LED2LEAP 2021 - Zagreb Team 3

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Area 22km, from center of Zagreb to center of Dugo Selo
Place Zagreb
Country Croatia
Topics Landscape democracy, community, participation, integration
Author(s) Nina Herr, Kristina Komšo, Lucija Korić, Paula Kovač, Paola Modrić, Tina Radić, Kristina Tomaša


Landscape Democracy Rationale

The landscape is a place where different groups of people come together, accessible to everyone and anytime, a place of gathering and entertainment. Especially if it is a space that connects several different communities and even two cities, it is important to have a good understanding of all the needs of users. Communication with people (users of space) is the starting point, from which we should start, when planning the design of location. Each space has its own curiosities and problems that need to be solved in collaboration with people.

Location and scope

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Phase A: Mapping Your Community

Welcome to Our Community and Their Landscape

The cycleway is located in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia and it's about 22 km long and it stretches along the railway from the center of Zagreb to the eastern city edge to center of city Dugo Selo. Since the cycleway passes through half the city it is connected to the whole range of content, purpose, landscapes and communities. There is also big diversity in surrounding environment which consists of a dense urban matrix through residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, nature protected areas all the way to the outlying rural parts of the city, agricultural areas, forests and villages.

Main spatial problems are:

  • discontinuity of the highway
  • the current inadequate width
  • the railway that acts as an obstacle in space, it divides the city of Zagreb into two parts: north and south and act as border between the neighborhoods

Main challenges are:

  • providing space for all users
  • creating a safe space without conflicts
  • to reconcile jazz between all social groups / provide a sense of welcome
  • integrating the cycleway with the whole city and it's open public spaces

Brownfield locations

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Groups of Actors and Stakeholders in Your Community

Groups of actors and stakeholders are divided here in three grups: primary, secondary and tertiary users.

The first group includes users who live closest to the cycleway; such as: cyclists, recreational users, students, youth, elderly people, families, people going to and from work and shop owners. The second group of users are users who don't live relatively close by, but do come often to the area. Those People are: pedestrians, dog walkers, rollerskaters, children playing in nearby parks, people living nearby, low socioeconomic housing and romani people. And the third group includes people who live furthest from the cycleway, like local political groups, brownfield owners, local committees, pupils, students, organized groups and religious communities.

Needs of each group are different and each has its own priorities. Our goal is to gather everyone's wishes and needs and put them together in the best possible strategy. While some need a direct route from home to work, others would like to enjoy the nature that stretches along the cycleway. Some people need safety during a walk or a light ride, and larger groups may want to use the trail exclusively for recreation.

Relationships Between Your Actors and Groups

Since there are a diverse number of users on our track at different times of the day, as well as at different ages, it is unlikely that the whole community will be in good relationships. Their place of residence does not play a big role.

We can see the worst connection is with the Roman community and a large number of users. A very weak link is that between students and older people, as well as the younger generation and children. A good connection can be noticed for example between cyclists and rollerbladers, and walkers and dog walkers.

When it comes to the notion of power, the greatest power have actors who don't actually live in or close to the area. Politicians, and in a way local communities that live there, who do have some power but do not use it. On the other hand students, cyclists, young people, those who go to work by bicycle have some power because they are the ones who use the space the most and it is up to them to express an opinion on what the space should look like to those who have more power. While the users who have no power are children, elderly population and the Roma community.

Summary of Your Learnings from the Transnational Discussion Panel

We learned about parallel international projects in other countries and we really liked to see different ways of analysis, different approaches and different graphic expression towards a similar problem that we all solve. We think it is very useful to have an insight into other people's ways of working and visual thinking so that we can broaden our own horizons and ways of thinking.

Theory Reflection

Disorientation as learning objective: Applying transformational Learning Theory in Participatory Action Pedagogy We don’t want people to feel neglected. Therefore, it is important to include them in the very beginning of the design and planning process, without prejudices. We as planners, need to be open to all community advices and comments because each member sees the world from their own perspective. We create the world for people and not in our memory.

Design for Ecological Democracy The way we presently inhabit the earth is not sustainable, and the root to the majority of critical issues lays in urbanity. Poor city design divides us from others in our communities and destroy natural habitats. Instead of destroying forests to build highways that are still unable to relieve traffic congestion, that are adding to greenhouse effect etc.m and then hiring ‘’experts’’ to fix the problem, we need real experts who will not allow such things in the first place. We need to design cities that take advantage of natural factors, that are inspired by their regional characteristics and are connecting communities instead of dividing them.

Pledge for a transformative science Development catalyzed by scientific knowledge may sometimes interfere with natural and human systems and produce unintended ecological and social side effects. Humanity has to find a way of dealing with these processes and organize societal systems differently. In order to deal with these challenges science needs to change from its descriptive functions and cooperate with non-academic actors to achieve shared goals

Landscape convention -The importance of acting locally -Keeping people updated about developments and encouraging their engagement through various polls, referendums, workshops, public debates, etc. -Not relying solely on hi-tech solutions for global warming and other forms of devastation of landscapes, but through learning about the ways in which our ancestors managed -Landscape and culture should be observe as a unity, rather than separate entities, in order to assess the needs of the habitants of spaces in question more accurately

Landscape concepts The literature was useful for understanding the landscape at the concept level. It shows its non-continuous development throughout history. ‘From painting to real space’ - created the ideal of the landscape. The contrast between the village and the city can be connected with the cycleway since it passes partly through the city and partly through the rural area. The landscape, which is understood as a rural one, gets the connotation of freedom - which drives the inhabitants out and into nature as a break from the social constraints and social narrowness of the city, which the cycleway would provide to the users.


- Schneidewind, Uwe et al (2016): Pledge for a Transformative Science

- A conceptual framework

- Council of Europe (2000):The European Landscape Convention

- Landscape Convention Contribution to human rights, democracy and sustainable development

- LED Team (2019):Landscape Education for Democracy

- Kühne, Olaf (2015): Landscape Concepts

- Kühne, Bruns et al: Landscape Culture - Culturing Landscapes

- Hester, Randolph (2006): Design for Ecological Democracy

- Wilson, Barbara (2020): Disorientation as a Learning Objective

- https://thenounproject.com/

Phase B: Democratic Landscape Analysis and Assessment

Paula Kovač and Anna Kulperová Correspondence

Through our discussion, we've noticed the communities we're working with are facing similar issues, for example the question of how to integrate minorities, namely the Roma people. We've also reflected on how cultural events can bring community members closer together through group efforts needed for those kind of festivities to take place. Elitism among expert circles has also come up, and the fact that through our studies we haven't really been introduced to the concept of democratic participation. Our cultural similarities (Slovakia and Croatia) have made this an interesting discussion.

Kristina Komšo and Klaudia Dočekalová Correspondence

Klaudia and I first heard from each other via Gmail and immediately converted to Facebook. We started to get to know each other, where are we from, what are our interests and opinions on LED2LEAP seminar and general education. Conversations with Klaudia were interesting and thoughtful and I enjoyed our short ‘friendship’ a lot. It was completely new experience for me and it has given me more confidence in sharing professional opinions with someone I don’t know. We shared quality discussions and had no problem to present opposite opinions and explain them to each other. There was no judging, only validation of each others opinion.

Kristina Tomaša and Digjam Tandel Correspondence

My partner Digjam and I first spoke through email email, exchanged numbers and then switched our communication via Whatsapp. We agreed that in addition to commenting our given literature we would take out notes ww found important in order to get the most out of it, so that is what you can see on the picture. We mainly agreed in our discussions and we both found it important to finish the books when we find the time so we can implement what we read in our work as professionals one day. We both agree that 'Design as democracy' was the most interesting and fun for us to read and to identify with. We came to the conclusion that although we live in two very distant countries and are working on a different projects, the problems and processes in the landscape democracy are very similar, if not the same.

Tina Radić and Sara Santos Correspondence

It was very interesting to see how many of the same challenges me and Sara (my pen pal) have. We started communicating by getting to know each other, getting to know each other, exchanging ideas and talking about our own projects. Each of us gave our comments on parts of the book, which we then compared to some of our projects and noticed how many important things can affect the project. It was very interesting for me to hear the ways in which other people solve the same challenges that are found in landscape. In the end, partnerships between planners and users is very important, but so is the exchange of experiences and ideas among ourselves.

Paola Modrić and Stefano Tagliatti Correspondence

Our work started by hearing each other via email, exchanging the necessary pdf documents for reading and agreeing on which ones to read first. We first read Design as democracy chapter 2. Then we read Community matters and finally Introduction at the Boundaries. We exchanged a couple of emails about each document readings and discussed them. We later attached screenshots of mails and brief descriptions of documents to the mural.

Lucija Korić and Zuzana's Correspondence

My pen pal was Zuzana, student from Slovakia and we are the same age, so we compared ours situation on university and in general in our countries. We agreed that we have the same problems and that is with doing only „fictional“ projects and not something that will be realized, and because of that we don't take that projects as seriously as we would if it would be actually realized and that means that we don't learn so much about community in practice. We also discussed some quotes and what we found valuable for our future projects.

Phase C: Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

The Scene in Your Story of Visioning

As we already mentioned before; the cycleway is located in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia and it's about 22 km long and it stretches along the railway from the center of Zagreb to the eastern city edge to center of city Dugo Selo. Since the cycleway passes through half the city it is connected to the whole range of content, purpose, landscapes and communities. There is also big diversity in surrounding environment which consists of a dense urban matrix through residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, nature protected areas all the way to the outlying rural parts of the city, agricultural areas, forests and villages.



  • How to reconcile conflicts between disturbed community relations?
  • How to approach the town planning board and present them different needs from a variety of users?
  • How to achieve good communication between the users of the space and the planners/designers?
  • How to get insight into the wants and needs of potential users of the future cycleway and the communities adjacent to it, considering its length?
  • How to persuade the state leadership to take the necessary measures to change people's attitude towards traffic and replace the car with a bicycle ?


  • How to provide space for everybody and for each community to consider cycling 'their own‘?
  • How to connect remote parts of different communities that are linked to cycleway?
  • How to encourage the community to think and create the VISION of the space they want to realize?

PROBLEM- STATEMENT:  How to deal with property issues?

  • The route of the new cycleway would have to take up parts of land belonging to private owners and Croatian Railways.

The Actors in Your Story of Visioning

THE MAYOR With recent trends encouraging using sustainable means of commuting in order to help battle negative effects of CO2 pollution, the mayor and the city administration would endorse building a better inter-city cycling infrastructure, as well as the cycleway project. He would discourage traveling by car through setting up stricter restrictions in the city center, thus making it a safer place for cyclists.

AN EXPERT Professionals such as urban planners, landscape architects, architects, sociologists, etc. should firstly listen to the wishes and needs of community users and focus their expertise on trying to produce the best design possible.

A STUDENT  Not all students who live further away from their faculty building are in the position to own a car, so it is easier for them to choose different means of transport - a bicycle. It is important to them that they can commute quickly and without the risk of running late.

A CYCLIST They want to be able to get to their workplaces in a different town, and at the same time do what they love most – cycling. Unfortunately, due to the lacking infrastructure, they are unable to do so, without getting themselves into potentially dangerous situations, cruising between cars at stops and trying not to get run over. The project might catch their eye, and they would be more than willing to take part in it by sharing their experience.

A FAMILY  It is important for families to have safe spaces they can take their children to, such as playgrounds with various accompanying facilities, such as public restrooms, sources of drinking water, picnic tables, outdoor grills, snack bars or similar content that encourages social interaction.

AN ELDERLY PERSON  Older people are also part of the community and want safe recreational spaces as well as places where they could meet up with their friends, spend time with their grandchildren out in the open, or take their pets on walks.

A FARMER There could potentially be issues regarding property matters concerning the ownership of the agricultural land through which the future cycleway is going to pass. Owners would need to be willing to participate, and so the parts of land in question would have to be bought or leased.

A MEMBER OF THE ROMA COMMUNITY  Roma are also part of the community and are often discriminated against, but this issue is continually pushed under the rug. It would be desirable to involve them more in the community as well as in the planning process because they have the potential of being active community members.

The Story of Visioning

  • Currently Zagreb is facing great changes, after 20+ years new mayor is elected and now is a great time to present our ideas for the cycleway project.
  • In collaboration with the City Office for Strategic Planning and Development of the Zagreb City there will be organized conferences, consultation, discussions and workshops to set some project goals, problems, parameters and next steps.
  • Assembling committees of experts (urban planners, landscape architects, architects, designers, sociologists, etc.) to discuss and brainstorm about issues regarding the future project in order to come up with new ideas and concepts  → with results that are going to determine further action
  • The next step is giving a presentation about all collected information to the public, local boards, civil association etc.
  • Creating an online platform on which people could give their insight through a questionnaire - the platform would be available to anyone to view and/or contribute to, and the place where the whole visioning process is going to be recorded.
  • Going on sensory walks/ community led walks in community with the community and listening to their stories and thoughts about their neighborhood and how will project itself change things for them.
  • Organizing interdisciplinary workshops with the community to find out first hand the wishes, needs, goals and visions of the community which will later on be integrated into the project.
  • At the end of that first period, all findings will be evaluated and gathered into a synthesis, which is going to be used to create the final report → given to the mayor and made available to the public.
  • Requesting implementation of the project into existing development plans
  • Changing existing urban plans and regulations
  • Dealing with property issues and various permits
  • Preparations for the tendering process
  • Dealing with financial issues – seeking funding from the European Union
  • Tendering
  • Execution of the project
  • Evaluating the whole process

Reflect on Your Story of Visioning

These are the things we found important and useful to consider during our process

Phase D: Collaborative Design, Transformation and Planning

Your Prototyping Action

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The Evolution of Your Prototyping Action

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The Plan Behind Your Prototyping Action

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The Realization of Your Prototyping Action

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Reflect on Your Prototyping Action

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Phase E: Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agendas

Collaborative Evaluation and Landscape Democracy Reflection

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The Actors in your Collaborative Evaluation

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Reflection on the Online Seminar

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Reflection on the Living Lab Process

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Your Living Lab Code of Conduct

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Process Reflection

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