Student workshop on Place making in Zagreb by dr Georgia Butina Watson (UK)

A student workshop was held on 25 January 2017  led by dr Georgia Butina Watson (Oxford Brookes University, UK) and by participation of professor Tihomir Jukić (Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb) and Valentina Gulin Zrnić (City-making project).  The workshop gathered students of ethnology, cultural anthroplogy, sociology, geography and architecture. After an introduction by professor Watson, students discussed examples of place-making in Zagreb (in different parts of the city) and proposed some constructive interventions that could make the space more lively and socially integrative.

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Place Making in Contemporary Zagreb

Problem framing:

Many cities across the world are offering a wealth of socio-economic, cultural and other opportunities that are an important factor in supporting the livelihood of much of the existing population as well as in attracting new urban population. As a result of the continuous urbanisation processes many cities are continually evolving and transforming. Some of these transformations are the results of the urban professionals, some are adaptations made by the residents and users. We are particularly interested today in developing a critical debate and practical solutions to first of all understand these transformations and also to create a vision for achieving  places that are unique, have a strong sense of place identity, and that they offer many opportunities to all of us. These challenges are not only the problem of architects and planners, but also of urban designers, anthropologists, ethnologists, sociologists and others who have an interest in the creation of places fit for 21st century.

Zagreb is a unique city with its many historic neighbourhoods. So, how do we define place-identity of Zagreb and how do we define the future vision for the city or of its particular neighbourhoods?  We can engage as a multidisciplinary professional group to first debate the city’s qualities using an urban design agenda, and then try to engage in a place-making exercise in a part of Zagreb to create a vision that could benefit its users.

Format of the workshop

The workshop is designed to engage a multidisciplinary team of urban professionals, to engage in a collaborative discourse and a place-making exercise, producing ideas through a collage of images, design solutions, urban narratives and other techniques.

Georgia Butina Watson BA MA PhD FRSA is Professor and Research Director of Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. She is also Academician and Regional Co-ordinator of the Academy of Urbanism, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. Until 2015 she was Head of Department of Planning and Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University and Chaired the Oxford Brookes University Research Degree Committee. Her professional background and academic training come from History of Art (University of Zagreb), and from Architecture, Planning and Urban Design (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA and Oxford, UK). She also holds a Certificate in Non-for Profit Governance (Harvard, USA).

Professor Watson also works as an advisor and consultant for UK National and Local Government providing expertise on National planning and urban design matters and in a similar role she has advised the Council of Europe and many international governments and research councils.  During her professional career she has delivered a number of high profile research projects funded by UK and international governments, research councils and other bodies. Some of the key projects were delivered in many parts of Europe (Italy, Slovenia, the Check Republic, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Russia), and in USA, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Qatar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. She has won a number of commendations and national awards for innovative research methods, and has carried out research on perceptual and cognitive experience of places with different age groups, including elderly residents. She is presently Co-directing a number of research projects on Healthy Urban Mobility; Retrofitting Cities 2050 and Resilient Cities; Compact Cities and Social sustainability; and Healthy Cities.

Professor Watson’s professional expertise includes the study of urban history and morphology, place-identity, place-making, new towns, environmental psychology, participatory planning and urban design, sustainable urban design, public/private partnerships in planning and urban design, community development and place-identity,  sustainable cities, urban regeneration and the aesthetics of urbanism. She has published a number of books including  Architecture and the City, Designing Sustainable Cities in the Developing World (with Roger Zetter),  Identity by Design (with Ian Bentley) , Sustaining Cities (edited by Linda Kraus), Retrofitting Cities (with Tim Dixon), and Designing Resilient Cities and Neighbourhoods (with David Sanderson). She has also published a large number of refereed journal articles, co-authored international exhibitions and has been a keynote presenter at many UK and international conferences.

  • Project is supported by Croatian Science Foundation

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  • Project leading institution: Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb

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  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology

    ffzg.unizg.hr/etno
  • Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Department of Geography

    pmf.unizg.hr/geog