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Urban study as a prerequisite for the future development of the municipality. How to get it? Through participation!

We wrote about the first ever participatory meeting in the village of Mnetěš last October. Do you remember it? If not, you can refresh your memory here.

One swallow doesn’t make a spring, but when there are more, change is surely coming. The October participatory meeting, which focused on the preparation of an urban study of the public space of Mnetěš, was very productive. Participants came up with a number of interesting suggestions, based on their knowledge of the place and how the village’s public space functions. Four areas for future improvements were identified for the study: the avenue to the Říp mountain, public spaces and ponds, parking, and vegetation.

The purpose of the follow-up meeting in early February was to present the draft of the urban study for the public space prepared by architectural studio Taktiky and to outline possible future changes to the public space in Mnetěš. The study was presented not only to the general public, but also to the Lobkowicz family (a Czech noble family, which owns some of the land around Mnetěš) and farmers at separate meetings. The latter group in particular repeatedly declared that they felt excluded from the dialogue on the future direction of the region. This feeling can be changed with being a part of a participatory experience where people have the space to share their views and leave their comments. All the meetings were opportunities to gather feedback. Each group brought their own perspective to the study and this is why their involvement is invaluable.

Participants had the opportunity to react to the current form of the study and suggest further modifications. Therefore, a significant part of the meeting was devoted to a presentation that clearly showed exactly what Mnetěš could look like in the future. During the discussion with the citizens, which was attended by 27 people, the issue of the land owned by the Lobkovicz family was addressed. In the context of the high-speed railway line, the possibility of buying private land was discussed. One of the topics of the questionnaire survey, carried out during the first participatory meeting, was the evaluation of the accessibility of the roads between Mnetěš and the neighboring villages. Pedestrian and cycle paths were also discussed in the second meeting. 

The draft of the study presented is still a “living” document. Taktiky will continue to work on it and try to incorporate the comments received. This is also illustrated by the subject of the pier on the pond, in this case the architects have promised to implement new comments from the citizens in order to meet their requirements in the best possible way.

What happened next? The rough draft was published on the council’s website and anyone could comment on it for 2 weeks. After incorporating all of the comments, a clean draft of the study will be created. Once completed, it will be entered in the register and will serve as a planning document and will represent the vision that the municipality wants to implement step by step.

An urban study document is a map of development for the municipality for the next few decades. It is therefore essential that there is a community-wide consensus on the chosen direction, key issues and outcomes, while also staying independent of the 4-year election cycle of the municipal leadership. The participatory meetings gave every citizen, farmer, and land owner the opportunity to become a direct creator and stakeholder in the future of their village. This approach allows for more effective decision-making with a greater degree of legitimacy and consideration of the needs and wishes of the whole community.

Do you want to prepare an urban study for your municipality, but you have no idea how to manage the whole process? Or do you want to learn more about participation? Contact us at info@participationfactory.com!