Architect Djordje Bobic believes that the authorities and capital joined forces and “attacked and conquered” Belgrade, along the way establishing a new operation model in which the investors create and dictate the rules.
“Investors create the rules, control urban planning; they’ve tailored the city to their own needs so that even the Cultural Monument Protection Institute, Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade and Secretariat for Urban Planning and Construction support and approve of their intentions, business and political goals. And so the projects – the Belgrade Waterfront, Republic Square, relocation of [Belgrade’s] main railway station get approved,” Bobic said in an interview for Aug. 6 issue of Vreme weekly.
Bobic said that the authorities stopped their interaction with the citizens, adding that the latter no longer have a say. “Even during the communist rule [the authorities] communicated with the citizens, and the city developed for the benefit of the community. Then came the change, and now the citizens, without even being asked, are forced to adapt to a city which the authorities and the capital are fashioning to suit their interests,” the architect said.
According to Bobic, the authorities have also stopped communicating with some experts who disagree with their activities.
“So the city has been estranged. It has been taken away from the citizens, and it is being changed at the will of the authorities. It became unrecognizable to its inhabitants. Thus, if you haven’t been to a certain area for a while, the Republic Square for instance, you may be surprised by its [new] look – it’s like getting off a stop earlier, in a wrong city,” Bobic said.