The citizens have decided: We want a green and healthy city

Dec 7, 2014

photo: undp croatia

Supporting public transportation and cycling infrastructure, more jobs, and recycling are the things that are the most important for the citizens of Zagreb. Those are the key results of a survey that involved nearly 350 participants, and was conducted as part of the development of low-carbon vision for the City of Zagreb by 2050.

The results were also used as an input for the first POCACITO workshop, organized by UNDP Croatia on November 19 in HUB Zagreb.

The workshop opened a process on the creation of a Roadmap for the Post Carbon City of Zagreb in whose creation a diverse interdisciplinary team of experts and activists are involved, such as urban planners, architects, engineers, energy experts, political scientist, sociologists, social economists, social workers and health workers.

The City of Zagreb is currently without an active strategic plan so the participation of representatives from the City Office for the Strategic Planning and Development of City was very important. The majority of participants already knew each other from a related event titled Shifting towards low carbon cities, organized in May 2014 during Zagreb Energy Week.

The workshop participants were asked to unleash their minds and creative expressions by creating drawings and mental maps. The results of this exercise were organized in a few main areas that show how Zagreb could look in 2050.

That was followed by group work which helped participants shape their vision narratives. These narratives were seen as the main output of the workshop which is going to be used further in the process.

Identifying steps to develop a low-carbon city

Creating a vision of a desired future is one thing, but how to identify the steps to actually get there? That was the theme of the second POCACITO workshop organized by UNDP Croatia in HUB Zagreb on December 2.

It came barely two weeks after the first workshop so participants’ memories and vision narratives that were created during the first workshop were still fresh. During the first part of the workshop a heated discussion took place in defining the final vision of the City of Zagreb.

Although almost every participant had their own view on the most important aspects of the vision, eventually they came up with a narrative which pleased them all.

The backcasting method was used for identifying the structures and institutions needed to make the Vision a reality: Where should we start and what we have already done that might also be useful?

In the first round, key drivers that may influence the anticipated Vision such as climate change was presented. After this was done, the backcasting began in two stages. Firstly, workshop participants made ‘The Transition Timeline’ – a long board showing a line running from 2015 to 2050, on to which people were invited to post opportunities, challenges, milestones and objectives written on Post-it notes.

Secondly, workshop participants were invited to backcast in groups, exchange ideas and to work together to identify the strategic objectives and measures in the journey towards the future they have envisioned.

Participants expressed their satisfaction with the process of shaping low carbon pathways for the City of Zagreb, hoping that this process will be followed by real actions that will turn their vision into a reality.