Sarajevo's first big park was constructed at the turn of the century, during the Austro-Hungarian period. Dozens of parks followed, copious with trees and shrubs. But the siege changed the landscape of all things Sarajevan, parks included.
First, plants suffered from the shelling. Then, during the extreme winters of the Dinaric Alps the plants were cut by people desperate for any source of warmth. The same fate has befallen virtually every tree planted in parks, cemeteries, and along boulevards.
Many public parks and spaces previously earmarked for development as green belt areas were pressed into service as cemeteries. It remains to be seen whether these lands might be reclaimed at some future date, but it seems only fitting that designers treat their present use as its highest and best, and plan accordingly.
Yet, status as a cemetery does not preclude public land from collateral functions. Memorial gardens and walking paths within and between cemeteries might fulfill public needs for pastoral repast without trespassing upon the sanctity of interment.
These areas, as well as architectural details such as gateways, sculptures, and the treatment of borders, will need to be planned. We have maps for this purpose.
Blessed with peace as we are, it is perhaps easy for us to overlook the human need for simple things like a quiet walk through a shady park on a summer day, or the sight of barefoot kids flying a kite or playing ball in a grassy field. It's hard to believe that even on this level the population of Sarajevo has been deprived.
The cycle of natural growth is psychologically both redemptive and pacifying to an urban population. It is an elemental feature of any well-rounded land design. In the case of Sarajevo, it is essential.
There is little doubt that the most cost-effective
remedy that can be prescribed for Sarajevo's traumatized population is
a large dose of quiet green spaces. Any place that can be shared and enjoyed by all can only help to
unite those who partake of it.
The Bosnia Network Home Page
Sarajevo Master Plan
Redevelopment of Old Town Sarajevo
The New Jerusalem
A Master Plan for Rebuilding Sarajevo