The twelfth edition of the Mikser Festival under the slogan Hug was held for the second time in a row in the idyllic surroundings of the Zornica house, from 26th-28th May 2021.

The central program of the Mikser Festival was the Think Tank International Conference, which networked prominent experts, activists, government officials, media, corporations, and representatives of international organizations on a common task – how to design and accelerate global recovery after a pandemic and what are the repercussions of the country and region? Has the pandemic helped us understand the concept of solidarity and sustainable development? Did it help us understand the importance of environmental issues? Are we sufficiently aware of the impact of climate change and engaged as a society, organizations, and individuals in the fight for a cleaner environment? To what extent is creativity needed precisely in crises and what is the future of the cultural system? The conference was broadcasted live via Mikser’s communication channels, as well as the communication channels of Mikser’s media partners.

The clustering of the euPOLIS and HEART partners was conducted through two panels held on May 27.

The first panel “Blue Gold – the Revitalization of Urban Streams” tackled the systems of urban streams and their interaction with urban green infrastructure playing a key role in urban innovation and the transformation of cities into environments that positively affect people’s health and well-being.

Professor Cedo Maksimovic (Imperial College London) was a keynote speaker giving insights into mankind’s relationship with natural water flows in settlements, from early civilization, through uncontrolled urbanization and pollution, to channelization of urban streams and problems of flooding and inlet clogging, towards the more optimistic prospects and methods of re-naturalization of urban streams and returning them to nature.

The guest expert was Istvan Kenyeres, the founder of the Biopolus (Hungary) who shared his expertise in the MNR technology, a modular, expandable water treatment system for complex circular urban water treatment and management. By means of advanced metabolic engineering, energy, organic materials, and minerals can be derived from organic waste through biosolid fractionation. These solutions, along with optional space for community functions and urban food production are integrated into the concept of BioMakery.

This panel was also a meeting point with the Secretary of Environmental Protection of the City of Belgrade, Vesna Sabanovic, and President of GM Optimist Gornji Milanovac, Bojan Milovanovic, and the moderator Zaklina Zivkovic with the Right to Water Association.

The second panel “Human Cities – Improving the Quality of Life in Urban Areas” was a clustering opportunity for sister projects: the euPOLIS, HEART, and the Clever Cities.

The gathered experts and representatives of relevant institutions will discuss how to include these perspectives in the public dialogue on planning more sustainable, healthier, and happier cities and achieve synergy of a people-centered approach with significant environmental and economic benefits for all citizens.

Experts from the international projects Clever Cities, euPOLIS, and HEART, which offer innovative solutions in the field of participatory urban planning and implementation of nature-inspired urban interventions, and specialists on gender equality and public health invited representatives of city institutions and the event participants to think together “out of the box” and open space for improving the planning process, by identifying specific steps towards the institutionalization of these criteria in our urban practice and procedures.

Daniel Podmirseg, the founder of the Vertical Farm Institute, an euPOLIS partner presented the innovative approach to urban farming and its significance towards reducing pollution in urban areas, the accessibility of food, etc, to Marko Stojcic, City Urbanist, City of Belgrade, Milana Rikanovic, Director of United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment UN Women Serbia, Natasa Djuric, EuPOLIS / Society of Women Architects, and Vesna Tahov, General Director at Urban Planning Institute, City of Belgrade. The moderator of this panel was Ana Mitic Radulovic, Founder & Research Coordinator at Centre for Experiments in Urban Studies (CEUS) / member of the expert team of the Clever Cities project. Dr. Perisa Simonović, Deputy Director of the Public Health Institute, “Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut”, a HEART project partner, joined online tackling the impact of nature-based urban solutions and social inclusion on public health and the well-being of citizens.