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Flower market Square Redevelopment Plan, Zagreb, Croatia


Description:

The changes of the Urban Plan of the City of Zagreb from 2007 included changes that allowed for redevelopment of popular historic public square Cvjetni trg (Flower market Square). HOTO Group, owned by developer and real-estate tycoon Tomislav Horvatinčić, signed the contract with the city authority which allowed them construct a business center and underground garage. The construction plan also included construction of access ramps to underground private garage which would destroy the Varšavska Street pedestrian zone which provoked massive reaction of civil society groups among others Zelena Akcija (Green Action- Friends of the Earth Croatia) and Right to a City initiative (Pravo na grad) complaining on economic exploitation and commercialization of public space and exclusion of citizens from decision making processes. These organisations also formed a group of experts in urban planning and organised protests obstructing the construction work in the street, signing petition (around 55,000 people), as well as many small illegal actions and artistic performances. The first big protest with around 5,000 citizens was organised in 2010 during the voting procedure in which the city assembly accepted the plan. The protest resulted in arrests of around 140 protesters. The protests continued for 33 consecutive days, including the street blockade and presence of large number of policemen. The protesters called on the city Mayor and the Minister of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction to resign, as well as have been criticizing the work of the State Attorney (DORH) which previously issued a statement on possible legal irregularities and corruption in the project, but has been holding off the process.

Green Action has subject of a series of political pressures, such as fees imposed by Zagreb City Council in total around EUR 70 000 base on the supposed illegal using of the storage area of the city owned building where the NGO offices were located, as well as by cutting off the finances for some of the long-time projects. The city mayor accused the NGOs of ‘preventing development’. The center and the access ramp in Varšavska were finally built in 2011, when the last protest occurred. More recently in March 2013, the City Council of Zagreb deleted from the General Urban Plan the provisions that allowed for the further destruction of the Cvjetni square and the Varšavska Street, as well as several other harmful urban development plans. The local civil societies and citizens were satisfied with this decision as the local authority finally responded to public pressure and demands, while Varšavska Street became a symbol of citizens’ revolt.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Flower market Square Redevelopment Plan, Zagreb, Croatia
Country: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

Project area:0.1
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:03/2010
End of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:HOTO Group (HOTO) from Croatia - Investor and developer of the project
Relevant government actors:The City of Zagreb; The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction of the Republic of Croatia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Zelena Akcija (Friends of the Earth Croatia) http://zelena-akcija.hr; Right to a City (Pravo na grad) initiative http://pravonagrad.org; Croatian musicians and actors among other celebrities

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Artists
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Land dispossession

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
New legislation
Project cancelled
The Urban Plan of the City of Zagreb was changed to the previous state from 2007
Development of alternatives:The civil society organisations and citizens demanded cancellation of transformation plan of the Flower Square and the Varšavska Street .
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The changes of the General Urban Planin from March 2013 prevented further destruction of the Cvjetni square and the Varšavska Street, which was applauded by the civil society organisations as the local authority finally responded to their demands.
However, the commercial center and access ramp to underground garage was already built in 2011. Varšavska Street became a symbol of citizens’ revolt on the unilateral decision of the city authorities on the urban development.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Cleaning out the rat holes of Zagreb's flower square
http://failedarchitecture.com/cleaning-out-the-rat-holes-of-zagrebs-flower-square/

Građani, odmah krenite u iskasapljenu Varšavsku!
http://danas.net.hr/hrvatska/gradjani-odmah-krenite-u-iskasapljenu-varsavsku

Uhićen Milan Bandić
http://www.portalnovosti.com/uhicen-milan-bandic

Sjećanje na Varšavsku – Kako smo se borili protiv Milana Bandića i kumova
https://radiogornjigrad.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/sjecanje-na-varsavsku-kako-smo-se-borili-protiv-milana-bandica-i-kumova/

"Varšavska Ulica"
http://www.index.hr/tag/166846/Var%C5%A1avska-ulica.aspx

SRC SVETICE SU NOVA VARŠAVSKA
http://pogledaj.to/drugestvari/src-svetice-su-nova-varsavska/

Prosvjed protiv krađe Varšavske – srijeda 10.2., Varšavska
http://pravonagrad.org/prosvjed-protiv-krade-varsavske-srijeda-102-varsavska/

"Varšavska Prosvjed"
http://www.index.hr/tag/186655/varsavska-prosvjed.aspx

"Republic of Coruptia": Aktivisti blokirali ulaz u Horvatinčićevu garažu, jedan priveden
http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/republic-of-coruptia-aktivisti-blokirali-ulaz-u-horvatincicevu-garazu-jedan-priveden/545931.aspx

History of Cvjetni Trg (Flower market Square)
http://www.hoto.hr/en/cvjetni/cvjetne-crtice/povijest

Protests in Varšavska continue
http://www.croatiantimes.com/news/General_News/2010-05-19/11067/Protests_in_Varšavska_continue_

140 arrested in Zagreb protests against construction in Varšavska pedestrian zone
http://zelena-akcija.hr/en/programi/urbanizam/suradnja/140_arrested_in_zagreb_protests_against_construction_in_Varšavska_pedestrian_zone

City council puts a political pressure on FoE Crotia because of Varšavska street
http://zelena-akcija.hr/en/general/general_news/city_council_puts_a_political_pressure_on_foe_crotia_because_of_Varšavska_street

Zagreb City Council adopted Changes to General Urban Plan Supported by Citizens and Civil Society
http://oneworldsee.org/content/zagreb-city-council-adopted-changes-general-urban-plan-supported-citizens-and-civil-society

Ovako će izgledati Varšavska kad se dovrši projekt garaže (3D view of access ramps to underground garages)
http://www.jutarnji.hr/cvjetni-trg--ovako-ce-izgledati-Varšavska-kad-se-dovrsi-projekt-garaze/575471/

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

VIDEO: Zbog Varšavske uhićeno više od 140 ljudi
http://danas.net.hr/hrvatska/video-zbog-varsavske-uhiceno-vise-od-140-ljudi

Prosvjed Varšavska 17.05.2010.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTvORBc8W0

Varsavska prosvjed 18/05/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Dw5Qgou6O4

Darko Rundek & Cargo Live @ Varšavska - Šal od svile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cSZ5hcxtL4

TBF Live @ Varšavska - Heroji
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp-hikZg3s4

Other documents

Protests in Varšavska NGOs and citizens clashing with a police in the Varšavska street
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/protest.jpg

Citizens in a peaceful protest in the Varšavska street The sign reads "Give up!"
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/odus-830x317.jpg

Positive reaction of NGO Green Action on the changes in the General Urban Plan in 2013 The sign reads "Varšavska never more!"
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/IMG_0012.JPG

Blockade of the Varšavska Street Welcome to "Republic of Coruptia", the ultimate protest in April 2011
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/aktivisti_varsavska-060411BrunoKOnjevicCROPIX.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update07/05/2016

Images

 

Protests in Varšavska

NGOs and citizens clashing with a police in the Varšavska street

Citizens in a peaceful protest in the Varšavska street

The sign reads "Give up!"

Blockade of the Varšavska Street

Welcome to "Republic of Coruptia", the ultimate protest in April 2011

Positive reaction of NGO Green Action on the changes in the General Urban Plan in 2013

The sign reads "Varšavska never more!"