If cities want to become truly sustainable, they will have to be shaped and defined by their public spaces – this is particularly relevant in recently post-conflict cities in the process of rapid development and redefinition. The Programme undertook comprehensive participatory processes for designing selected public spaces using Minecraft to raise awareness on public space development and management, urban safety and accessibility for all and engage citizens in urban design solutions development. The programme delivered the first skatepark of Pristina. The experience demonstrated a vast civic mobilization, also boosted by innovative and diverting engagement tools, and an opportunity to strengthen municipal capacities for inclusive project development and community outreach. The programme also contributed to enhanced and constructive inter-ethnic interaction  through the lenses of upgrading quality of life/ public spaces, economic opportunities and connectivity within the city with the youth community, Serbian, Albanian and Roma.

The programme also pioneered the development of Public Space Profiles for both capital cities laying the ground for further development of a city-wide strategy and the localisation of public space related indicators of SDG11.

The programme is implemented in Pristina and Mitrovica North (Kosovo) and Skopje (North Macedonia).

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participants from the community to assess safety and perception of safety in Pristina and Skopje public space to fuel proposals to redesign public spaces and develop more gender-friendly urban design solutions
31%
of the urban territory of the capital city of Pristina is made of open public space (against 45% recommended), 13% allocated to open public spaces excluding streets and parking.

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

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The programme successfully developed and upgraded public space and as such improved living conditions, hygiene, health and safety of local communities. It also enhanced the right of the city for all with a focus on improved public space for women and girls who are often exposed to harassment and other forms of violence which inhibit their right to public space.

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The programme looked for instance at public space with a focus on improved safety for women and girls and produced a dedicated booklet aimed to support primarily the municipal administration and civil society initiatives in designing inclusive, safe and accessible public spaces. The Women Safety Audit experimented in Pristina and Skopje is suggested as a valuable participatory tool to tackle safety and accessibility in public space.

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Minecraft urban design charrettes involved with flying colors the community at large and the youth in particular. The way how they experience design and the urban landscape was reflected in creative and actually inclusive urban solutions encompassing, for instance, the needs of different generations and users.

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The booklet Inclusive, Safe and Accessible Public Space provides concrete tips for designing accessible public space and addressing mobility questions based on lessons learned of the programme and inputs provided by persons with special needs during urban design workshops or safety audits.

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Donors and partners

The programme has been implemented with a wide range of partners. UN-Habitat teamed-up with universities to undertake some analytical work to fuel municipal public space strategies in the making but also to involve students in urban design workshops and concept design work. Communities and NGOs voicing their concerns were at the heart of these collaborative processes without which achievements would not be such as responsive to needs. Moreover, strengthening capacities in public space design and management and policy and tools development at the municipal level through on-the-job assistance and establishing a city to city cooperation mechanisms enabled to reinforce current and future processes as well as essential coordination between different institutions and between institutions and civil society. Results and experience were showcased at a sub-regional level with a view to expanding this initial network of partner promoting and working on public space in the Balkan region.

Our Experts

Gwendoline Mennetrier
UN-Habitat Kosovo
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