NALED and USAID Present a Competition for the Revitalization of Abandoned Public Spaces

NALED and USAID Present a Competition for the Revitalization of Abandoned Public Spaces
USAID Serbia's Acting Mission Director Peter Wiebler speaks at the conference
NALED Srbija

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

BELGRADE – National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presented a competition today for the transformation of abandoned public spaces (brownfield locations) into inspirational gathering places for young, entrepreneurial and talented people from the spheres of art, culture and education.

The competition officially starts at the beginning of May and will be open to all local self-governments with creative ideas and available brownfield locations that can be re-used. NALED's Commission shall narrow down the selection to three locations. The location with the most potential will be selected by the end of June. NALED will then provide expert support to key stakeholders – local self-government officials, civil sector and businesses – including organizing a study visit presenting best practice examples from other countries, developing a business plan and revitalization design for the brownfield and providing adequate training.

The objective of this competition is to come up with a best practice example for other cities and municipalities in Serbia on how to revitalize abandoned factories, industrial facilities, warehouses, military buildings and similar facilities, thereby changing the image of their city and promoting economic and social development.

Peter Wiebler, Acting Mission Director of USAID in Serbia stated at the conference, ”Best practices from the United States show that, in many cases, innovative brownfield redevelopments have, in their own way, become a landmark of their cities, in addition to generating investments and advancing local economies.”

Member of NALED Management Board and Pirot Mayor, Vladan Vasić, stressed that today's conference marks the beginning of yet another project aimed at developing a better business environment on the local level. “Through the Certification of Business Friendly Municipalities Program, NALED has inspired local governments to re-assess and improve their rules and practices. Through this project, NALED will encourage them to re-examine their approaches to potential uses of public spaces that are no longer being utilized, and to revitalize them creatively, thus opening a new development perspective for the entire local community,” said Vasić.

This competition is a part of a two-year Project for Strengthening Competitiveness in Serbia, initiated in December 2013, focusing on two burning issues of domestic economy – brownfield revitalization and the shadow economy.