Led by Tadej Žaucer of IPoP, Institute for Spatial Politics, with Janez Vovk and Viktor Pust
Photographs by: Marko Peterlin
Ljubljana, like many other central European cities, grew very fast in the 1960s and 1970s. Considerable part of the growth was in the form of planned neighbourhoods with large apartment buildings. Four neighbourhoods, with over 20,000 inhabitants, form a continuous urban thread along pleasant walking artery with many services in Šiška, the northwestern part of the city.
The design of the central neighbourhood clearly set apart the division of motorized transport and walking, with the emphasis on the walking infrastructure. Main services, such as a public library, grocery stores, marketplace, schools, kindergartens, bars and vast green spaces and playgrounds are easily accessible on foot and less comfortably and directly by car. Bus stops on the main arterial are the focal point of the pathway system.
The pedestrian pathway was adopted as the leading design feature for later adjacent developments too. The pathway is partially forming a part of the unique 33 km long memorial path Path Along The Wire (Pot ob žici) around Ljubljana. The walk was dedicated to late Braco Vladimir Mušič, one of the central people of the urban planning in Slovenia at the time. The walk was hosted by Tadej Žaucer from IPoP with two of the original planners as special guests, Janez Vovk, the chief urban designer of the “ŠS-6” neighbourhood, and Viktor Pust of the “Koseze” neighbourhood. They offered unique insight to the urban planning processes in 1960s and shared their view on almost half century of life of both neighbourhoods.
It was extremely interesting to face the experience of the local residents with the reflection of the urban planners after such a long period of time. We discussed the needs, threats, and possibilities of urban regeneration in aging neighbourhoods, and of the value of good walkability in planned neighbourhoods from the golden era of residential development in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia.
We also remembered the story of Jane Jacobs when we arrived at Vladimir Braco Mušič’s “Split 3” neighbourhood building site, where he once wrote: “Split 3 makes me feel so optimistic.” The inscription is sometimes considered as a kind of proof that Slovenian urban design was doing right in that era.