Participatroy Mapping of Urban Development Potentials of Koper

City / Country / Region: 
Koper / Coastal / Slovenia
Commissioner(s) / Initiator(s): 

Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS), Faculty of Architecture of the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana, City Municipality of Koper (CMOK), Local NGOs in Koper

Local / Citizens' Knowledge Production as a Tool for Placemaking: 

In 2019 CMOK started preparatory activities for the preparation of the new spatial development documentation of the city and its hinterlands. The city of Koper is the only port city of Slovenia and thus under many development opportunities and constraints. Based on the previous research activities the city administration recognized the need to prepare different base-ground studies to support the development of the new spatial documentation, one of them being a study of perceptions and views on possible future development of the city that exist among different local stakeholders (namely residents and local businesses).

Participatory Processes: 

An online platform was established to reveal the shared development vision for the municipality, city and its neighborhoods. The conceptual framework was based on the conviction that an early involvement of different stakeholders is needed in order to find common denominators and thus overcome the boundaries or obstacles between them. Different focus groups (NGOs, youngsters, civil initiatives etc) were invited to answer the questionnaires tailored to each focus group but at the same time covering the overreaching theme – the development potentials of the city and the desired future image of the city. Through the contributions of different stakeholders it was possible to reveal the shared values and visions for the future development of the city and its hinterlands. 

Digital Tools Used: 

The online platform was embedded in the pre-existing portal which has many functionalities that allow general and professional public to discuss the urban development related matters through the usage of forums, discussion boards, photography, GIS mapping, questionnaires etc. 

Bottom-Up Digital Practices: 

The approach is novel for the Slovenian practice as it encourages the general public to join the discussion at a very early stage on the initiative of the local administration, it can thus be classified as a combined top-down and bottom-up approach. In order to reach the widest possible publics, it was essential to use the on-line portal as the central venue, which was then promoted via different other channels (local press, local radio, municipal PR, NGOs social media etc.). An essential moment for a success of such an approach was (besides its digital central platform) the digital literacy of the stakeholders who had to use the online platform to express themselves (urban-quarter councils, local schools, NGOs etc).

Disciplinary / Professional Field: 

Urban planning, participatory practices, NGO, IT and social media

Articles / Publications / Websites: 

Project Web Site:

Participatory portal Participiraj! :

Bizjak, I., Klinc, R., Turk, Ž. (2017) A framework for open and participatory designing of built environments. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, vol. 66, pp 65-82. ISSN 0198-9715. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2017.08.002.