1. In this highly competitive international economic and political arena, transitional countries experience a range of difficulties within this new context of: market economy, decentralized political and administrative powers, a lack of resources, a scarcity of general international investment and scant interest in dramatic shifts in all aspects of social organization and spatial transformations. Such a multifaceted urban reality in post-socialist cities is examined through the analysis of interactions among urban actors and stakeholders, institutions and policy agenda, and the issues of space, built environment and infrastructure. The aim is to build an urban development model of Savamala, a historical yet deteriorating quarter of central Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

Lay summary

2. The case study and model of Savamala neighbourhood first breaks down and then recomposes the urban development process in transitional countries through a set of analyses that encompasses urban planning, real estate fluctuations, social participation and participatory design. Urban actors and stakeholders, the regulatory framework and spatial issues are assumed to be equal factors in the continuous process of dealing with urban conflicts and stimulating the diversity of social practices in Savamala. The resulting urban development model overlaps urban scenarios and tracks all factors in this post-socialist urban context.

This research project begins with the theoretical and practical examination of urban key factors in an urban environment and relations among them. Then, an iterative pattern is identified to illustrate how urban planning, real estate fluctuations, social participation and participatory design all address urban actors and stakeholders, the regulatory framework and spatial issues, both stimulating and regulating relations and influences among them. Finally, an urban development model connects these factors, processes and modes of representation within the system of decision making through the example of the Savamala neighbourhood in Belgrade.

3. Within a framework of deficient and inadequate urban planning methods and actions, this urban development model aims to contribute to improving life and the functionality of urban structures and systems, and effectively address the tensions between top-down and bottom-up urban planning in a post-socialist city. The potential result aspires to reinvent a more inclusive and flexible approach to urban issues that targets sustainable urban development. This can be carried out through structural analysis and logical argumentation to be found in both the case study and the model building methodological approaches. The methodology applied for this research is a combination of multi-agent system and actor-network theory (MAS-ANT).