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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.

Neoliberal transformations and resistance

After an overview of the city’s development foundation on Monday, you will have an opportunity to see particular examples of neoliberal transformation in the city. You will be able to see how the specific local tactics have led to the creation of a global neoliberal city. The privatisation of public resources, societal industry landscape and re-calibration of planning methods have accelerated the gentrification process in Zagreb and joined the global rhythm of neoliberalisation. You will see how the surplus from the productive industrial landscape which had built much of its reproduction (i.e. housing and public services) has been destroyed and how the ties between production and reproduction have been severed. You will also see how the city introduced public-private partnerships and started to build vanity projects amidst the crumbling infrastructure. These processes will be accompanied by conversations with grassroots activists, union members and organizations that are part of Zagreb’s vibrant movement against these neoliberal transformations.

☀️ MORNING TOURS 10:00-13:00 ☀️
Meeting point Brvnara

11. The magic of public-private partnerships (Part 1) – visit to the Wastewater Treatment plant
🗣️ Tour guide Tomislav Tomašević
On this tour we will visit the industrial zone of Žitnjak on the eastern entrance to Zagreb. Here we will visit Zagreb’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project in the past few decades – the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. This public-private partnership contract was signed in 2000 with two private companies that were granted a concession to operate the plant until 2028. The original contract has never been published and the private companies apparently requested 117 annexes to it. Water prices have tripled for the consumers in the last 15 years, while the City of Zagreb provides an additional 20 million EUR for the concession in its annual budget every year. Meanwhile the directors of these private companies have been indicted for corruption by the State Attorney’s Office. Zagreb’s mayor pushed for a waste incinerator to be built through the same model of public-private partnership in the same location, but this was stopped by activists. Another interesting nearby example of public-private partnership is Zagreb airport, with scandals related to the bidding procedure, annexes to the original contract and failures on the side of private company to provide services required by the contract with Croatian and Zagreb government.

12. Novi Jelkovec – Zagreb’s social housing model of segregation
🗣️ Tour guide Jere Kuzmanić
Novi Jelkovec is one of the few housing neighbourhoods that represents a large-scale, comprehensively planned and realized effort of the city of Zagreb in the period between 2003 and 2009. Situated on the far eastern outskirts of the city, on a former industrial plot in municipal ownership, it consists of 53 housing blocks mixed with commercial and public services, 2700 housing units and around 7000 inhabitants. Today it is arguably one of the most isolated parts of the city, physically as well as socially. Originating from the public housing program ‘POS’ from 2001 and based on the General Urban Plan from 2003, it was supposed to be a showcase of Zagreb’s ambitious housing model, a blend of government-sponsored, municipally financed and market-regulated housing for marginalised and socio-economically weak groups. Instead, it turned into living evidence of weak social and urban policies. Despite the relatively high level of public services built and on-site infrastructure, local media in 2014 called it the largest Croatian “ghetto”, with a large number of empty commercial and housing square meters, domestic violence reports doubling since the first homes were inhabited and social care centre filing more than 5000 different cases referring to this area. Inhabitants are organized in different initiatives, protesting the fact that the school is over capacity, as well as their fellow neighbours from other marginalized groups, i.e. Roma families. The current structure of households, as well as the everyday practices and coexistence of inhabitants, are a testament to how this form of social housing based on the logic of the market (i.e. choice of the location) and political improvisation, combined with the effects of the economic crisis in 2008, have contributed to dysfunctional social regeneration that additionally segregates citizens through housing.

13. Unplanned Zagreb – tour through the margins of the systems that built the city
🗣️ Tour guide Antonija Komazlić
The informal settlements in Zagreb, as well as in other bigger cities in the region, can be seen as the other side of the nominal housing policy. They emerged outside urban planning in periods of strong industrialization in the 1930s and post-1945 when there was a substantial need for affordable housing for a large influx of migrant workers. The socialist state developed an avantgarde big-scale system of housing allocation following the concept of housing as a right, which developed large parts of the city by building the majority of the existing housing fond in Croatia. However, it failed to produce the required number of apartments. Consequently, the workers were compelled to build houses by themselves. These settlements lacked building permissions and were built in the areas inadequate for housing, mostly industrial zones. Unrecognized by formal plans, they lacked the basic infrastructure and social standards necessary for building in the first place. Later on, using various tactics, some of them made the city administration provide electricity, water, sewage, primary medical care, as well as build schools and kindergartens. Others benefited from the infrastructure of the planned neighborhoods next to them. The deregulation of the urban planning policy in the 1990s, after the socialist period and the restoration of capitalist system, only normalized the unregulated building schemes, but this time at the cost of the social structure in general. Meanwhile, the state carried out a questionable legalization process and there are only a few examples of sanitization.
During this tour we will visit one such part of the city on its eastern fringe called Kozari Bok. It is a neighborhood populated by workers who were not able to get housing in the socialist housing blocks, but also refugees from Yugoslavia wars as well as Roma community living in neighborhoods nearby.

14. Preparing for gentrification – tour through the Pedestrian center of excellence
🗣️ Tour guide Iva Marčetić
When in 2017 the Mayor of Zagreb announced that he would build a Pedestrian center of excellence, it seemed like a joke. Shiny rendered pictures that appeared in daily newspapers of ironed out lawns in place of a park, a pedestrian lane between busy tram lines and the name itself looked like he was pulling a prank. Unfortunately, not a year went by and the park has been demolished while large sums of money have been spent on changing one of the most beloved city vistas into a sanitized place with no apparent reason. Soon there came the resistance. Green Action together with Right to the City, several other organizations and many activists started their weekly protest actions and neighborhood gatherings on the site. Gatherings were held every Wednesday for months. The initiative organized a citizen assembly, called all the representatives of political parties to the site, organized media actions and became a gathering point for all other similar initiatives in the city. However, the park was destroyed, but the project is still ongoing in an effort to turn the eastern fringe of the city center into one more generic city space available for commercialization and digestible for the tourist appetite, as the current city administration understands it. The project envisions its next phase as turning an old market place into an organic food market, hence making it even more expensive to live in the city center. The masterplan has gradually changed to accommodate more hotels and furthered the gentrification process of this already rapidly changing part of the city. We will walk the route of the so-called Pedestrian center of excellence, meet the activists involved with the initiative and hear the story of their still ongoing resistance to this change in the city narrative.

15. The City is the Factory? Alliances between labor and the Right to the City movement
🗣️ Tour guide Jelena Miloš
In the early 1990s Croatia underwent a post-socialist transition marked by privatization, deindustrialization and rising social inequalities. This process triggered significant changes in the urban and social landscape of cities, in Zagreb perhaps best illustrated by the decline of the textile industry, which clearly demonstrated the intersecting development of gentrification and transformation of women’s labor.
Textile factories were taken over, mismanaged, relocated and destroyed by real-estate entrepreneurs no longer interested in industrial production but in making a quick profit by turning industrial land into commercial and residential zones, leaving thousands of mostly women workers unemployed. Zagreb’s inner city neighborhoods, previously sites of industrial production, now faced gentrification in part driven by the destruction of its workplaces. While real estate capital formed a front with city authorities eager to support commerical redevelopment and speculative investors by engaging in clientelist practices, new alliances between urban and labor struggles emerged, in one instance uniting a broad coalition of leftwing student organizations, the Right to the City movement, feminist organizations and workers’ collectives. We will visit three former factory sites – DTR, Vesna and Kamensko – where union members and activists will talk about mobilizations contesting neoliberal urbanism and plans for redeveloping former industrial areas.

⛅AFTERNOON TOURS 14:00-17:00 ⛅
Meeting point Brvnara

16. When Church wants to take your park – grassroots initiatives of Savica
🗣️ Tour guide Iva Marčetić
According to the census, Croatia is a country of over more than 90% declared Catholics. One might argue that declaring one’s faith has in the nineties become a question of declaring one’s ethnicity, or rather conforming into the dominant narrative that religion is the same as belonging to a nation. In planning terms this meant that a myriad of churches were built all around the country’s urban centres, disrupting previous planning practices and more often than not taking up municipal land designed for other common uses. Even though churches were built in Yugoslavia’s new housing projects, they were usually placed on the fringes of the housing development, but in the last ten or so years in Zagreb it became evident that the spatial appetites of the Chatolic church in Zagreb somewhat evolved. Together with the City and its Mayor, the Church started to take up central positions in the housing projects, thus inscribing itself onto parks and recreation spaces of neighborhoods built during socialist times. Even though there was resistance in other neighborhoods, one grassroot initiative fought the fight that was recognized beyond the borders of Croatia. The Savica neighborhood and its dedicated local initiative, with the help of activist networks and Right to the City, managed to stop the Church from taking their community’s focal point of leisure. It was a long and interesting fight against ever rising conservatism and the all-encompassing presence of one religion. We will visit the Savica neighborhood where the local initiative will talk about their long journey to save their common space and stop the corruptive practices of the Mayor who colluded with the Church in order to further some other speculative interests.

17. Deindustrialized landscape turned financial district
🗣️ Tour guides Katerina Duda and Matea Grgurinović
The privatization of societal property was followed by the deindustralization on the territory of the city of Zagreb which was once a very dense industrial center. In the golden age of Zagreb’s prosperity, the industrial sector employed over 100 000 people. Surplus produced in those factories during the socialist Yugoslavia was in part used to build large numbers of housing units, predominantly in New Zagreb, thus producing the modern city that we can see today. The process of alienating the means of production via privatization led to the annihilation of the connection between the production of value and the city, as well as the loss of workplaces, resulting in an unprecedented wave of unemployment. Industry has either been destroyed or continued to work at significantly smaller capacity. This process has been a destructive force, with workers’ rights as well as their influence on the politics of firms and in turn the politics of the city, driven to a minimum. In this walk we will take you to the eastern industrial sites that were destroyed or transformed in the transition from socialism to capitalism. This walk will take you through the former manufacturing landscape, the geography of value produced and previously socially distributed in such a way as to provide better conditions for the reproduction of life for working men and women. This landscape was in large part turned into a financial district or is awaiting some other development scheme. During the talk you will hear how it was a site of workers’ struggle, of mobilization of men and women trying to save their factories, a story that is well hidden behind the glass facades of banks and business towers looming over the Radnička (Workers’) street.

18. Fighting for the right to the city – the iconic Varšavska Street fight
🗣️ Tour guide Teodor Celakoski
The Right to the City movement grew when activists, citizens, independent culture organizations and students from the student occupation movement engaged in opposing the biggest city urbanist development at the time, transforming the pedestrian Varšavska Street and its Flower Square. The main idea was to build a shopping mall in central Zagreb, consisting of a retail area, an underground garage and luxury apartments. The Mayor’s office and city planning sectors unanimously supported the private investor, and they had changed the Masterplan without the public’s consent in order to make the huge transformation of the downtown area possible.
The struggle for Flower Square represented the biggest civic disobedience since the beginning of the ‘90s. At one point over 10 000 people were joining the protests, occupying the Flower Square and the surrounding streets. In one of the actions when the construction of the shopping mall started 150 people were arrested in a single day. Today, it still represents a major reference point for the protection of urban and other public goods, but also a turning point for activism against privatization of public and common resources.
Within this tour we will take a short walking tour and later listen to the presentation that will shed more light on the genesis of the Right to the City movement in Croatia. We will present the methods and tools used and explain how they influenced further developments of struggles for the protection of public goods and infrastructure in Croatia and the region.

19. The magic of public-private partnerships (Part 2) – visit to the Arena Zagreb
🗣️ Tour guide Tomislav Domes
On this tour we will visit a grandiose structure at the southwestern entrance to Zagreb. It is allegedly the largest sports hall in the country and it is called Arena Zagreb. Grandiose in appearance, but lacking in content, Arena hardly served any other important purpose beyond the initial one: hosting the 21st Handball World Championship in 2009. Still, we can argue that its purpose lies in the fact that it serves as a vehicle for transferring public money into private firms. Due to the innovation in public finance called public-private partnership, the enormous cost of the investment did not produce any visible public debt. Instead of directly indebting the city or national government, the taxpayers’ money is paid as a yearly fee (over 8m€) to the private partner to cover the costs of his loan installments and, of course, guaranteed high profits. For 17 more years.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the road, another huge, yet unfinished structure remains hidden. The Blato University Hospital, built during the 1980s by the decision that was reached on the referendum, and financed by the crowdfunding of those times – deducting from the citizens’ paychecks. Despite the ten-year effort, the project was abandoned together with socialism. There was no innovation to save it.

20. Waste mismanagement and dirty business – visit to the Jakuševec landfill
🗣️ Tour guide Tomislav Tomašević
Jakuševec is one of the largest waste landfills in this part of Europe and the highest Zagreb “hill” south of the Sava river. The total disregard of household waste separation and recycling policy in the past several decades have built this monument to irrational management of natural and financial resources, whose foul smell also lowers the quality of life for citizens of southern Zagreb. Jakuševec is the most famous waste landmark in Zagreb and Croatia, but it also reveals the story of organised crime in waste mismanagement business that aims to preserve the status quo instead of moving towards more ecologically and financially sustainable solutions. The tour will tell the story of criminal indictments of political corruption in waste management, attempts to privatise the public waste management company Čistoća, shady public-private partnership deals in special categories of waste, the black market of dumping hazardous waste in water protected areas, suspicious periodic fires in private waste management facilities and many other examples of Zagreb’s dirtiest business.
The tour will also visit Hrelić, one of the biggest flea markets in this part of Europe, where the “reuse” concept in waste prevention acquires another meaning, with people selling everything imaginable.

Community governance practice

The last day will be dedicated to practices that move further towards countering the dominant narratives and prevailing apathy of the status quo. By visiting places of institutional innovation, solidarity initiatives and citizen engagement in the democratization of decision-making, you will be able to see the efforts of activists to create spaces for developing new narratives.

☀️ MORNING TOURS 10:00-13:00 ☀️
Meeting point Brvnara

21. Civic-public partnership Pogon Jedinstvo – the institutional innovation story of Zagreb
🗣️ Tour guide Marijana Rimanić
How to bridge the gap between large scale, publicly financed, stable cultural institutions and small, but vibrant and constantly changing independent cultural scene in Zagreb? One of the solutions that the independent culture scene in Zagreb found was establishing its own institution based on the model of civil-public partnership. Pogon – Zagreb Centre for Independent Culture and Youth was established 10 years ago with the goal of providing stable spatial and technical support for cultural and youth programmes of Zagreb-based organisations free of charge. Pogon brought institutional innovation to the Croatian cultural sector, and serves as an inspiration to many institutions abroad too. Of course, the road to establishing such an institution was a long and bumpy one, paved with advocacy, protests, struggles…
In this tour, employees of Pogon will present the cultural context in which Pogon was established, describe the institutional innovation that drives it, the current functioning with all of its challenges, and plans for reconstruction of the ex-factory building Jedinstvo that should happen in the following years.

22. Democratizing decision-making in city neighborhoods – the story of the Trešnjevka neighborhood and the first neighborhood assembly in twenty years
🗣️ Tour guide Iva Marčetić
Zagreb consists of 17 administrative “city quarters” and 218 neighborhoods. All of them have their local councils and many of the local councilmen and -women are rarely to be seen and heard. In the part of the city called Trešnjevka citizens and activists demanded that their local councils finally start working for them. Trešnjevka was, before the transition, part of the city with predominantly family houses and collective housing buildings scattered among green parcels of low density neighborhoods. In the ‘90sit became attractive to the developers who turned small parcels of family houses of Trešnjevka into a collection of dense neighborhoods lacking in parks, recreation and other public services. This was possible due to the gray area in the Masterplan and the laws, thus making Trešnjevka the most desirable part of the city for early speculative practices of the changing system. Because of its proximity to the city center, prices grew in this part of the city, just like its popularity among very shady investors. Trešnjevka became expensive to buy, but hard to live in, being the hottest neighborhood in the city during the summer and hardest to navigate if you were looking for any kind of spaces for leisure. However, not much resistance happened until the City attacked the last of the green spaces that were not taken over by development. The City greenlit the development of luxury apartments that needed one of the last Trešnjevka’s green spaces. A citizen initiative was formed, and for the first time in twenty years (the first time ever since the beginning of the ‘90s) it pressured its local council to organize a citizen assembly, where, according to the City Statute, citizens can oblige their local council to respect their decision.
During the walk we will visit what is left of Trešnjevka’s green space and talk to the local initiative about their experience in challenging the status quo and demanding the democratization of decision-making when it comes to their surroundings and their health.

23. Intercultural practices in Zagreb – story of the Dugave neighborhood
🗣️ Tour guide Iva Zenzerović
You are welcome to join us on a “Refugees Welcome” walk through Dugave, a neighbourhood on Zagreb’s periphery where the Reception Centre for Asylum seekers Porin is situated. We will present some welcoming activities organized by local initiatives and non-state actors, as well as some of the barriers set up by the state. We will start the walk in front of Porin. From 200 to 500 people live there while waiting for a positive or negative decision. From there we will walk to the football field in Dugave where the football team Zagreb 041 play. Zagreb 041 is a rarity: maybe the only openly antifascist and antiracist football team from Zagreb with the goal of bringing football to common people and engaging actively to fight discrimination. The club has also made its contribution to the integration of refugees by including senior refugees in training and playing for the team, and organizing football school for children from refugee and domestic communities. The final point of our walk will be the People’s Library Dugave, where the Civic Initiative Dugave organizes a number of activities aiming to bring different refugees’ cultures closer to the Dugave neighborhood. The work of Civic initiative Dugave will be one of the foundations for the future Intercultural Social Centre, which the platform of organizations Upgrade is trying to establish.

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