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Park church Savica, Croatia


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

Name of conflict:Park church Savica, Croatia
State or province:Zagreb capital
Location of conflict:Zagreb
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 commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The 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:0,16
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:9000
Start of the conflict:02/2013
Company names or state enterprises:The Croatian Catholic Church from Croatia - Owner of the church
Relevant government actors:The City of Zagreb
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Citizens Initiatives ’’Čuvamo naš park"

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development 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-economical 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)
Conflict outcome / response:The city authorities disregarded the results of the citizens' petition
Development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Peticija 500 stanara bez rezultata, crkva na Savici se gradi

Gradnja crkve na Savici počinje 2015.

Bandić: Crkve na Savici će biti, a svi će biti zadovoljni

Savica je novo Travno

Izgradnja crkve Alojzija Stepinca do kraja 2015. godine

Stanovnici Savice: Nismo protiv Crkve ali želimo da se i nas pita

Stanovnici Savice protiv devastacije parka zasto se crkva radi na gradskoj zemlji

"Za izgradnju crkve, ali na drugom mjestu!"

Evo što kažu Bandić i Ostojić o gradnji crkve na Savici

Ne žele da na preostaloj livadi u kvartu bude - crkva

ŽUPA BL. ALOJZIJA STEPINCA POZIVA SVOJE ŽUPLJANE: ‘Postanite čitači na liturgijskim slavljima’

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

Savica kao novo Travno: Na jedinom uređenom parku planira se izgradnja crkve, a postoje alternativne lokacije

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

TV coverage of the protest

The citizens’ narattive on the proposed plan

Other comments:The 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

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update14/05/2016



Protesters in the Savica's park

The sign reads „We defend our park“

Protest in Savica

The citizens in the protest against the city authorities plan to build a church in the local park