appreciation for this area. On the other hand, the newly built promenade between the Chinese quarter and the Danube offers cycling paths and walking and running lanes; dustbins and an advanced lighting system in the public space shape this part of the quarter, making it appear very clean but also – by highlighting the contrast between the well and poorly kept areas – relatively oversized and expensive.
These positive and negative aspects were used as a starting point for the workshop and the participants were encouraged to suggest possible spatial development proposals and discuss the following topics:
- What would be beneficial for the city in terms of the site’s spatial development?
- What kind of functions may become attractive for developers and city residents?
- Which new structures need to be built in order to provide the best possible access to the site?
- Which sociological, economic and cultural influences related to the redevelopment of the area will affect the local society?
- How to make use of the river for water sports, recreational facilities, leisure, etc.?
The international practitioners from seven different countries that took part in the Novi Sad Implementation Lab took this input into account and focused on two main concerns:
Which mix of functions would help endorse the aims of the municipal policy of stimulating tourism, urban agriculture and the ICT on the Fisherman’s and Kamenica islands and the Chinese quarter territory?
How to create public-public and public-private partnerships that contribute to the spatial concept we recommend?
Several projects have been initiated in the Chinese quarter since the end of the CUPA workshop. Connectivity will be improved by a new wooden bridge that will connect the Chinese quarter with Liman park. The project was developed by architecture students from Novi Sad in cooperation with the city’s administration. A new pedestrian and cycling bridge, which will also function as a new landmark for Novi Sad, is being built in 2015 to connect Fisherman’s Island with Kay. It will be built on seven pillars and will consist of a combination of steel and sheet metal, with solar panels alongside the bridge to heat the walking space and keep it from freezing during winter.
Another project in development is the new Youth Polis youth quarter that will be developed in a former factory building and will be presented as Novi Sad’s entry for the Youth Capital of Europe competition in 2018. Events like exhibitions and manufacturing workshops will take place in this new and modern industry centre; one of the project’s goals is to be able to sustain itself from its own revenues.
Furthermore, green spaces have been installed in the urban areas next to the Despota Stefana Boulevard. These areas have been equipped with benches and plants and function as small parks. In addition, there are plans to revitalize the brownfield sites in the Chinese quarter in order to contribute to the development of the local economy and to attract investors.