🔵 MONDAY, JULY 1 🔵
Foundations for understanding the city of Zagreb
The tours of the first day will take you through the layers of Zagreb’s spatial, social and economic development. You will have the opportunity to hear about how the city, once freed from the imperial dictate of development for imperial interests, tried to develop, but often got stuck in reproducing the same speculative and segregationist tactics as under the Austro-Hungarian rule. You will see how it spread from a medieval city to the railway positioned in a way that pleased the colonial rule, but you will also hear the story of its brave resistance to the occupation, the unprecedented workers’ mobilization before WWII and how it developed using surplus value created in its factories after WWII. You will see how the city forgets and how it remembers its heroes, and walk through the continuous lines of urban development that created its axis, making city planning easy to comprehend and navigate.
☀️ MORNING TOURS, 10:00-13:00 ☀️
Meeting point Brvnara
1. City between the cathedral and the railway tracks
🗣️ Tour guide Antun Sevšek
Each survey of the history of urban development of Zagreb begins with the recognition of a clearly visible progression of historical strata descending from the foot of the Medvednica mountain down to the alluvial plane of the Sava river. Starting from the dual medieval towns of Gradec and Kaptol as seats of ecclesial and secular authority, respectively, the tour will chart the rapid rise of Zagreb from a series of scattered settlements into a budding regional centre of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The twenty-fold increase in size facilitated by the advent of the railway in 1862 saw the rapid southern expansion of the city that was in equal part fueled by the development of industry and rampant building speculation. The proliferation of representative municipal institutions and the unique organising strategy of a series of formal parks echoing the Viennese Ring soon coalesced into a distinct urban form catering to the rising bourgeois class. Left outside this development and occupying the flood-prone areas south of the railway stood the haphazard settlements of throngs of workers gravitating towards the city. The railway issue, as this was later labeled, marks in equal parts the inability of the city to independently guide its strategic development and the still persisting symbolic and physical class divide influencing the official image of the city.
2. City beyond the railway tracks – Trešnjevka (Cherry town)
🗣️ Tour guide Vanja Radovanović
Trešnjevka was once the workers’ district of Zagreb. It is a flat open space not so far from Zagreb’s historical center and its connection to the railway (1862) resulted in an industrial boom in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. With factories and chimneys springing up, the workers’ industrial suburbs followed. Some of them were planned, but many were not. Surprisingly, Trešnjevka is the site of a couple of smart examples of modern urban planning, but more than a couple of not-so-smart examples of housing development. These days, after the slow death of industry at the end of the 20th century, its proximity to the city center made this neighborhood into a site of gentrification and brutal investments. This mixture of developments is still fairly easy to follow and you can trace all of these processes – if you know where to look. During this walk you will learn a lot about the many steps of Trešnjevka’s metamorphosis – from an agricultural landscape to the workers’ place and further on to its infamous urban redevelopment into a business/housing paradise (as investment agents are calling it) today.
3. Undefeated city – spaces of repression and resistance during the occupation
🗣️ Tour guide Josip Jagić
Around fifty thousand Zagreb citizens were in one way or another connected to the communist-led partisan resistance movement during WWII. That means that every sixth citizen of Zagreb was in various ways and with different intensities part of the resistance movement. We will explore these connections and the context in which they were being (un)made by walking through Zagreb’s streets, parks and avenues. By moving through various landmarks and engaging microhistories of certain individuals, organisations and buildings in the ever-changing urban environment, we will see how spaces of repression were in great proximity to the places and networks of the resistance. We will also pose a question – how does contemporary Zagreb perceive its WWII occupation and what does it seem to remember about its resistance movement?
4. How tourism stole our public space – historic city turned tourist haven
🗣️ Tour guide Katerina Duda
When Tortureum, a private museum of torture, opened in 2015, it was clear that Zagreb is being perceived as a pin on the tourist map of Europe. Indeed, in the last six years the city has recorded a tourist boom. In a country where the economy unfortunately depends on tourism, it was a question of time when the capital would appropriate the idea of transforming according to the appetites of the tourist industry. There were 9 hostels in Zagreb before 2012, and a total of 44 in 2019.
In addition to that, the number of Airbnb apartments increases by 30% in yearly. The idea of rental economy perfectly plays into the interests of non-transparent (and corrupt) city management. The stores that used to serve locals are gradually being replaced with dozens of restaurants, souvenir shops and bars with prices too high for the locals. Gradually, the public space has become occupied by café terraces and streets are disappearing in the horror vacui of chairs and tables.
Posing the question To whom does the city center belong? this walk will follow the main tourist tour of Zagreb from another perspective. In the approximately two-hour-long walk the participants will be introduced to the implications of short-term decisions and private interests in public space. Also, the tour will shed some light on the problems like the musealization of Old Town and historical revisionism in the case of Zagreb’s branding.
5. How we built and how we live in New Zagreb
🗣️ Tour guides Dubravka Sekulić and Bojan Krištofić
The tour between Zapruđe and Utrine, two New Zagreb blocks developed sequentially, will show how the approach to the fulfilment of the right to housing proclaimed as one of the bases of Yugoslav society developed with time, as did the connection between surplus value from the industry and the reproduction of the city. We will outline both the institutional politics of planning, as well as the influence of the development of the construction industry on the development of the organization of the space. The tour with highlight how in the period of societal ownership the common spaces of the blocks, both open and closed, were considered an extension of individual apartments, but also analyse and look at the changes that have happened to space since the privatization of housing stock and the increasing commodification of space.
In our walk we will climb on top of one of the residential towers and get first-hand information on how common living envisioned during socialism functions today.
⛅ AFTERNOON TOURS, 14:00-17:00 ⛅
Meeting point Brvnara
6. Forgotten city – ex-industrial sites in the city center waiting for a solution
🗣️ Tour guide Antonija Komazlić
The site of the former Gredelj railways company, with its 11.98 ha in size, central position, and public ownership, is Zagreb’s key spatial and developmental resource. In 2006 the City of Zagreb purchased it from the Gredelj Factory, and in 2007 sold it for the same amount to the city company Zagreb Holding. Since the end of the 19th century, when it was built, until 2011, when Gredelj Factory was displaced, it was closed to the public due to its production character and largely unknown in the mental map of the city. Before its re-urbanization, it is necessary to question its future role in the context of the city. The scale of this real estate, together with its assumed public use and the obligatory preservation of a number of significant buildings, asks for a multiphase, inclusive and viable process of conceptualization and planning, ideally through public funds. However, the city administration’s only effort have been occasional presentations of schemes related to the concepts and uses of creative cities. Due to the size and the complexity of the site, up until now no large-scale private investment has been attracted and at some point the solution has been sought in enabling temporary use. The site, however, saw only a couple of one-time events and the only real temporary use it has is a parking lot. The latest approved Masterplan envisions only business and housing units and therefore for the first time allows Gredelj’s partial development.
7. The axes of New Zagreb(s), modern planning strategies and their neoliberal disruptions
🗣️ Tour guide Antun Sevšek
The early and high modernist urban planning strategies saw the sprawling plains south of the railway and across the river Sava as the ideal locus for the new administrative and representative centre of the city. The difficulties in dealing with the dense and complex cadastral patchwork resulted, at best, in the partial realisation of the majority of urban plans for this area, always prioritising the formal and symbolic organising elements to the detriment of municipal strategies of alleviating the issues of housing shortages and important public programs. These formal figures of axes, extensions and intersections linking the area to the symbolic accents of the historical core soon became completely independent of their initial planning agendas. Reduced to displays of dominant ideological representations of successive city governments, these axes have become oversaturated with layers of symbolic meaning. Completing the recent series of monuments and representative projects inscribed into the conceptual framework of these urban figures is the announcement of the megalomaniac Zagreb Manhattan project, which is threatening to erase decades of planning efforts with ruthless real-estate speculation and generic neoliberal image-building.
8. Transport infrastructure of the city
🗣️ Tour guide Bernard Ivčić
Transport and urban planning are closely interlinked, and Zagreb is a city in which both are being directly influenced by the mayor’s will. Other opinions, coming from the citizens, civil initiatives, NGOs and independent experts, are regularly ignored by Zagreb’s administration. We will visit sites of struggles and conflicts against harmful transport projects, but also continuously neglected sites of transport projects that should have been implemented. We will talk about the roots of the conflicts in Zagreb transport policy, different perspectives on the solutions of transport problems and about specific manifestations of such differences. Also, during this tour we will discuss possibilities for the residents’ needs and appetites for individual motorized transport in predetermined spatial dimensions.
9. Developing the modern city through speculation and social segregation – Zagreb after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
🗣️ Tour guide Tamara Bjažić Klarin
In the period between two world wars, Zagreb grew in size from the provincial administrative centre of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to a metropolis, the leading industrial, commercial and financial centre of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This change resulted in dynamic construction (the population almost doubled from the early 1921 to 1930) and a significant shift in the approach to the city. It served not only for bourgeois self-promotion, but also for the investment of private capital, generated either locally or in the country’s periphery. Due to the housing crisis and overly high rents, the construction of residential buildings became the safest and most profitable way of investing. Repressive state policy towards marginalized social groups, workers and peasants, the lack of city government’s consistent social housing politics in 1920’s, and the subordination of the public interest of society to the interests of private profit resulted in spatial segregation that became visible in Zagreb’s city fabric.
Pointing to the interdependence of the quality of living conditions and the social and economic factors, that is, of the status of tenants – elite, middle class and workers, the tour will guide participants through the interwar social and urban reality: the elite residential quarters on the slopes of Medvednica Mountain in the northern part of the city, the new city district along Zvonimirova Street with rental apartments for the middle class, located in the vicinity of industrial plants and the railway line, and, finally, the workers’ slums, positioned in the plain where they were constantly threatened by floods. Today, this part of the city – which has still not been fully defined in planning terms – is constructed with exclusive residential and office buildings.
10. Back to The Holy Spirit: Social Memory and Urban Transformations of the Working-Class Periphery in Zagreb
🗣️ Tour guide Sanja Horvatinčić
The tour is organized along an atypical route that cuts the central city axes (main railway and Ilica Street), featuring key characteristics of memorial and urban transformations in Zagreb. Located in an undefined urban structure in Zagreb’s western periphery, the area started to develop in the late 19th century as an industrial zone. The rise of the working class in the interwar period and the massive participation of the neighbourhoods’ residents in the anti-fascist struggle during WWII were in the postwar socialist era signified with several landmark memorial markers and sites (monuments, parks, street names). The post-socialist transition period of the 1990s was in turn marked by several paradigmatic transformations of this micro-memoryscape, from the renaming of parks and streets to the removal of monuments and the gentrification of the former industrial zone. Neoliberal alternations of urban landscape in the upper part of the route, caused by deindustrialisation and gentrification, have been followed by the erasure of working-class movement and anti-fascist memory from public space, and the parallel return to traditional, sacral toponyms and spatial markers.