Community development, Environment and sustainability

Klajn Park shortlist

Empowering the local community through a participatory method of design-and-build for an inclusive transformable pocket park in the town of Klanjec, Croatia.


Who is behind this?

Dunja Bovan

The House Collective



Idea pitch

Klajn Park is a design-and-build community project using public participation in the decision-making, planning, design, and building of a pocket park aiming at social cohesion in a rural and deprived area. By the democratic design-and-build methodology, the local community is empowered to interdependently work in all stages. By sustainable use of space and materials and social equity in scenario development, the park is to be a flexible public space accompanying a neighboring cultural center.

Where will your project idea take place?

Klanjec, Krapina-Zagorje county, north-west Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Ideally, public spaces should enable us to actively engage with ourselves and others, and strengthen our societal involvement. In this region, public spaces are usually designed without public participation and awareness of the specific needs of the local community. They tend to be passive and non-inclusive, with a restricting regime of use. An additional consequence of a closed-up decision and design-making process is a deficiency of care and connection with those spaces. We believe that if both stakeholders and citizens are actively involved in identifying their needs and wishes in creating communal spaces, the direct result would be a more tight-knit and attentive community.

Who are you doing it for?

The involvement of a wide basis of people is at the core of the idea for the project, therefore our target groups involve the entire broader community of 500 citizens of Klanjec. All those that are a part of the local community such as kindergarten and school children and their parents, the elderly, local craftsmen, representatives of public and cultural institutions such as the local ‘Antun Mihanović’ library and ‘Antun Augustinčić’ gallery. By doing it with and for the existing community, members of the House Collective, and the next generation of Klanjec’s inhabitants, we aim to raise awareness of all the possibilities of public participation in the decision-making.

How do you plan to get there?

All project activities include local community and stakeholders (municipal government, cultural institutions, educational institutions, hunters’ association, chamber of craftsmen, etc.) and are curated by mentors and the House Collective members:

•Meetings and discussions on inclusive public space and its potential to strengthen the community
•Workshops and lectures on sustainable and inclusive shared space, the green infrastructure of Klanjec, the right to public space, the relationship between private and public spaces, and spatial memory and identity
•Themed screenings, exhibitions, and artistic performances
•Site analysis (survey), workshops on possible new scenarios for Klajn Park
•Landscape design workshop aimed at developing multiple-use scenarios for Klajn Park
•Drafting the landscape design project, creating a long-term development plan and its implementation on the site
•Project construction with professionals, local craftsmen, and the broader community involved on the site
•Opening and dedication of the Klajn Park, community event

During the design process, we will keep an open studio in which any member of the community can stop by and discuss the project, offer insights, visions, and ideas. Planning, design, and implementation of Klajn Park will be carried through design and build methodology, following its democratic and participatory approach.

What are the expected results?

The Klajn Park project will enhance the further development not only of the House of Klajn but also the quality of life and public space. The established methodology of community-building processes will be implemented in future planning and design processes that deal with the shaping of public and inclusive spaces. The strengthening of the relationship between the local community and stakeholders will have a wider influence on the future development of the town.
By educating the public on the importance of well-spread networks of inclusive public spaces and green zones we will ultimately strive to enrich Klanjec’s green system and positive implication of the quality of life while ensuring a new space for cultural production in a culture deprived rural area.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The Klajn Park project acts as both a case study and a platform where the local community and different interest groups can address some of Klanjec’s social and political issues. Engagement in the Klajn Park project will be a benchmark for future social and political participation but also a milestone for the individuals and their personal growth and education. Participating in debates, expressing their opinions, collaborating with other citizens, stakeholders and experts will enhance the knowledge in the interpretation of spatial plans. The citizens will be provided with insights into planning processes that will help them understand spatial challenges and recognize opportunities.

Why is this idea important to you?

The House Collective runs the House of Klajn, a community-based cultural center and artist residency in Klanjec, Croatia. Like all our activities and long-term plans, Klajn Park project relies strongly on the participation of the community. In the process of creating stronger support for contemporary inclusive art and creation, we aim to create a sustainable social lifecycle of the house and the town in a deprived area. Mentors in this project are: Mate Rupić, landscape architect experienced in design and build workshops and participatory projects, Tea Truta, architect and researcher, engaged in popularization of spatial challenges, and Jere Kuzmanić, architect and urbanist, engaged in a wide range of social and environmental topics in spatial planning, urbanism, and spatial pedagogy

€ 39680,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses


What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We’d like to get feedback from organizations and individuals whose work and interests meet ours. Community-driven projects in arts, culture, architecture, and education can be resources and an opportunity to share experiences and ideas with the potential of becoming partners in future projects.


The House Collective



Idea created on April 24, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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