Park church Savica, Croatia

The local people of Zagreb neighborhood Savica are opposing the construction of a church in the local park.


The city of Zagreb and the Croatian Catholic Church announced a plan to build a church including the access road and a parking lot over a park in highly urbanized residential area Zagreb neighborhood Savica. Two proposals for the new church design were chosen in a public call in February 2013. However, citizens and park users opposed the plan to build a church in the green area. They consider a church should not be built on the public land as it is not of “public interest”. In May 2013, the citizens organised protests and signed a petition for a new location for the church, which was signed by more than 500 persons. However, the petition was ignored by the city authorities. They justified the decision by the claim that the new church will occupy just a small area of the park and would prevent further construction in the green area. The preparation work begun in September 2014, while the start of construction work was planned for 2015. However, as of 2016, the church is still not built, while the tender for its design is still active.

Basic Data
NamePark church Savica, Croatia
ProvinceZagreb capital
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe plan includes the building of a church, garage for 2 cars, 30 parking places, and two apartments for the parson and the vicar, of 70 and 50 m2, respectively.
Project Area (in hectares)0,16
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population9000
Start Date02/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesThe Croatian Catholic Church from Croatia - Owner of the church
Relevant government actorsThe City of Zagreb
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCitizens Initiatives ’’Čuvamo naš park"
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseThe city authorities disregarded the results of the citizens' petition
Development of AlternativesThe citizens were not against building a church per se, as many of them declared themselves as religious, however they demanded to take a part in a process of choosing another location.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Even though the citizens collected over 500 signatures in the petition against building a new church in the local park, the city of Zagreb and Croatian Catholic Church ignored this and announced a public competition for the preliminary design of the church that is still in 2016.
Sources and Materials

Gradnja crkve na Savici počinje 2015.
[click to view]

Peticija 500 stanara bez rezultata, crkva na Savici se gradi
[click to view]

Evo što kažu Bandić i Ostojić o gradnji crkve na Savici
[click to view]

Bandić: Crkve na Savici će biti, a svi će biti zadovoljni
[click to view]

Savica kao novo Travno: Na jedinom uređenom parku planira se izgradnja crkve, a postoje alternativne lokacije
[click to view]

Savica je novo Travno
[click to view]

Izgradnja crkve Alojzija Stepinca do kraja 2015. godine
[click to view]

Stanovnici Savice: Nismo protiv Crkve ali želimo da se i nas pita
[click to view]

Stanovnici Savice protiv devastacije parka zasto se crkva radi na gradskoj zemlji
[click to view]

"Za izgradnju crkve, ali na drugom mjestu!"
[click to view]

ŽUPA BL. ALOJZIJA STEPINCA POZIVA SVOJE ŽUPLJANE: ‘Postanite čitači na liturgijskim slavljima’
[click to view]

ŽUPA KOJA 16 GODINA NEMA SVOJU CRKVU! Vlč. Vukmanić: ‘Naša župa prolazi jednu sličnu sudbinu kao i Stepinac’
[click to view]

Ne žele da na preostaloj livadi u kvartu bude - crkva
[click to view]

Media Links

TV coverage of the protest
[click to view]

The citizens’ narattive on the proposed plan
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protesters in the Savica's park The sign reads „We defend our park“
[click to view]

Protest in Savica The citizens in the protest against the city authorities plan to build a church in the local park
[click to view]

Other CommentsThe case of the Savica’s park is not unique. Namely, nine years ago, the city authorities built a church in the green area of the Zagreb neighborhood Travno, despite citizens’ protests. In 2015, the announcement of plans to build churches provoked opposition by the local people of Zagreb neighborhoods Vrbani III and Kajzerica.
Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update14/05/2016