URBACT III. SLOVENIA.
Title of the project: "Revitalizing the city centre"
Description of the project: In the small town of Kočevje all the traffic goes by cars. We have big new shopping malls at the entrance edge of the city, creating unfair competition. People are a bit left behind, the prestige means having a big car to spoil their luxury - to drive everywhere, to care only for yourself, drive kids to schools and activities, even if only 500 meter away, to park directly in front of the shop doors, etc. the old town center is fully parked, all parking lots taken, even though the town is very little - with 14,14km2 and not even 10000 inhabitants. Being very low on economy and development field (20% people unemployed), with high rates of vandalism, remote from other parts of the county physically and mentally (with no railways of highway), having great areas of forests and history always pushing us to the background. The municipality plans a reconstruction of the town’s main square with changing the traffic regime. Before that, many processes are necessary, to change the people’s habits and the way of thinking. Firstly, we would like to educate people about the benefits of cycling and walking for their health and town’s and Earth’s vitality. We would connect with NGOs, institutions, associations and clubs to spread and practice the ideology. Consequently, a certain shift would be achieved with a decrease of motor traffic and an increase of people on the streets, seeing each other, reconnecting, talking, and strengthening the social relations. We would then need a parallel process to encourage reopening of shops and other quality uses in the ground floors of old town’s buildings, to give them a purpose, and to give space to people in need with ideas and goals. Something different from our usual approach which is just doing something, with good intentions, instead of nothing - even though it might be foolish.
Partner sought: The Municipality of Kočevje is looking for partners from more developed countries as well as less developed, that solve similar problems.