LED2LEAP 2021 - Zagreb Team 1

From Ledwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

>>>back to working groups overview

For help with editing this Wiki page use this link.

For assignments and key readings use this link.

Area Vuger Valley
Place Sesvete (City of Zagreb)
Country Croatia
Topics community, active listening, participation, reflexivity
Author(s) Katarina Adulmar, Rea Badanjak, Lara Ćuk, Antonia Čubelić, Gabrijela Hercigonja, Lovro Kolarić, Bruno Krehula, Aurora Mihatov, Lara Spajić

Landscape Democracy Rationale

One of the main problems that Vuger Valley faces is pollution and neglect since its significance is not fully recognized by the community. We noticed that communities differ from each other according to socio-economic, cultural, and religious characteristics, resulting in mutual animosity. Our main goal is to turn the green space of the Vuger stream into a space that unites and reconciles members of the Sesvete community.

Location and Scope

Vuger Valley is situated in the eastern part of Zagreb, where it flows from the nature park Medvednica (which is located up north), through Sesvete and its surrounding settlements, and ends with the river Sava.

The biggest settlement in the Vuger Valley is Sesvete, a city district in the eastern part of Zagreb. It is a mixture of urbanized landscape and traditional rural areas due to its position between Zagreb and surrounding settlements. This position, as well as major traffic lanes, mark it as a transitional zone with a lot of traffic going through every day.

Loading map...

Phase A: Mapping Your Community

Welcome to Your Community and Their Landscape

  • The area of Vuger Valley has 3 main landscape types – natural, rural/traditional and urban/industrial. The rural areas with active agricultural fields and traditional smaller houses can be found up north from Sesvete, while the center and south of Sesvete are more urban and industrial with apartment buildings, industrial complexes, and shopping centers.

The different types of landscapes, as well as different levels of urbanization, have affected the Vuger stream as well. Its characteristics change from being a completely natural stream up north to a channelized stream majority of the flow. The Vuger stream has a lot of tributaries that were formerly used for agricultural irrigation and mills. But now they face degradation and pollution due to neglect and inappropriate maintenance.

As the biggest settlement in the Vuger Valley, Sesvete was chosen as the scope for landscape democracy research topic. The Sesvete city district occupies 26% of the City of Zagreb and is home to 9% of the population. It is the largest city district considering its area and population. The spatial distribution of inhabitants is not uniformed, the urban part having a much bigger population than the rest of the district of Sesvete. The average age is 38 years since it’s populated mainly by younger families. The share of the highly educated population is 14%, 20% has primary, and 57% secondary education. The population of Sesvete started to grow in the 1970s when newcomers from Bosnia begin to migrate to Sesvete. Also, the population of the City of Zagreb started to decline in the 1990s (post-war) while the population of Sesvete continues to grow. The main challenges are identity conflict(s) and antagonism among different communities who live in Sesvete (e.g., native inhabitants from Prigorje and newcomers from Bosnia)

Groups of Actors and Stakeholders in Your Community

Sesvete has cultural differences between communities, which makes it rich in diversity. It is a result of influences from different cultures, industrialization, and wars throughout history. The most prominent groups are the native people from Prigorje, the Roma community, and Bosnian and Herzegovinian settlers. Religion, socioeconomic status, and age formed multilayered communities which encompass all ethnic groups; seniors and people with disabilities, families, the Church, and other religious communities, as well as Non-government organizations.

Relationships Between Your Actors and Groups

Society in Croatia, in general, is one of deep division on many levels, and the communities in Sesvete are no different. Be it on an ethnic basis, political views, age differences, social or economical status. It’s as if people have an easier time finding their differences than common ground. Regarding Sesvete, the most prominent are identity conflicts, differences between socio-economical status, and political views between the native residents from Prigorje, Bosnian settlers, the Roma community, and seniors and people with disabilities. These differences and conflicts are manifested in mutual competition about who has more rights in the community and decision-making. Despite these differences, they do have shared interests, like better stream maintenance and more activities and inclusive contents in open green spaces.

We noticed a system of the power hierarchy in Sesvete, comprised of several layers of community. Such a system produces conflict between the “higher-ups” or government and the general public, mainly caused by corruption in all levels of government and a feeling of exclusion from decision-making. The second one is between the general public and academic society defined by mistrust towards experts. Although the general public has the opportunity to participate in public hearings, they lack the motivation because they see public hearings as charades. In addition, the general public is perceived as incompetent individuals from an expert’s point of view. Since they have extensive knowledge on the issue, the NGOs serve as mediators between the public, experts, and government officials. They also fulfill the role of educators for all those concerned.

Summary of Your Learnings from the Transnational Discussion Panel

Participation of students from different Universities enabled an exchange of ideas and thoughts through which participants gained valuable insight into different problem-solving processes. This experience will help in the further development of the project.

Theory Reflection

Going through the key readings we came across some interesting thesis that we find applicable for the challenges our communities are facing.

LED Team (2019), Landscape Education for Democracy

  • “The healthy redevelopment of a community should be grounded in a deeper understanding of individual relationships to the landscape (the story of me), transformed into a set of shared goals and priorities (a story of now), and result in a ‘story of us’, a shared vision for the future of the landscapes (Ganz 2011, Ruggeri 2018).”
  • “Democracy is a strategy to build up the compromise as a conscious space for a possible coexistence.”
  • “Local communities are to be considered not only as principal protagonist of landscape analysis but also as the principal agents of transforming and managing landscapes.”

Landscape Convention Contribution to human rights, democracy and sustainable development (Council of Europe, 2018)

  • “People who live in the area will have a different sense of identity from others who are merely passing through, yet whatever their various perceptions, everyone has a right to landscape, even if they do not necessarily own the land in question. It is clear that the local level is the one that is most in tune with the wishes of the individuals and groups directly concerned, whereas the international level is highly dependent on processes that the general public finds it difficult to control.”

European Charter on Participatory Democracy in Spatial Planning Processes (2016)

  • “Considering the recognition and enhancement of the role played by the civil society through associations and groups of individuals, as key player and driving force in developing and sustaining a true Participatory Democracy.”

Hester, Randolph (2006) Design for Ecological Democracy

  • “Ecological democracy represents the best possible life we can achieve. Ecological democracy, then, is government by the people emphasizing direct, hands-on involvement. Actions are guided by understanding natural processes and social relationships within our locality and the larger environmental context. To achieve an effective ecological democracy, er must first create places that enable citizens to connect with neighbors in their localities.”

Wilson, Barbara (2020) Disorientation as a Learning Objective

  • „First, do no harm“ - ethic as the baseline for every action
  • Community-driven design – "practical approach to implementing theories of design justice that critique traditional participatory design as falling short of its promise of redressing inequity, and supplants a focus on process with a focus on the redistribution of decision-making power and resources"
  • "Community-engaged learning can destabilize long-held, but inaccurate assumptions; illustrate the importance of planning policies and programs focused on equitable impacts; buttress student learning about multiculturalism and structural inequalities through collaborative action."


  • LED Team (2019), Landscape Education for Democracy
  • Landscape Convention Contribution to human rights, democracy and sustainable development (Council of Europe, 2018)
  • European Charter on Participatory Democracy in Spatial Planning Processes (2016)
  • Hester, Randolph (2006) Design for Ecological Democracy
  • Wilson, Barbara (2020) Disorientation as a Learning Objective

Phase B: Democratic Landscape Analysis and Assessment

Lara Spajić and Yara Karazi Correspondence

My partner Yara and I met one day before our discussion class because we both lost our initial discussion partners. We only had one day to discuss the readings and prepare our mural for the class. We decided to chat on WhatsApp and first, we talked a bit about ourselves to get to know each other better. My partner was very friendly and kind, so I enjoyed our conversation very much. Both of us liked Design as Democracy the most so we discussed it first. We both read chapter 2, and we both liked the “Piga Picha” technique the most. Also, it was interesting for us to think about how applicable the techniques are in today’s time of global pandemic and social distancing. At the Boundaries we both did not like it because it was confusing reading for both of us. There was a lot of information and in the end, I felt overwhelmed, but I liked the concept of Service learning. Yara’s impression is that the text is misleading. In the end, we discussed Community matters. For Yara, the topic was interesting and direct to the point. For me it was interesting reading as well, I liked different definitions of community. All in all, I liked this task because I made a new friend from a different country. 😊

Antonia Čubelić and Alberto Grassetti Correspondence

My partner Alberto and I spoke exclusively through letters we sent over email. The idea came from Alberto since he was the first one to send a letter in a pdf format. The correspondence was very fun and light-hearted. The first week of correspondence was spent getting to know each other by learning about our Universities, hobbies, interests, and LED projects. In the second week, we focused more on the readings and our thoughts on it, since we found out we had a week until the presentation. We started with „Why Community matters?“, then „At the boundaries“ and finished with the second chapter of „Design as Democracy“. We mostly agreed on our thoughts and comments, and we both found it important to implement what we read in our studies and later work as professionals. The main points we both agreed on are the importance of the identity of the community and including communities in our design process. Other main points we both agreed on were the need of implementing 'service learning' and a new approach in teaching at our faculties. We saw the lack of these principles in both our cases as an architectural engineer in Italy and landscape architect in Croatia. This assignment was refreshing and rewarding, in a sense it gave me a chance to make a friend from abroad and exchange ideas with someone with different cultural and educational background from me.

Gabrijela Hercigonja and Francesca Pinotti Correspondence

Francesca and I first heard each other via email. We later resumed the conversation on Facebook. Opinions about reading were quite similar, so we agreed on everything.

Your Name and Partner's Name Correspondence

Your Name and Partner's Name Correspondence

Phase C: Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

The Scene in Your Story of Visioning

  • insert text here

The Actors in Your Story of Visioning

  • insert text here

The Story of Visioning

  • insert text here

Reflect on Your Story of Visioning

  • insert text here

Phase D: Collaborative Design, Transformation and Planning

Your Prototyping Action

  • insert text here

The Evolution of Your Prototyping Action

  • insert text here

The Plan Behind Your Prototyping Action

  • insert text here

The Realization of Your Prototyping Action

  • insert text here

Reflect on Your Prototyping Action

  • insert text here

Phase E: Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agendas

Collaborative Evaluation and Landscape Democracy Reflection

  • insert text here

The Actors in your Collaborative Evaluation

  • insert text here

Reflection on the Online Seminar

  • insert text here

Reflection on the Living Lab Process

  • insert text here

Your Living Lab Code of Conduct

  • insert text here

Process Reflection

  • insert text here