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Pilot project on the revitalization of Prague´s housing estates

In October 2015 the City of Prague took the decision to actively and systematically support the quality of living in its housing estates which represent 40% of the city´s inhabitants. The Prague City Council passed a resolution to approve its involvement in a pilot project and preparation of the revitalization plan for the selected location of Vybíralka courtyard and its surroundings.

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The first residents moved into the courtyard Vybíralova in East Prague already 25 years ago and today there are living three and a half thousand people. Since that time the city authorities have shown little interest in it, like in most of the other housing estates on the outskirts of the capital. The difficulty of managing the public spaces in these areas are the major challenge today and the result is extensive green areas with unkempt shrubs and trees, or poorly maintained pavements.

The Vybíralka courtyard forms the urbanistic core of the eastern part of Černý Most and concentrates in itself a majority of typical properties of housing estate development. There is no efficient management and maintenance of public spaces and facilities from a complex web of ownership regulations. The fact that the courtyard has been unnaturally carved up by a number of physical and mental barriers, while being insufficiently linked to the rest of the housing estate and that local residents also complain of a lack of places for leisure activities shows as well the need of action.

 

Goal and revitalization plan fot Vybíralka courtyard

Caused by the general problem in public spaces of housing estates in Prague and the problems in the Vybíralka area and its surrounding, a revitalization plan shall help to the renovation and improvement of the physical environment in Vybíralka. The goal is to propose economically efficient and simple modifications, which have direct and immediate impact on the quality of environment and consequently on the quality of life. The revitalization plan is based on the needs of the locality and its inhabitants and according to strategic interests of the involved stakeholders.

The strategy of the plan considers the improvement of the quality of environment and of administrative and maintenance systems, optimum solutions for use of public spaces in the housing estate, the strengthening of the inhabitant´s relationship to Vybíralka as their home and the support and showcase of qualities of housing estate. As well the improvement of the image of the “communist” housing estate shall be changed.

Who is involved in the project?

The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) and the Prague 14 District are the main stakeholders in this project and share the responsibility for the participation process, for the preparation of the revitalisation plan and the delivery to Prague 14 District representatives. Another actor is the city hall of Prague as the owner and administrator of the majority of land and public areas at Vybíralka. Besides these three stakeholders, two local initiatives such as Praha 14 Kulturní & Plechárna Černý Most take part in the project. These organizations are financed by Prague 14 and aim to support local culture, to improve the quality of housing and creators and to manage cultural and leisure programs, events and activities. Anthropictures, an independend research organization who is expert on local communities and consultant of the project´s content participates as well. The general public is another important stakeholder group in the process. This group embraces inhabitants of Vybíralka location and its surrounding area and, people attending the area for several reasons (school, interest in the project).

Milestones of the project

Jul – Sep 2015: Preparation of the pilot project (Initiation Phase)
Oct 2015: Approval of the Prague City Council of the project
Autumn 2015:  “Autumn 2015" – the Vybíralka 25 festival
November 2015: Urban walks and first pre-planning workshop
Dec 2015 – May 2016: Expert analyses (Analytical Phase)
March 2016 – February 2017: Planning (Planning Phase)
Mar - May 2016: Exhibition “Vybíralka25”
March – May 2015: Four workshops with stakeholders about the topics mobility, greenery & maintenance and leisure, culture and activities
June 2016: Revitalization Plan (draft)
Jul – Dec 2016: Consultation of draft Plan with involved stakeholders and institutions, technical and financial feasibility
  Creation of a revitalization plan with the results of various analyses and outcomes of the participation processes implemented
Nov 2016: Final revitalization proposal exhibition and public consultation
February 2017: Approval of the Revitalization Plan by the City
Future: Project preparation and Implementation of the revitalization plan
  Evaluation of the pilot project
  Drafting city-wide measures (Housing Estates Revitalization Program)

                                

Pilot project and transfer of knowledge

The project is a pilot project because it addresses a long-neglected issue of housing estate problems on a city-wide level, it endeavours to an active involvement of all interested stakeholders in the process and it focuses to find sustainable and convenient solutions for the location, which fit to the local needs and its inhabitants. As well it is a trend-setting project because the local actors are actively involved in the process and conduct local community-based and cultural activities. The knowledge and expertise gained in the Vybíralka project shall be transferred to universal conceptual documents. Based on the experience gained through the process and results of these pilot projects IPR Prague will draft a methodology for the development of Prague´s housing estates, including proposals for specific measures at the city-wide level and guidelines for the implementation of instruments at the local level (city boroughs). Due to this IPR Prague pursues improvement of the public spaces and the involvement of the public in the planning process. Therefore IPR Prague examines the ongoing process as well as the role of art and culture within the planning process.

 

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