Public can get involved in city planning in 2018

The Metropolitan Plan will be open for people’s comments this year

A lot is planned for the development of the city in 2018. One of the main events will be the public discussion of the Metropolitan Plan. Architects and city officials have been working on the plan since 2012, and the public will be able to get involved in the spring. Other city projects should also see progress.

The Metropolitan Plan plan covers the future development of the capital for the next 15 to 20 years. It is intended to prevent urban sprawl and encourage redevelopment of brownfields. It will also regulate the height of buildings and suggest a limited number of locations suitable for highrises.

“We made the announcement well in advance so that everyone could study the material in detail. The comments will be forwarded to the relevant offices in the spring of 2018. The exact date will be announced in a timely manner. It is a key document that will affect the future shape of the city,” Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said on the City Hall website.

Currently, the draft of the Metropolitan Plan is undergoing a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

Among the changes that the city center is expecting in 2018 is the modification of the surroundings of the renovated historical building of the National Museum. It deserves a more dignified environment for a quiet zone between the two museum buildings and the area in front of the historic building, thanks to a sufficiently wide pedestrian crossing, the City all stated on its website.

The entry from the busy main road should be better integrated into the city center in the coming years and help with studies by Gehl Architects of Denmark.

Changes are also awaiting Malostranské náměstí. The first phase of its reconstruction will begin in the first half of next year with a comprehensive archaeological survey and rebuilding of tram tracks. Then there will new paving installed according to the design by the winner of the international competition, architect Hájek, in cooperation with conservationists.

There should be an increase in public art due to the strategic program called 2% to Art, which will allocate funds to create new works and ensure expert selection of locations for their placement. The material for the program should be approved at the beginning of the year.

This is a bit of return to the communist era when between 2 and 4 percent of every public building project went to art. This is the reason for all the sculptures and murals in high-rise housing projects and in metro stops built before 1990. Since then, funding for public art had largely dried up.

“There are lots of places in Prague, especially outside the historical center, where quality art could find its place. Statues that have been created over the last decades often are poor quality and, in the vast majority of cases, have not resulted from a proper design competition. This [new program] not only brings fairer procurement but also produces better, more original and more varied results,” Kolínská said.

The year 2017 saw several positive developments including the opening of the Center for Architecture and Urban Planning (CAMP) in September. It is a modern multimedia gallery where the inhabitants of Prague can learn what is going on in the city. The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) launched the program with an exhibition about the future of Smíchov.

The plan for the construction of Smíchov City should see further development this year. According to City Hall, this project proves that cooperation between the city, developers, and citizens can work well and bring fruit.

The participation of citizens is an inspiration for other similar projects, City Hall said, adding that Smíchov City will show that unused areas in the city can be transformed into high-quality lively neighborhoods with greenery and public amenities. “The use of brownfields, following the example of Smíchov, is the ideal way for the development of Prague in the future. The focus of new construction must be on land that is now abandoned, although it is in the wider center of the city, and usually forms a barrier to the permeability of the city. Smíchov City is a good example,” Kolínská said.

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