Human Rights House Zagreb and Eko-Zadar Held a Round Table on the Subject of Public Space in Zadar

On Monday, February 20, 2017 a round table was held in the Zadar City Library entitled “Civic Discussion: The Future of the Area of Former Army Barracks Stjepan Radić in Zadar”. The activity was carried out in a joint organization by the Human Rights House Zagreb and the association Eko-Zadar, as part of the IPA 2012 Project “Education for Citizens: Citizens for Social Development and Solidarity”. The participants had the opportunity to learn more about the results of the IPA GOO project, as well as on the cooperation of project partners with local initiatives.

Among others, the panelists who talked on the subject were: Šime Erlić, head of the Administrative Department for the EU Funds of the City of Zadar; Mrs. Nina Ninčević, board member of the Association of Architects of Zadar; Diana Magdić, urban sociologist and activist from Split association “Teserakt” and Dražen Hoffmann from Zagreb association GONG, with moderation by Nives Rogoznica from the local association “Eko-Zadar”.

About fifty gathered participants of the round table, were actively engaged in the discussion of issues concerning the future transformation and social repurposing of the area of former “Marko Orešković” military facilities, while of recent times known as the “Stjepan Radić” army barracks.

What approach should be taken in order to transform, i.e. to repurpose this abandoned complex of military facilities handed over to be managed by the state, that would serve the best interests of the local community and different actors of the urban cultural scene and the local civil society and, especially, the needs of actors of the independent cultural scene – was the main outline of the last night’s discussion, among citizens and members of different local associations and informal collectives.

In addition to the tireless work of the Zadar City Library and all its employees, as a particularly progressive example of “taking over” and reinterpreting the social purpose of the area of former military barracks in favor of the local community, it is worth pointing out the work of the Zadar independent cultural collective “Nigdjezemska”. This collective, despite or just because of the absence of any official initiative by the city authorities, independently started implementing its own programs by “taking over” one of the existing buildings of the former barracks; while still continuing with its further creative development.

What should also be noted as a particularly positive surprise was the participation of a large number of elderly neighbors from the local city district of Voštarnica, which themselves took an active part in the last night’s discussion. It is to be hoped that they will also take an active part in the future joint effort to re-create the space and actively create the missing contents, which would improve the living conditions of the local community.


Photo: Mladen Masar, Zadar City Library

This activity was carried out with financial support from the European Union and The Government of the Republic of Croatia – Office for Cooperation with NGOs, within the framework of the IPA Project “Education for Citizens – Citizens for Social Development and Solidarity” (IPA2012-01-35-010209).