One of the most important infrastructure projects to be realised as part of the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture project, the Youth Creative Polis, has reinstated its significance and importance during yesterday’s presentation of the Plan for detailed regulation of the devastated facilities of the former ‘Petar Drapšin’ plant, commonly known as the Chinese Quarter among citizens of Novi Sad.
After the public inspection performed in December last year, Darko Polić, PhD presented the Plan for detailed regulation of the Chinese Quarter and Czech Magazine facilities in Novi Sad, at the City Assembly of Novi Sad yesterday. Dr Polić pointed out that the Plan envisages only architectural and infrastructure solutions for this location. The citizens who were present expressed great interests in the final function of that space, and Dr Polić announced that the future concept and management will be determined through other plans, which will involve the public participation.
The conclusion was that the most important effects of this Plan are revitalisation of the industrial heritage, and transformation that will designate this space for purposes of culture, art, crafts and entrepreneurship in creative industries as the only such space in Novi Sad and Serbia, as well as one of the few in the region. Furthermore, it is necessary to stress that the Plan for detailed regulation envisages transformation of the Chinese Quarter and not its demolition, and that this location is not intended for residential, business or any other commercial usage.
The citizens of Novi Sad showed great interest for this process, which confirms the basic principles defined during the bidding process of Novi Sad for the European Capital of Culture: transparency, awareness, participation and democracy. The citizens were aware of and informed about the public discussion, and they showed in great number demonstrating strong willingness to participate by expressing their attitudes, suggestions, comments and praises.
In this way, the formation of the Youth Creative Polis is a great success and unique example in the region, and one of rare examples in Europe for the public squatting, i.e. transformation of (semi)neglected public spaces into cultural places for youth, where they can bring to life various non-commercial creative and cultural initiatives.
It is important to state that, during the final selection for the European Capital of Culture for 2021, the delegation of Novi Sad was told in Brussels that the Youth Creative Polis project was one of the reasons for obtaining this prestigious title. Jordi Pascual, coordinator of the Agenda 21 for culture, member of the jury for selection of the European Capital of Culture, and founder and member of the European Lab for Culture, expressed his interests in the Youth Creative Polis project, which will, according to his opinion and if realised as planned, be one of the successful models that should be shared as a know-how with other cities that will become European Capitals of Culture.
Moreover, this project is one more in series of confirmations that the programme concept of Novi Sad as the European Capital of Culture in 2021 under the motto ‘4 New Bridges’ is formulated on good basis. One of the ‘bridges’ is entitled Freedom, and it includes creative industries and youth, while the Hope ‘bridge’ is dedicated to cultural capacities and public spaces, all of which is projected through transformation of the Chinese Quarter into the Youth Creative Polis, and the Czech Magazine into future museum space.
The ‘Novi Sad 2021’ foundation will continue with the implementation of one of the key projects directly related to the European Capital of Culture in 2021 and European Youth Capital in 2019 by transforming the Chinese Quarter and Czech Magazine through public-private partnership into a unique cultural and creative district in this region directed towards young people – the Youth Creative Polis – which will have immeasurable cultural, social and economic benefits for Novi Sad.