euPOLIS Meets The Citizens – You Are An Expert, Too!
The Belgrade euPOLIS experts’ team recently facilitated the fourth workshop with citizens and passers-by of the demo location on Danube Quay.
Having good weather “working” for the Belgrade team on Saturday, October 29th, there were over a hundred participants expressing interest and readiness to join and contribute to the project’s initiative.
Besides getting very concrete recommendations for the park furniture and content, this workshop proved the significance of the social aspect of the euPOLIS project and citizens’ participation as one of the main tools to secure fair, safe, and sustainable public spaces. Namely, citizens expressed their concerns about the rising number of raft cafes and restaurants on the Danube river as well as more and more apartment blocks and parking lots at the expense of relaxing, green, and open spaces…
The eco-edu center raised the most questions and immediate distrust among many participants, as they feared it could be a euphemism for yet another commercial facility that will block their view, and keep them away from their favorite place on Danube Quay.
That also proved how valuable the contact with experts, designers, and other creators of public spaces or any kind of decision-makers with citizens, is because the euPOLIS team had an opportunity to display, explain, and reassure those with doubts about the aims, goals, and values of this project. After that, most of those citizens expressed their will to further participate in the project by wearing biometric wearables, receiving updates, etc.
It is clear that on the mission of creating better and healthier public spaces, nature-based solutions are just one page of the book that euPOLIS experts have to educate the citizens on, while the participatory processes and community building is another long and challenging lesson.