Bottom-up approach for a new periurban park in Prague
The Institute for Planning and Development of the Prague City (IPR Prague) is setting the scene for the creation of a periurban park in Prague, in the confluence area of the Berounka and Vltava rivers. This area is of great importance in Prague, therefore there are contrasting interests from the different municipalities, businesses, landowners and other institutions acting there. Having a common understanding and involving the main stakeholders is a fundamental step, hence why the Institute started a bottom-up approach towards having a consensus on the possible implementation plan of the periurban park.
To provide a European perspective on the management and development of Periurban Parks, EUROPARC Federation and FEDENATUR (the European Federation of Metropolitan and Periurban Natural and Rural Areas – who recently joined forces with EUROPARC) were invited to share expertise and good practices from their networks.
Developing a bottom-up approach: the 1st Workshop
IPR Prague organised a 2-days workshop, on the 25th-26th November, gathering the main local actors and several international experts from FEDENATUR and EUROPARC Federation members’ network. The main goal of the workshop was to discuss the possible development of the periurban park, following a bottom-up approach. Several topics were discussed, from green infrastructures to community involvement and ecological impact. The level of participation was very high, with over 120 people attending the 1st day and over 70 on the second day, mainly representatives of the City of Prague and IPR Prague together with the local actors and city stakeholders: inhabitants, entrepreneurs, landowners, users, environmentalists and business companies from the area.
On the first day, participants were given a more clear view about the important role of Periurban Parks, by the voice of Teresa Pastor, Project Manager at EUROPARC Federation. After Teresa’s presentation, participants have heard practical experiences from the following members of FEDENATUR:
- Marià Martí – Fedenatur’s Secretary-General and Director of Collserola Nature Park;
- Pierre Dhenin – former director of Espace Nature Lille Métropole;
- Fernando Louro Alves – counsellor of the Parque Florestal de Monsanto Lisboa;
- Riccardo Gini – Director of the Parco Nord Milano;
- Maria Pia Sparla – Deputy director of the Parco Agricolo Sud Milano.
During the second day, the workshop was organised in form of working groups for specific subjects, with the participants taking part in one of them. Michael Hošek – vice-president of EUROPARC Federation and representing the Federation, also took part in the discussion and working groups, bringing his experience and advice to the table.
Challenges for the creation of a periurban park
Implementing a new peri-urban park within a city – especially if it is the most populated in the country – raises several challenges. Different perspectives and economic interests overlap in the same territory by the wide range of stakeholders who would be directly impacted with the creation of a Periurban Park. Therefore, building a bottom-up consensus, through the active engagement of all interested groups and actors, is the first step.
During the discussion, participants identified the main issues they would be facing in the area, such as:
- it is a flood zone. During last flooding events in Prague, most households were badly affected
- there is a food distribution hub that employs thousands of people that should not be there because of legal requirements
- there are a golf course and sports area
- there is a project to turn the Berounka river navigable. This would seriously alter the river ecosystem
- a landowner has a concession to exploit a grave mine in his land. This would cause much damage to the area.
In order to have a deeper analysis of the challenges, three main areas were discussed at the working groups’ tables: Governance, Identity and Participation
Governance: At this table, it was discussed current land fragmentation, which complicates the development of the Confluence area. The lack of elements of stewardship or shared management was also highlighted.
Identity: At this table, participants discussed the current ways of land use and finding intersections of various ambitions, goals and projects of particular actors in the area. It was discussed about the possible major functions of the future periurban park (recreational, environmental, economic etc.) that will be the basis of the park´s identity.
Participation: Participants discussed how to support cooperation and partnerships between non-profit, public and private sectors for increasing values of public spaces and relationships in the area.
The workshop was the first event in a series of steps in order to set up the Confluence Periurban park project. Despite the good number of participants, not all stakeholders were presented, therefore, it was agreed that the participating stakeholders will establish a so-called platform and invite all others to participate in the joint development of the area. The first stone has been laid.
For further information about the creation of the periurban park in Prague please contact EUROPARC Federation, we will then forward your request to the correct person.