A Race for Hope
An Interview with Zeljko Jovanovic of the B-H Institute of Urban & Town Planning
Designing a Plan for Peace in Gary, Indiana
Special Student Projects for Bosnia
The Handbook for Reconstruction: Authors and Topics
Our Thanks To
Since fall of 1994, when we began working in American universities to generate design concepts for the eventual reconstruction of Bosnia there has always been resistance from those who said, Why bother? Bosnia can't start rebuilding until the fighting stops. Now the fighting has stopped, money from international relief organizations is available for reconstruction, but there is a woeful lack of local planning capability.
The Bosnian people need support in developing regional and urban plans that will sustain and nurture peace. They need our land planning expertise, experience and ideas, as well as hardware and software. The academic consortium we have helped form--The Global Network for Rebuilding--can carry forward this mission.
This academic year we will be in a race against desolation and despair--a race for hope. Please join the Global Network for Rebuilding in helping to empower the Bosnian people to create plans that best use reconstruction funds to achieve unity and renewed prosperity. Participation in our projects is interdisciplinary, intercollegiate, and international, concentrating on subjects such as conflict resolution, sustainable development, community building, renewal of infrastructure, Islamic and Byzantine architecture, and international development.
Some of our chief government and corporate supporters include the National Security Agency's Department of Democracy and Human Affairs, The State Department's Office of the Geographer, The Library of Congress, ESRI, Inc., Land Info, Inc., and SPOT Image, Inc. Academic participants include professors and students of urban design, regional planning and architecture from Denver to Amherst.
Our projects involve students with real-world problems, teaching them to employ a range of design tools as modern and sophisticated as GIS mapping databases and as simple and timeless as plan view sketching. We know from experience that students find the subject matter compelling, and the chance to help rewarding. We look forward to working with you. Please contact us at 933-2159 for additional information.
BN: Do you know what the international community is planning to rebuild in the Sarajevo area?
JOVANOVIC: No, but it is going on around us. As a matter of fact, they are now beginning the planning phases...Yesterday, the Prime Minister invited the world to help. He said give us your suggestions, support for development, information, your opinions, your vision--in order that we can see the alternatives, in order to see priorities in solving all the problems that are emerging.
BN: Is any part of the area more important for rebuilding than the others? Are there any priorities?
JOVANOVIC: I don't know about analyzing or prioritizing. Our sister organization, the Sarajevo Institute of Urban Planning, and Mr. Kapidzic, is working on that.
I hesitate to call the outlying areas suburbs, because they are a single part of the whole. It is very hard to distinguish them in that way. They are parts within the area which includes Stari Grad, Zetra, Nova Sarajevo, Nova Grad, Ilidza, Vogosca. Other communities that connect with Sarajevo include Pale, Ilidza, and Hadzici.
The principle of poly-centric development should continue. Each settlement is part of Sarajevo. We could call them satellite towns, but I don't like that because that implies some old colonization. They are equal and complementary as part of Sarajevo. They are part of the city regional town plan, where each settlement is equal and dependent on each other, where each of the sections has its function and is part of the city.
When planning the region we preserve the green for fresh air, and the spatial arrangement for recreation. The strategy will be poly-centric for the regional town plan. Its function is as part of the city. Ilidza is part of city, Vogosca is part of the city.
Consider Ilidza (at right) for instance. It has recreational facilities, near Mount Igman. We have the two rivers, many things that attract tourism, and it has other industry which serve the entire region. We must see its proper relationship with the entire region.
BN: What about industry in Sarajevo?
JOVANOVIC: Industry is complicated. The car industry in Vogosca might not be rebuilt, that will be decided in Germany. I hope something will be done. Other precision instrument plants might be rebuilt. Another engine production facility and military equipment plants are in the area.
Whatever industry it is, the real question is to have a clear picture of what Sarajevo should not develop. It should not suffocate itself. We didn't let the aggressor suffocate us for all the four years of the war; why should we do it to ourselves?
Sarajevo is limited in growth potential. It had a gradual longitudinal development. The rate of growth increased so much at times that housing leaped over certain areas of industry. One could say that the industry and the residential are mixed and located incorrectly, but actually it was correct for the time.
Heavy industries were placed appropriately down the stream on the outskirts of town. Those next to the center of town include the tobacco factory, beer factory, and some other small industries which don't pollute much. The big scale projects are planned to be in complexes, for the sake of traffic and access--the west of town is best for this now.
The point is that before the war, the level of development for Sarajevo was quite contemporary, in the city region type. Therefore not only the immediate suburbs like Ilidza, Nova Grad, but also those areas further out such as Pale, Hadzici and Ilidza--all together six community sections and an additional four which were attached for functional and organization reasons--are all parts of the entire area of Sarajevo. Contemporary thinking before the war was along the line of sustainable development. Industry was historically in the inner area, but it was considered best to locate into the other four centers and communities. It is essential when planning for one area to consider the others.
BN: Your study of Sarajevo goes back a long time.
JOVANOVIC: I received my master's degree in regional planning in Holland. I learned a lot and even made a case study of Sarajevo and the linkage of the city to the larger regional town plan. After returning to the city, I found that those theories fit for Sarajevo. Even by that time, I had developed an algorithmic model of Sarajevo studying the area as a city region might be. I found that Sarajevo definitely was such an area.
The point is that there are certain related linkage structures. It is good to see emerging structures to plan a city. You can use the information to plan for growth. Such structures as the triangle of Travnik, Nove Travnik, and Vetis in central Bosnia are interrelated to other cities such as Sarajevo. Another important triangle is around Tuzla. This is how we are going to develop our towns. If you want to develop further housing in Tuzla, the infrastructure of Travnik might fit into the picture. We can see they can share the river, rail, and road as a common backbone for development.
Even twenty years ago, emergent city structures were forming. The process will continue. We need proper urban planning to recognize our future needs. It will take a network of urban planners and architects connected through government and private initiatives. With clear thinking individuals you can keep this country quite okay in the future, especially as far as spatial organization is concerned.
BN: Dobrinia (the Olympic Village) is a nice scale and arrangement for a typical design for the future, a nice alternative to high rises, providing an opportunity for social interaction--with courtyards, playgrounds, parking, and a nice scale for families.
JOVANOVIC: Consider a small detail. If children are playing in the yard, the mother can call them easily from the forth floor.
BN: Is Dobrinia any kind of model for the future of livable housing in Sarajevo?
JOVANOVIC: I think it contains some of the limiting criteria, whether we have a four story building or not...Whatever your imagination might be, what if you had a plane area where you have to put 30,000 inhabitants in a very short time? What kind of housing can you build? We must reach a precision level of planning and experience to apply our theory of learning to rebuild from our current situation. Everyone thinks the state will solve the problems...The state is expected to help get the job and even find the money and so forth. We are now approaching a transition period.
BN: I noticed that the high-rise housing had commercial on the ground floor and often with a plaza space around the buildings.
JOVANOVIC: That's our own professional norm. It would be ridiculous not to have the commercial mixed with the residential.
In Grbavica the need for immediate housing was great. Some of the high-rise buildings were built with housing from top to bottom. At the time there weren't enough commercial businesses to fill the ground floors. Later, the ground floors were converted to commercial. The lesson was that even though the demand to provide housing is an extreme priority, the total environment is important.
The Global Network for Rebuilding will initiate a series of workshops in the area during the next calendar year, applying urban design as a tool for conflict resolution and community building. We will look at sustainable development for industrial growth and alternative financing to improve the economy. Our plans will seek to maximize the utility of existing schools and public services in order to meet the social and economic needs of the people.
We invite students and professors from universities in the area to participate in these urban planning workshops. Together, we and the urban residents of northwest Indiana can find ways to reduce violence and build a stronger community. Call us if you would like to take part.
Producing food and meeting the social needs of the people, especially widows and orphans, are important and must be addressed in the first phases of reconstruction. We will look at cottage industries and other plans of economic recovery to meet these immediate needs. (In Tuzla, widows from Srebrenica are making rugs and woolen products).
Our approach comes from land planners with expertise in sustainable development, using urban design as a tool for conflict resolution, community building, economic planning, and GIS.
Medjugorje Urban Plan
Medjugorje was a remote mountain town in a region of the world that grew little but stones, grapes and hardheaded people rarely exposed to outsiders. That changed after a vision of the Blessed Mother by several town's children, an event that now brings large numbers of pilgrims to the city from all over the world.
The people of the area are unprepared for the rapid growth wrought by the new-found notariety of their town. The commercial area that has sprung up is not well planned and detracts esthetically from the atmosphere a religious pilgrim might expect.
The Global Network for Rebuilding would like to work with a student or student groups to provide an urban plan for Medjugorje. This plan will distinguish the city as a site where people of faith can come for inspiration and repose.
Medjugorje Orphanage Plan
The transition from communism to a free market system had only just begun when the chaos of war disrupted the changes. In Medjugorje, the Church provides most of the social services for the community.
The Franciscan order is constructing an orphanage campus composing several dozen cottages for orphans of all denominatuons form all over Bosnia, overseen by nuns. The Global Network for Rebuilding would like to work with a student or student group to provide a landscaping plan for the area.
Reconciliation Planning for Mostar and Brcko
Mostar is a divided city, critical to the success of the multi-cultural Muslim-Croat Federation but a center of Croat nationalism. Many people displaced by the war live here, adding to the overall problem of ethnic reintegration.
Mostar is part of a corridor that connects Central and Western Europe, through Brchco, Tuzla and Sarajevo, to Hercegovina and the Mediterranean coast. As part of the unified Croat-Muslim Federation negotiated in Dayton, Mostar can regain its status as a prosperous crossroads town in an otherwise poor region, only three hours' drive from Sarajevo; but if Mostar is subsumed into Craotia, it will become a mere terminus point on a road to nowhere.
The part of the city most heavily damaged by fighting is physically beautiful, home to quaint riverside lanes and architectural gems from Turkish and Austro-Hungarian periods, and with refurbishment can once again become a valuable tourist attraction. Industries can also be developed around fruit, grape and olive orchards and locally grown wool.
The strategic town of Brchco sits bestride a narrow corridor linking Serbs in western Bosnia with those in Belgrade. It is a likely spot for future conflict.
In this area, dislocated persons can look 100 feet across the Dayton boundary and see their homes occupied by the former enemy. They want their homes back, but there seems little hope. Currently there is a building race, each side restoring homes in order to increase its ethnic presence on the land.
Thanks to the following contributors to our upcoming handbook, a work in progress. It's scheduled for completion by the end of the academic year and for publication this summer, so as to be of benefit to students next year.
Those students interested in assisting these professors in their research please contact us.
SPIRITUAL LANDSCAPES: SCOTT COLLARD, BALL STATE UNIVERSITY. Landscape as it relates to the human spirit.
CITIES OF INTOLERANCE: SOHALE BUSRUI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND. The potential for uniting peoples in cities and rural areas, principles of rebuilding toward peaceful ends.
CULTURAL CAPITAL: JOHN DAVIES, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND. Determining where Bosnia's multi-cultural fabric is weakest and strongest.
ISLAMIC TOWN PLANNING: WILLIAM BECHHOEFER, UNIV. OF MARYLAND. The basics of Islamic town planning and how it relates to Bosnia.
THE NEW JERUSALEM: SADIK ARTUNC, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY. How and why East meets West in Bosnia, and its architectural and cultural significance.
THE CITY AS A MUSEUM: DR. DAVID JOHNSON, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. What is important to preserve? What is important to memorialize?
SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: MARY FISH, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA. The relationship between individual development and socioeconomic transformation in Bosnia.
INVENTING A REGIONAL PLAN OF COOPERATION FOR BOSNIA: BOB DYCK, VIRGINIA TECH. Reconstructing trust through cooperation in shared institutions, and effecting long-term plans for economic social equity.
SUSTAINABLE SARAJEVO: ANDREW EUSTON, U.S. DEPT. OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT. A plan for sustainable development as part of Sarajevo's struggle for survival.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION THROUGH DEVELOPING A REBUILDING PLAN: MICHAEL APPLEBY, VIRGINIA TECH. Ways in which conflict can be resolved in local communities by involving contending groups in reconstruction planning processes that emphasize mutual goals and interdependence.
GANDHI'S STEPS TO GLOBAL CHANGE: SHISHIR RAVAL, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY. Application of Gandhi's principles to Bosnia in the 21st Century.
EDUCATING YOUNG PEACE MAKERS: SIS LEVIN. Schools as centers for community building.
THE GLOBAL NETWORK FOR REBUILDING CONCEPT: MARTHA HUNT, BALL STATE UNIVERSITY. The role of G.I.S. in the University, its potential value to Bosnian reconstruction and beyond.
LUTFI KAPIDZIC of Sarajevo's City Planning Institute. Lutfi has been a key Network contact in Sarajevo, a good friend and gracious host. He and his father, AHMED, Director of the Institute, are among those who will be at the forefront in designing Bosnia's future.
DR. MIKE TYNER of The Matrix, home of the Birmingham Web Project, which promotes Alabama on the Internet by incubating and hosting Web sites for cultural organizations, schools, government agencies and attractions.
A Prayer for the Balkans
The Newsletter, Winter 1995
The Newsletter, Spring 1995
The Bosnia Network Newsletter, Fall 95 / Winter 96
A Note from Sarajevo
Classes and Workshops
A Letter from the Founder
A Peaceful Mobilization
An Endorsement from the ASLA President
Sarajevo Survival Guide
To Contact Us