IPoP inventory 2022

2022 was another interesting year for IPoP! We finished a few major projects and continued with many others, while also beginning a few new and important projects. Together with our partners and municipalities, we continued promoting active mobility for short distances, we supported schools and municipalities in implementing the organised walk to school with the Walking Bus, we developed parking policies, public passenger transport ideas and processes of city revitalisation. We advocated for professional management of city trees as well as green and other public spaces and raised voice on housing issues while also networking and the disseminating the knowledge on climate change adaptation.

Oriented towards new tasks and enriched by new colleagues, we are strengthening our activities in the field of sustainable mobility and supporting communities with sustainable urban development plans. We remain the voice of sustainable spatial planning, advocates of public interests and public participation in spatial planning and environmental protection, and promoters of good practices and strong communities in the context of finding solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

 Join us as we review last years’ main achievements and check what we have in store for 2023.

 

Sustainable mobility

Sustainable mobility is one of our central topics. Last year, we strengthened our contribution in this field by developing new communication and advocacy campaigns and by participating in several new projects in which we are developing new services.

Together with our partners in the Coalition for Sustainable Transport Policy (KTPP), we designed and presented to the Municipality of Ljubljana and the general public the concept »ZMAJ: High-capacity city bus lines«. The aim of the project is to encourage a public debate on the necessity of upgrading the city’s public transport and its best possible connection with the Ljubljana Passenger Centre currently under development.

As part of the LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE project, we implemented three campaigns promoting active mobility for short distances. With the third edition of the Open street campaign, we supported the City of Velenje in designing and implementing temporary actions for a different mobility use of Rudarska street, thus contributing to the renovation of the road with an emphasis on improving conditions for walking and cycling. With the School Street Campaign we cooperated with the elementary school and kindergarten of the town of Tolmin and the local community of Most na Soči, testing the measures of restricting car usage in front of the school and to change the traffic regime near the school and kindergarten. Supported by the experience and findings from the test period, the Municipality of Tolmin has already implemented several permanent changes in traffic regulation in the area, which will contribute to greater safety for schoolchildren and other pedestrians.

Open Street campaign. Photo: Žiga Koren
Open street campaign. Photo: Žiga Koren

In the spring, we launched the Less than 2 Campaign, raising awareness about the importance of reducing car journeys and encouraging shorter daily journeys to be made in an active manner. In collaboration with our partners D’Agency and Warehouse Collective, we produced three videos, which explain in a fun way, the added value of choosing active travel for short trips and how to easily change travel habits. The campaign will be repeated in 2023 and 2024.

Once again we asked ourselves “Why do people travel the way they do?” by carrying out the repetition of a panel with qualitative research on the motives, causes and habits that influence the choice of transport mode for everyday journeys. We will share the results of the survey with you soon.

With the Active travel to school and healthy cities programme, in cooperation with our partner CIPRA Slovenia, we continued our efforts in encouraging active walk to school for children and designing local walkability plans for a health-friendly environment. In the fall of 2022, the Pešbus (walking bus) “drove” on more than 180 routes, picked up passengers at more than 520 stops and brought more than 3000 children to school. Three Slovenian elementary schools have also made an organised trip to school by bicycle possible with Bicivlak (bike train). With the programme we honoured the World Health Day on April 7th 2022, by organising an interesting expert consultation titled »A walking-friendly city for the health of people and the planet« together with the Municipality of Velenje and the regional unit of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) from Celje.

In September we completed our cooperation with the Municipality of Velenje in preparation of the Local Walkability Plan. It was based on a participatory approach which included many local actors, representatives of public institutions, employers and residents, as well as schoolchildren, the elderly, and people with various types of disabilities. Based on the experience gained by developing three local walkability plans, we held two online seminars Let’s plan a healthy city together! for municipalities and spatial planners together with NIJZ. These seminars, which attracted a lot of interest, were held in cooperation with invited colleagues from the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS).

Local Walkability Plan for Municipality of Velenje.
Local Walkability Plan for Municipality of Velenje

In the framework of the EEA Financing Mechanism, we started the development of mobility plans through three projects, taking place until the spring of 2024. We are working with our partners in the SmartMOVE project: Smart solutions for sustainable mobility, developing strategies and mobility plan implementations for the long term development of multimodal mobility in the Ljubljana urban region. We participate in the preparation of mobility plans for BTC and UKC Ljubljana and the Ljubljana Marsh Nature Park. In the project Predjama sustainable we are, in cooperation with partners, looking for sustainable solutions to reduce motorized traffic in the wider area of ​​Postojna and to reduce the shortage of parking spaces in the tourist area of ​​Predjama. Within the framework of the »TRATA 2.1« project – Trata, an industrial zone for the 21st century, we will prepare mobility plans for three companies in the partnership. The measures will be set for the wider area of ​​the industrial zone and will also affect other companies operating in the IC Trata area in Škofja Loka. Later in the process we will also monitor the situation and demonstrate the effects of the implementation of the mobility plan measures.

We continued the development of the parking policy for the City of Nova Gorica and we started a similar process with the City of Zreče. We also had the opportunity to check the success of the the parking policy measures, designed for the Municipality of Tržič in 2020. Analyses showed that parking measures contributed to a more satisfied local community and a higher quality of life in the city, which gives us new push for further work in this field.

After a two-year break due to the covid pandemic, we were once again happy to promote and organise Jane’s Walks, encouraging the active involvement of residents in co-creating their living environment in cities around the world. IPoP supports the coordination of Jane’s Walks in Slovenia and in the past year also organised two urban walks in the spring.

 

Governance support

Cooperation with local communities, in our case mainly municipalities, is the foundation of most of our projects. We support them through the exchange of experiences and good practices, as well as activities that contribute to strengthening knowledge and skills for community actions and the co-creation of various local plans and documents.

As the National URBACT Point (NUP) for Slovenia, in the framework of the URBACT programme, we supported six Slovenian municipalities in the pilot project of National Practice Transfer Initiative where the good practice of “Town’s Living Room” was transferred from Idrija to their local environments. The municipalities of Bohinj, Bovec, Ormož, Podlehnik, Radenci and Razkrižje, in cooperation with their local working groups, prepared transfer plans and started implementing the planned activities – some in the form of a physical space, others with various activities that will strengthen the local community.

National Practice Transfer Initiative's partner meeting. Photo: Katja Jemec
National Practice Transfer Initiative’s partner meeting. Photo: Katja Jemec

In May, we organized a Good Practice Exchange event about the possibilities for using public spaces by removing the vehicles in cooperation with the Municipality of Nova Gorica. Representatives of municipalities and organizations that supported these municipalities with their expertise in revitalizing public space, presented their practices, while the practices of Nova Gorica were presented on the site visit.

As part of the URBACT programme, we also organized an international conference The Power of Civic Ecosystems in November. Guests from different parts of Europe talked about the importance of cooperation between cities and civil society, which is key to the quality of life and services in cities and for effective response to the future challenges. At the event, we also presented the publication by the same name, published by IPoP in co-publishing with the Eutropian organization, summarizing and building on their publication The Power of Civic Ecosystem (2021). The publication gathers the experience of foreign and Slovenian civil society organizations and cities, which have taken important steps towards the integration and strengthening the role of civil society in the last ten years.

International Conference The Power of Civic Ecosystems. Photo: Gaja Naja Rojec
International Conference The Power of Civic Ecosystems. Photo: Gaja Naja Rojec

At the end of the year, we also organized an online Info Day, where participants learned more about the new URBACT IV program and the new call for URBACT Action Planning Networks opening in January 2023.

We cooperated with the City of Slovenska Bistrica and other partners of the international project HUB-IN in the preparation of a strategy for the revitalisation of the old city centre and the premises of the former Crouzet factory.

We continued our role as an advocate in the context of the increasing housing problem in Slovenia, where the lack of a proper legal basis makes it difficult to establish and operate housing cooperatives. We organized the international conference »Together for Housing« and, in cooperation with other organizations, called on politics to take appropriate actions both to ensure the conditions for the establishment of housing cooperatives and to find sustainable solutions in the wider housing field.

Furthermore, we started to implement the Škofja Loka 2.O project, where we support the City of Škofja Loka with communicating and implementing a participatory process for the renovation of their old town centre.

 

Strengthening communities

Last year we continued our collaboration with the City of Kočevje in the process of revitalising their city centre. For two and a half years the project connected local actors in a unique attempt to create the conditions for a comprehensive and effective revitalization of the city centre. In 2022, we actively supported the municipality, especially in its efforts to connect measures for revitalizing the city and renovation of public space with mobility measures. As part of the planned construction of a new cycling path through the city centre and renovation of the municipal infrastructure we prepared, together with representatives of the Municipality of Kočevje, the local community, institutions operating in the city centre, as well as with the residents, organisational and spatial solutions for the temporary closure of the main roads. In cooperation with our friends from studio Prostorož, we also contributed to the revitalization of public space with two small placemaking installations called »Kokolo«.

Placemaking installation Kokolo in Kočevje. Photo: Anja Slapničar
Placemaking installation Kokolo in Kočevje. Photo: Anja Slapničar

With the aim of an in-depth discussion on sustainable urban development supported by the Mreža za prostor (a network of NGOs working in the field of sustainable spatial planning), part of the international conference The Power of the Civic Ecosystems was dedicated to a meeting of civil society organizations across Europe that work in the field of sustainable urban development. Through a series of workshops, we identified common themes and challenges and agreed on further steps to strengthen integration and cooperation.

 

Resilient city

The environment, nature and public spaces faced many challenges in 2022. The summer heat waves and drought, followed by the autumn floods reminded us again about the importance of the effective adaptation to the weather extremes as a result of climate change.

In the autumn, as part of the Mreža za prostor, we organized the debate concerning climate change adaptation at the local level together with the Plan B network for Slovenia. Local and national actors and experts concluded that Slovenia is slow in introducing climate change adaptation measures. In the context of climate change adaptation and concern for public health, we continue to advocate for green areas with a series of seminars on sustainable spatial planning. Together with the Maja Farol Association, we held events where we discussed possible ways of life and spatial planning in the year 2100. The so-called urban prophecies were presented in the City Museum of Ljubljana as the exhibition »Urban Prophecies: Life in Ljubljana in 2100«.

Announcement of the exhibition »Urban Prophecies: Life in Ljubljana in 2100«. Photo: Marko Peterlin.
Announcement of the exhibition »Urban Prophecies: Life in Ljubljana in 2100«. Photo: Marko Peterlin

In cooperation with partner NGOs from Croatia and Italy, we successfully completed the project Tools for learning – tools for sustainable development, which took place within the framework of the ERASMUS + programme. One of the project results is an manual including eight tools that can serve as an aid to the teachers and professionals who will be informing and teaching youth about sustainable topics, such as developing knowledge and skills together in an inclusive way.

 

IPoP as organisation

In 2022, IPoP successfully continued its role as an advocate of public interests in the fields of spatial planning, sustainable mobility, housing, and climate policy. Through projects, programme activities and tenders with partner organizations, we reaped rewards from our many years of effort in these fields and have matured as an organization.

We filled up two new job positions, thanks to successfully obtained project funds in the framework of the EEA Financial Mechanism – sociologist Karina Sirk, who works in the field of sustainable mobility, and geographer Lucija Ličer, who has been associated with IPoP as a student in previous years, but now continues as a professional colleague in the field of preparing mobility plans.

In the spring, the IPoP team traveled to Graz (Austria) to explore the city and its good practices in spatial planning for bicycles. We also attended the exhibition of the most mysterious street artist ever, Banksy.

Exhibition The Great Communicator - Banksy. Photo: IPoP
Exhibition The Great Communicator – Banksy. Photo: IPoP

In 2022, some of the IPoP colleagues were awarded for their expertise and professional excellence. Maja Simoneti received the »Golden pencil« award, which is the highest national award of the Chamber of Architecture and Spatial planning of Slovenia have for honouring their members for outstanding work in the field of architecture, landscape architecture or spatial planning. Urška Didovič received the »Vurnik student award«, awarded annually by the Architecture Centre of Slovenia to prospective students of architecture, landscape architecture or urban planning. Aidan Cerar was recognized as the best teacher in 2021/22 by students of the DOBA faculty, where he lectures in master’s programmes.

In the past year we travelled again, after a short pause due to the covid epidemic. We attended CityLab in Amsterdam, the URBACT City Festival in Paris, the meeting of the TG-WeB Network in Tirana, the Intertraffic conference in Amsterdam, the Polis network conference in Brussels, and we also visited the project partner, the Norwegian municipality of Strand. We also participated in the world’s largest cycling conference, Velo-city, which took place in Ljubljana last June.

URBACT City Festival. Photo: Nina Plevnik
URBACT City Festival. Photo: Nina Plevnik

Our commitment to sustainable spatial planning was strengthened by the active participation of some important work groups within the framework of the new Slovenian government. Last year, at the initiative of partner organizations, we successfully nominated Maja Simoneti to be the NGO representative in the Government’s Climate Council, and she was also elected as a member of the NGO Council for the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. Nela Halilović was appointed NGO representative in the Council for Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection.

 

What are we looking forward to in 2023?

We are entering 2023 with news about the successful continuation of three major projects, through which we have been carrying out important activities and offering our knowledge and support for years.

We successfully applied for the continuation of the project Active Travel to School programme, through which we will, together with CIPRA Slovenia, be able to continue supporting schools and municipalities in the implementation of organised and active travel to school, while at the same time we will strengthen the knowledge of local communities for independent planning of walking-friendly cities. In addition, we will design an app allowing schools and municipalities to easily record whether pupils travel to school actively or not, which will be useful for municipalities when planning their school districts.

We will continue our work as the National URBACT Point for Slovenia. As part of the URBACT IV programme, a call for proposals for URBACT Action Planning Networks, where European cities seek solutions to common urban challenges, opened on January 9, 2023. The call is open until March 31, 2023, and IPoP offers support to cities interested in participating. As part of the NUP activities, we will continue to strengthen the exchange of experience and good practices between cities, as well as informing about interesting network activities.

In addition, we will support the exchange of good practices under the Support for the implementation of urban policy and the URBACT programme project, carried out by order of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning Slovenia in partnership with the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia. Among other things, we are planning a new call for good practices Mesta >> mestom (Cities to cities) as well as several interesting events for the exchange of good practices between municipalities.

Together with our partners from the Regional development agency of the Ljubljana urban region, and the Urban institute of the Republic of Slovenia, we successfully applied for a call regarding new parking guidelines under the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia. As part of the project, we will be able to share our experience and knowledge gained through the development of parking policies for several municipalities, which will strengthen the possibility of developing parking policies for two more municipalities as well as gaining new knowledge in this field.

We are also looking forward to the Tactical Cities project under the leadership of the City of Kamnik, in cooperation with eight other partners from Central Europe. The project will focus on small and medium-sized cities and will, with methods of tactical urbanism and placemaking, enable pilot actions for public spaces where cars no longer dominate. In addition, it will develop innovative methods of digital campaigns through which residents can monitor the dangers and risks of car-based mobility.

We will carry out many activities within the framework of ongoing projects. Within the framework of LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE, we will soon open a call for a School street campaign, where we will cooperate with another municipality and a school in testing sustainable mobility measures in the school’s surroundings. We are also planning a new season of the Less Than Two video campaign and the launch of a new communication campaign to encourage active commuting to work together with the Urban Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Infrastructure and the D’Agency.

Less Than Two campaign
Less Than Two campaign

In the framework of Mreža za prostor, we will organize a series of training sessions under the title »Climate planning«, where planners will be able to upgrade their knowledge of sustainable spatial planning, adapted to climate change. We will also present various good practices which will later be the basis for the catalogue of good practices.

We will complete the mobility plans that we have started preparing in the previous year, and the beginning measures will be implemented in selected areas. We will conclude the preparation of parking policies for the Municipality of Zreče and the Municipality of Nova Gorica, and continue participation in Slovenska Bistrica and Škofja Loka. We will also point out the importance of sustainable mobility plans in short videos.

Furthermore, we are establishing new partnerships and creating applications, with the aim of upgrading our existing activities while developing new and innovative approaches in efforts to further support the community in sustainable spatial planning.

 

 

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