Renovation of public spaces in Velenje

The City of Velenje lies in north-east Slovenia. Intensive urbanisation of Velenje due to the coal-mining began in the 1950s becaming the youngest city in former Yugoslavia. New dwellings for about 20.000 inhabitants were builts. It was a challenge for the town planers, as they had to design an entirely new town. The idea was to build ‘a city in a park’ — the miners work all day down the earth, so when they come out they should live in a green open city.

Before implementation, the pilot investment area in Velenje was a poorly maintained children’s playground located between blocks of flats on Koželjskega street in the local community of Gorica (one of the multicultural parts of the city). The public space is 3,386 m2 and is surrounded by six residential blocks.

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The pilot action area, before the implementation
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Volunteers at work

The basic concept of the ReNewTown pilot project developed in Velenje was to involve inhabitants in the revitalization process including voluntary work which is rooted in the socialist period of the city development. Thus, the ReNewTown pilot project has two main goals:
- Creation of a multi-functional public space catering to the needs of all generations,
- Strengthen the local community by facilitating the intergenerational and multicultural dialogue and increase the involvement of citizens in taking care of their place of residence.

The project was preceded by consultations and a survey with inhabitants examining how the public spaces should be developed and inhabitants’ willingness to participate as volunteers in the revitalization project. The survey covered 39% of the housing estate’s residents. Based on the survey, the most important information obtained is that as much as 71 % of the respondents are willing to voluntarily assist in the implementation of the pilot action. The survey results showed that people are mainly interested in construction of the playground (74% of responses), followed by space for sport and recreation (14%), the park (11%) and others facilities (1%).

The pilot project was started in summer of 2012. The materials needed to complete the project were financed by the ReNewTown project from the ERDF. Physical work on the construction was mainly done by volunteers. From July 9-13, 64 volunteers accomplished 1,567 hours of work to make their neighborhood a nicer and friendlier place to live. The project was supported with 38,500 EUR from EU funds.

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The ceremony marking the start of work was attended by the president of Slovenia, Danilo Türk
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Public space after ReNewTown pilot project implementation

The opening ceremony was attended by the president of Slovenia, Danilo Türk. The event attracted the interest of both local and national media. The president highlighted the importance of intergenerational solidarity at different levels, including housing estates, which gives citizens hope for their present and future well-being. He stressed that Slovenia has a good tradition of solidarity, which includes the enthusiasm experienced after the Second World War. Velenje has become and still remains a symbol of solidarity and a strong will to build a future together. The help of volunteers in the implementation of the ReNewTown pilot project in Velenje continued the spirit of volunteering and presented it to Slovenia and Europe as an example of good practice.


Implementation of the project on timeline:

• May 2011: ReNewTown Pilot Action in Velenje (Marko Govek) 

• October 2011: ReNewTown Pilot Action in Velenje - progress in implementation (Marko Govek) 

• November 2011: Leaflet on preparatory works to pilot action in Velenje 

• November 2012: ReNewTown Pilot Action in Velenje - progress in implementation (Marko Govek)

• March 2013: ReNewTown Pilot Action in Velenje - progress in implementation (Marko Govek)

• May 2013: Leaflet on pilot actions' results