Redesign of Public Spaces in Skopje 2.0: Molding Creative Mindsets

Area under the Kale fortress
The area under Kale fortress

The Idea

There are several real problems plaguing major cities in developing countries — air pollution, flash flooding, and poverty to name a few. Issues that can’t easily be fixed due to the unnatural growth, and more importantly, the power vacuums that said growth creates.

What if we gave these people a voice and a working platform?

Invite passionate, creative experts and hard-workers to come together for a common cause. Produce an environment that fosters a sense of responsibility. An environment that works with the people, for the people. The outcome of which could inspire those who attended to take on a more active role in their own communities.

The Approach

This go-around we ended up doing two four-day workshops in the span of three months affecting nine different locations. Two public calls for mentors were placed. One was in November 2019, and the other in January 2020, citing the need for passionate, professional architects and social engineers that wanted a positive, and more importantly, independent effect on their local communities. Another public call was sent out a week later respectively. This time asking for concerned citizens with varying degrees of knowledge and proficiency, but interested in an inclusive, co-creative environment designed for administrating social good. Understanding the multi-disciplinary present at each of the workshops, the participants were split into groups and were each assigned a location to work on.

Workshop 1
Workshop 2

The Result

The workshop participants went over and beyond everyone’s expectations. The opportunity to create real change in such a positive way that is easy to see and understand, proved the best type of motivation.

Student dorm park before
Student dorm park after

And yes, we are far from done with this initiative as a whole.

“The city of Skopje by the very virtue of supporting this campaign of redesigning the public spaces, shows a willingness to listen and understand the importance of such initiatives which improve the quality of life of all citizens,” Sofija Bogeva professed. “However, greater support is needed from the citizens themselves, especially when it comes to the proactive promotion of such events — or the lack thereof — and in identifying the alluded opportunities with different organizations that work with the subject at hand, mainly the private sector who we look towards for support during the implementation phase.”

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SkopjeLab - City of Skopje Innovation Center

SkopjeLab - City of Skopje Innovation Center

@SkopjeLab is experimental and collaborative space of City of Skopje for co-designing and prototyping local public policies and services in Skopje, Macedonia.