URBAN COMMONS IN THE EX YU REGION Promociju knjige “PROSTORI ZAJEDNIČKOG: URBANA ZAJEDNIČKA DOBRA U EX-YU REGIONU” koja je održana u srijedu, 7. oktobra 2020. u periodu 13-14.30h. možete pogledati online na EXPEDITIO facebook stranici. Knjigu u PDF formatu možete preuzeti ovdje SPACES OF COMMONING: URBAN COMMONS IN THE EX-YU REGION (pdf)

 

 

 

 

Poziv za učešće na promociji knjige “PROSTORI ZAJEDNIČKOG: URBANA ZAJEDNIČKA DOBRA U EX-YU REGIONU” u Crnoj Gori

Ovo je prvi u nizu promotivnih događaja posvećenih knjizi  SPACES OF COMMONING: URBAN COMMONS IN THE EX-YU REGION, koja se bavi uslovima u kojima nastaju i funkcionišu urbana zajednička dobra u Srbiji, Kosovu i Crnoj Gori. Ovu knjigu je u septembru 2020. izdalo udruženje Ministarstvo prostora iz Beograda, u saradnji sa istraživačima i istraživačicama iz regiona, među kojima su predstavnica Expeditio Tatjana Rajić i naša saradnica Sonja Dragović. Naša promocija biće posvećena crnogorskom kontekstu, i u njoj će učestvovati predstavnici i predstavnice pet prostornih praksi i borbi o kojima smo pisali u ovoj knjizi - to su: Atelje “Stari Grad” iz Budve, Mediteranski vrt iz Podgorice, selo Gornja Lastva i udruženje Napredak iz Tivta, inicijativa “100.000 stabala” iz Podgorice i “Čempres revolucija” iz Bara. Na promociji će nam se pridužiti i kolege iz Kosova i Srbije. 

Širom svijeta, pa i u našem regionu, nastanak urbanih zajedničkih dobara i borba za njihov opstanak i napredak predstavljaju reakciju na neoliberalnu politiku upravljanja gradovima, usled koje se površina i kvalitet javnih i zajedničkih prostora konstantno smanjuju, a prostorne i društvene nejednakosti uporno povećavaju. Radije nego da se pomire sa tim, građani se organizuju: ideja stvaranja nezavisnih prostora i odbrane zajedničkih interesa udruženim djelovanjem važna je i prisutna, o čemu svjedoče brojne i raznovrsne prostorne prakse i borbe koje su se razvile i u Crnoj Gori, a od kojih su samo neke predstavljene u našoj knjizi. Prepoznajući vrijednost opšteg dobra i okupljajući zajednicu oko ideje unapređenja zajedničkog, sve ove prakse i borbe pokazuju da je moguće drugačije organizovati čitav prostorni, politički i ekonomski sistem života u gradovima, i otvaraju prostor za promišljanje drugačije urbane budućnosti. 

Svako zajedničko djelovanje počinje razgovorom! Pridružite nam se u razgovoru u srijedu, 7. oktobra, od 13h. Pratite promociju uživo na EXPEDITIO facebook stranici,a uključite se preko sljedećeg linka >>> KLIKNI OVDJE ZA UČEŠĆE NA PROMOCIJI KNJIGE

Meeting ID: 879 4948 4458
Passcode: 153584

 

PROGRAM

13.00-13.10h

Pozdravna riječ i predstavljanje programa

Tatjana Rajić
Expeditio

13.10 - 13.20h

Ideja za objavljivanje knjige, iskustva rada na knjizi, donatorima, šta dalje sa rezultatima….

Iva čukić, Jovana Timotijević

Ministarstvo prostora

13.20-13.30h

Urbana zajednička dobra u Crnoj Gori

Sonja Dragović

Magistrica studija urbanizma

13.30-14.15h

 

 

DEBATA

Sonja Dragović

moderatorka

Mediteranski vrt / Podgorica

Zoran Bojović

Udruženje ljubitelja Gorice i prirode

Atelje “Stari grad” / Budva

Marica Kuznjecov Boljević

Akademska slikarka

Gornja Lastva / Tivat

Marija Nikolić

KZU Napredak Gornja Lastva

Inicijativa “100.000 stabala”

Vuk Iković

Organizacija KOD

Čempres revolucija

Stefan Đukić

Čempres revolucija

Urbana zajednička dobra na Kosovu

Orbis Rexha

Termokiss

Urbana zajednička dobra u Srbiji

Iva čukić, Jovana Timotijević

Ministarstvo prostora

14.15-14.30

Pitanja postavljena online, završni komentari…

 

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Iz knjige Spaces of Commoning: Urban Commons in the Ex-Yu Region (2020)

Spaces of Commoning: Urban Commons in the Ex-Yu Region

CONTEXTUAL FRAMEWORK: MONTENEGRO

By Sonja Dragović, Urban Studies MSci

Despite being inextricably linked with the socialist past of the former Yugoslavia, the notion of the commons in Montenegro today has been primarily shaped by the lived experience of postsocialist transition. The ideas of shared ownership, common management and joint volunteer actions aimed at achieving a common goal might still be associated with socialist history, but they are also becoming increasingly important in articulating new ways of living and working together in our neoliberal present.

The transition process in Montenegro has been painful. The northern region of the country, mostly rural and traditionally underdeveloped, has suffered from deindustrialization, depopulation and environmental degradation. The latter is usually caused by extractive industries and the construction of infrastructure, but has most recently been provoked by the overwhelming number of small hydropower plants that are taking over the northern river streams and disrupting local ways of living and rhythms of agricultural production. Central and coastal regions have also grappled with the loss of industry, with former industrial sites mostly turned into building grounds for residential and commercial uses. The privatization of urban land, and especially the privatization of interests served by urban development policies, have given rise to spatial and social inequalities, the neglect of public space and the destruction of the environment. Spaces, movements and struggles that can be defined as urban commons in Montenegrin cities today can all be traced back to the discontents caused by this appropriation of postsocialist urban space by capitalism, which Golubchikov (2016) calls “the urbanization of transition”. Such discontents have, in various forms, been present in Montenegrin society throughout the last three decades, manifest in efforts to oppose the dominant models of development and articulate alternatives. Even when they have not been meticulously documented and analysed, these efforts, victories and defeats have remained an important point of reference for future acts of common struggle and creativity.

One of the main fronts for civic action has been environmental protection, which might seem odd, considering that in 1991 Montenegro declared itself the first ecological state in the world. This admirable title, however, was compromised whenever it was inconvenient for the government to uphold, or when it was out of line with the demands of neoliberal development. To oppose destructive policies and projects, civic initiatives have consistently stepped up and acted to protect the common interest (Komar 2015). Thus, Tara Canyon was protected from exploitation in 2004; Valdanos Bay was not privatized due to continuous civic opposition from 2008 until 2014; and Beranselo successfully fought off the formation of an illegal landfill site in 2014, after four years of protest (see Baća 2017). By recognizing the value of the common good and bringing communities together to defend it, these struggles showed that victory is possible and paved the way for future action which, as we will see, is increasingly concerned with environmental preservation in urban settings and is critical of the neoliberal urban development model.

The idea of creating common spaces and defending common interests through joint action is important and present in Montenegro, although the theoretical framework of commons is not usually used to define and position certain spatial and social practices vis-a-vis the dominant neoliberal paradigm. The actions are often motivated not by the clearly defined intention to create an alternative way of living and working together, but by the need to have a space for community to meet and act, or by the struggle to protect an important cultural and natural heritage from destruction. An important example of the later is the campaign for the protection of Ulcinj Salina, a former salt factory which, over decades of salt extraction, has become an artificial – but crucial – bird habitat in the Adriatic basin. The factory, along with the surrounding wetland area, was privatized in 2005 in a process which has been contested ever since by local activists and several organizations, CZIP (Eng. Center for Protection and Research of Birds) and MANS (Eng. Network for Affirmation of the Civic Sector) most prominent among them. This long local struggle against destroying Ulcinj Salina for the sake of developing new private hotels attracted international attention and support from European and global environment protection networks. Finally, in June 2019, the area was declared a natural park. This marked an important victory for nature preservation in Montenegro, and for civic activists who voiced common interest and worked towards this goal for more than a decade.

Protecting the environment in Montenegro often means opposing the dominant narrative of achieving progress through privatization and development of space in accordance with private business interests. Organization KANA / Who if not architect has been active since 2015, with the goal to promote and protect modernist architectural heritage. Over time, this goal expanded to include observation and critical analysis of urban planning processes and results. The organization has led several campaigns for protection of modernist heritage and against dubious planning decisions which jeopardize public space and promote private over public interest. KANA / Who if not architect also has significant publishing activity, which problematizes the ways in which public interest is defined and represented in urban planning and heritage protection processes. Their work keeps bringing up the important issue of preserving architectural representations of the former self-management system, within which Montenegrin urbanity has largely been formed.

Bringing knowledge about the importance of natural environment to urban communities, into the city and making it practical is the project idea behind Bašta Ekologika, an eco-community garden on the outskirts of Podgorica. It was founded in 2014 as the first urban gardening initiative in Montenegro, and every year it engages 15–20 gardeners working on separate plots, together with their families. Bašta works on numerous and diverse educational projects, including practical elementary school workshops on permaculture. It continues to be an important place to think about – and act to achieve – a better urban future.

Bokobran, an initiative fighting against the destruction of landscape of Boka Bay, was formed in 2017. Boka Bay is a UNESCO protected world heritage site but threatened by the inadequate and overbearing construction activity resulting in ever shrinking and inadequate public spaces, damaged landscape and overall decrease in quality of life. Bokobran offers a platform through which these issues can be discussed, thus joining several other organizations from the Boka Bay area in trying to articulate public interest in the debate on the production of space.

The insistence on the need for spaces free from the pressure of profitability and open for the entire community has led to some promising new projects. One of them is Herceg Novi Youth Center, a city-owned building currently used and jointly managed by a dozen civic society organizations and youth clubs. The Municipality of Herceg Novi pays the utility bills, while organizations using the space take care of the maintenance work. However, the existing arrangement is quite precarious: there is no written agreement between the parties involved, which means this situation could change in an instant.

The case of NGO Center in Kotor differs, as it is regulated by a contract. The Municipality of Kotor allocated an office space to the local civil society organizations in July 2017, and it is still the only local government in Montenegro to do so. The decision was based on the request submitted by ten organizations in need of space for work, and aware that suitable facilities exist, unoccupied and owned by the municipality. Allocated space was renovated in a joint effort – the city replaced the front door and windows, while the organizations invested their own funds, knowledge, volunteer time and energy in refurbishing the place and making it suitable for their work. The contract was signed after the renovation, in December 2018, for a period of two years. Since then, the local government has changed, which poses new challenges for the civic sector of Kotor: to ensure the extension of the contract, its own independent position, as well as good cooperation with the new administration.

Notable work of turning city-owned buildings into active spaces that bring the community together was completed by Cultural Center Punkt, formed in Nikšić in 2015 by a group of young artists and professionals eager to change their city through arts. Their first projects included refurbishing a town house in the city centre – done in collaboration with its occupants and finished with a unique mural – and turning a derelict army cultural centre into a gallery and concert space. Unfortunately, this cultural centre did not last long after Punkt has brought it back to life – the government decided to tear it down and build a new business and technology centre in its place. Still, it is remembered as a great example of how common devotion and action can alter forgotten city spaces.

Another interesting practice from the north of Montenegro is Summer Tango Camp in Kolašin. Organized since 2013, this month-long event connects civic activists, independent and governmental cultural organizations, municipal and state institutions and local tourism businesses. The aim is to support the largely tourism-based local economy of this small town by creating a welcoming environment where people from all over the world can enjoy learning and dancing tango. The project usually receives modest financial support from the government, but it would not be possible without common effort. Hence, it represents a curious case of developing a communal solution to a problem of economic stagnation in the areas left behind by the dominant economic model.

(Excerpt from the book Spaces of Commoning: Urban Commons in the Ex-Yu Region (2020), edited by Iva Čukić and Jovana Timotijević)

REFERENCES

Baća, Bojan. “‘We Are All Beranselo’: Political Subjectivation as an Unintended Consequence of Activist Citizenship”, Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 69 (2017): 1430–-1454.

Golubchikov, Oleg. “The Urbanization of Transition: Ideology and the Urban Experience”, Eurasian Geography and Economics Vol 57 (2016): 607–623.

Komar, Olivera. 2015. “The Development of Civil Society in Montenegro”. In The Development of Civil Society in the Countries on the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since the 1980s, edited by Fink-Hafner, Danica, 145–164. Ljubljana: Faculty of Social Sciences.

 

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