The post-socialist transition induced substantial changes in society, public policy, urban economies, and significantly transformed existing urban development processes (UDPs) in Serbia. It increased the significance of political and institutional regulations, as well as the importance of introducing new wave of research, strategic thinking and governance.This project aims to support a gradual building of a new heuristic approach to urban issues in the post-socialist transition context in Serbia, in parallel with the empowerment of scientific community, stakeholders and a set of organizations of civil sector dealing with urban development, governance, urban management, as well as urban planning methods and instruments. Long-term goals are to address biased decision making process, insufficient and weak institutional regulations, provisory evaluation, controlling and monitoring system for plans, policies and projects.

Lay summary

In the last 20 years of post-socialist transition, Serbian society has experienced a range of difficulties in its economic, political and social development. A lack of adequate political regulations, compounded by unbiased decision making procedures and the severe consequences of the recent global financial crisis, indicate that current urban development processes (UDPs) in Serbia embody inefficient and irrelevant institutional and organisational frameworks with regard to strategic thinking, urban governance and management, evaluation, implementation, and monitoring. Urban planning and UDPs are still not adequately adapted, especially concerning urban land policy, the institutional milieu, urban governance, and public participation.

This project focuses on research capacity building in terms of improving and modernising urban planning approaches, methods, instruments and tools in order to foster sustainable and resilient urban development in Belgrade and Serbia. Research on ‘best practices’ concerning the mechanisms for an efficient implementation of urban plans and governance will eventually contribute to the improvement of spatial and urban planning in Serbia. While revolving around the exchange and transfer of knowledge and experience, this collaboration will address: urban planning methods and instruments for urban research in a post-socialist transition context; public participation and transparency in decision making, tracing power relations in the real estate market, identifying legal constraints when dealing with the lack of social impact assessment and maladjustment of urban and strategic projects. All activities are categorized in thematic entities according to the systematization of ongoing urban issues in Serbia in terms of urban planning methodologies, public participation, decision making, and urban governance. The project will establish an on-line data base for its results, and will provide an accompanying booklet of recommendations.