Happy 2021!

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Happy 2021!

Smoties - Human Cities

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Smoties - Human Cities

New activities dedicated to public spaces in small and remote places

Human Cities Network ( was established in 2006 as a platform for interdisciplinary exchanges in the field of participatory revitalization of public spaces. It takes place within the EU Creative Europe program and in Slovenia with the organizational support of Motovila - Creative Europe Desk Slovenia ( The network is represented by 10 European partners, the activities in Slovenia are managed by the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia ( In 2018, the partnership became global through its activities in Asia.

The new sequel to Human Cities begins in November 2020 with #Smoties activities. The next four years will be devoted to finding new forms of cooperation and taking on local partners to implement participation in innovative approaches aimed at better understanding and revitalizing public spaces in small and remote places. Are you ready to test your ideas about emerging forms of public life in remote places of our world? The journey begins, welcome to join and follow #Smoties ( for instant information!

Call for Abstracts for Special Issue of Urban Challenge Journal - Changing streets in changing cities: providing streets for all?

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Call for Abstracts for Special Issue of Urban Challenge Journal - Changing streets in changing cities: providing streets for all?

Deadline for submission of the abstracts: 15th of October 2020.

You are kindly invited to submit a contribution to Special Issue of Urban Challenge journal titled


Special Issue will be published in English.
Deadline for submission of the abstracts: 15th of October 2020.

More information 

Yours sincerely,

Main editorial of Urban Challenge and Guest editors

You are invited to participate in the fourth international City Street4 (CS4) online conference

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You are invited to participate in the fourth international City Street4 (CS4) online conference

23. and 24. September 2020

The conference addresses issues of contemporary public space design and management from different inter-and trans-disciplinary perspectives. The keynote-speeches, thematic sessions and roundtables address the questions of integral approaches to universal mobility, the impact of urban density on public space quality and its direct co-dependence with sustainable forms of mobility, among many others.

Conference program

More about the conference 

The official program will be in English. The attendance is free of charge.

Using the UIRS Library from 4. 5. 2020 on

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Using the UIRS Library from 4. 5. 2020 on

Ordering library's material

You can order library's material through web service My Library or by email

When we prepare the material we will notify you. 

You can order max 5 different material. You can become a member of our library online. The membership is free.

If you can't come for the library's material personally we can send it to you by post. The postal costs will be paid by the user.

Currenty you can't yet return the library's material. The loan period of library's material is beeing renewed automatically.

For more information write to us or call us 031 581 528.

Stay healthy!

UIRS Connecting Nature

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UIRS Connecting Nature

Project team attended the Training Course Nature based solutions in Urban planning

The course manly focused on environmental aspects of wellbeing in the city and the potential environmental benefits that Nature based solutions (NBS) can bring. Lecturers from different research fields upskilled participants in understanding the ecological foundations of NBS, assessing their impacts on ecosystem services and applying key principles for NBS design.

Green roofs, rain gardens, community gardens and green walls are just some of the Nature based solutions (NBS) defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits” (Cohen-Shacham et al., 2016:2).

The NBS research field is progressing rapidly, but the implementation of nature-based solutions in urban planning is still complex and often difficult process. Therefore, in February 2020 a training course “Nature based solutions in Urban planning” was organized, at the University of Trento. The course was coordinated by the Horizon 2020 and supported by the project ReNature. Two-day training attended PhD students, post-doc students, research fellows, practitioners, as well as public officers interested in planning and designing NBS to address urban challenges. It was led by the researcher dr. Davide Geneletti, professor of spatial planning at the University of Trento, specialized in impact assessment of projects, plans and policies, spatial and urban planning, ecosystem services and multicriteria analysis.

The Course Focus

The course manly focused on environmental aspects of wellbeing in the city and the potential environmental benefits that NBS can bring. Lecturers from different research fields upskilled participants in understanding the ecological foundations of NBS, assessing their impacts on ecosystem services and applying key principles for NBS design. The teaching approach was based on interrelational lectures, discussions and case study works, conducted in groups. The following main issues were addressed:

  • Current thinking and experiences in European cities
  • Urban ecosystems, their biodiversity and functions
  • Mapping and assessing urban ecosystem services
  • Analyzing demand for NBS and potential beneficiaries
  • NBS design to target specific urban needs and challenges
  • Windows of opportunities and constraints to mainstream NBS in urban plans.

Discussion raised fruitful questions, to expose here some of the most challenging in relations planning-governance-practice-better quality living:

  • How do we know that NBS works better than other technically solutions of grey infrastructure, and how does the dimension of time affect the sustainability of the grey infrastructure comparing to NBS solutions?
  • What are the consequences of NBS for the surrounding area and can NBS also have a negative effect(s), such as rising real estate prices in the neighborhood?
  • How to think about the cities challenges as NBS solution?

Practical exercise

Participants were taken to a field visit in the city center, and then assigned for case studies analysis and design of NBS, considering inputs learnt at the lessons during the course. Case study work conducted in groups followed the process of, firstly identifying city challenges and secondly, proposing the appropriate type of NBS.

The main challenge of the urban planning exercise was to select 4 of the 21 sites, that are classified by the Urban Plan of the City of Trento as urban transformation sites. In the chosen sites we had to propose zoning areas, containing a new residential areas and areas with different type of NBS. The decision on the allocation of zoning areas was dependent on each group, where we had to provide an equivalent proportion of both types of areas within the total surface of the 4 areas.

The planning of NBS is supposed to take a comprehensive approach; therefore, in the area's primary proposed a residential use, our group always included the NBS.

In the Training Course, NBS were also defined within the Ecosystem services (ES) framework. The benefits of NBS planning actions were addressed in terms of changes in human wellbeing, coherently with planning goals that address the specific challenges of the city. 

ES were understood as the measured benefits of NBS in terms of the increased provision of several key ES for population wellbeing e.g. climate mitigation and air purification.

We were provided with the GIS database, consisting of two types of analysis:

  • ES supply, which included the evaluation of the sites in terms of spatial characteristics and their ability to provide certain benefits for the wellbeing of the surrounding population.
  • ES demand including evaluated areas in terms of potential beneficiaries of improved environmental conditions.

Our group determined 4 areas considering the most problematic areas in terms of environmental challenges and the areas with greatest need for mitigating environmental effect in terms of wellbeing. Our planning objective derived from the analyses of the city area in the frame of mapping the provision of NBS benefits - mapping ES:

ES Air purification consider areas regarding their ability to contribute to better air quality and to remove particulate matter.  ES supply analysis assesses areas regarding the different type of vegetation (trees, grass and shrubs) and their proximity to the pollution source (roads). The areas of ES demand were primarily defined as residential areas near busy roads; however, it would also make sense to identify polluted areas, used by people for recreation and socializing (e.g. public spaces, frequently used walking routes).

ES Habitat provision refers to the richness of areas with plant, animal species that are important for the ecological aspects of providing biodiversity in the city. Ecological modeling (Zardo et al., 2017) has considered the potential richness of species biodiversity, hotspots of the biodiversity in the urban area and the ecological value of river ecosystems.

ES Climate regulation refers to the assessment of areas in terms of temperature reduction capacity in Trento. The evaluation process defined the coverage of tree canopy areas and the evaluation of evapotranspiration (ratio of tree canopy cover, soil cover and area size). Areas of demand for ES has been identified in urban areas that are exposed to high temperatures and are inhabited by vulnerable population groups (e.g. children and the elderly).

Food provision ES refers to the assessment of the suitability of an area in relation to the current level of food production and the morphological suitability for agricultural activity (slope, soil and altitude). The analysis also showed areas of demand for ES, where residential areas without a private garden, were assessed regarding the distance to community gardens.

ES Noise mitigation assesses the capacity of vegetation barriers to absorb traffic noise and reduce noise pollution for residential buildings nearby. ES Noise mitigation demand refers to noise level from road and railroads (above 65dB) near residential buildings, but could also consider hospital, educational and recreational areas as a demand for noise mitigation etc.

ES Recreation assesses the areas according to their possibilities of recreation. The evaluation of potential sites was based on the structural characteristics of the area and the ability to identify areas as NBS. Accessibility and infrastructure (e.g. well-maintained cycle lanes and parking facilities) were also considered. The areas of ES demand were defined as residential areas, their assessment varied according to the distance of 300 meters (5min walk) to a quality recreational area.

Runoff mitigation evalues areas regarding the ability to infiltrate and retain stormwater, thus reducing the amount of runoff that enters the sewage system.

Assessment and indicators related to wellbeing of social dimension (e.g. social cohesion, meeting the different needs of different types of users) weren’t use in this assessment, but are also important aspect in the process of spatial planning.

An example of an ES analysis Climate regulation, where a mapping of NBS contributions is mapped in terms of cooling capacity:

The advantage of the method seems to be in the understanding of the NBS as different types of solutions with different spatial components and environmental effects. Current spatial planning practices often address greenery in the city only from a structural point of view or regarding specific functions for residents (e.g. recreation), while NBS concept considers nature primarily from its processes, that can provide pleasant conditions in city.

Further discussion and dilemmas

Although the NBS and ecosystem services (ES) are relatively new concepts and most ES studies, are far from a real-life application, Geneletti (2011) acknowledges the potential of ES assessment to increase the quality of planning processes and decision.

For example, Cortinovis and Geneletti (2018) refine and upgrade the method used in the Training course. The example has not been discussed at Training Course, but it seems important to show its usefulness in real-life urban planning context:

Primer prikazuje primerjavo med obstoječimi značilnostmi območja in scenarijem načrtovanja novega mestnega parka. Novi prostorski predlog prikazuje polmer 300-ih metrov, ki bi prebivalcem omogočil ustrezno razdaljo do rekreacijskega območja z NBS zasnovo in z izboljšanimi mikroklimatskimi pogoji.

Udeležbo na dvodnevnem tečaju Na naravi temelječe rešitve v urbanističnem načrtovanju, je bila podprta s projektom Connecting nature, ki ga financira program Obzorje 2020 v sporazumu o dodelitvi sredstev Evropske unije št. 730222.


Cohen-Shacham, E., Janzen, C., Maginnis S., Walters, G. (2016): Nature-based Solutions to address global societal challenges. Gland, IUCN

Cortinovis, C. Geneletti, D. (2018): Mapping and assessing ecosystem services to support urban planning: a case study on brownfield regeneration. One Ecosyst (sneto 1.3.2020)

Geneletti, D. (2011): Reasons and options for integrating ecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment of spatial planning, Ecosystem and people, 7(3).

Geneletti, D., Cortinovis, C., Zardo, L., Esmail, B. A. (2019): Planning for Ecosystem Services in Cities. In:  Applying Ecosystem Services to Support Planning Decisions: A Case Study, pages: 43–56. Springer International Publishing.

Training Course Nature based solutions in Urban planning: case study material (2020): Trento, ReNature, University of Trento.

Posner, S., McKenzie, E., Ricketts, T.H. (2016): Policy impacts of ecosystem services knowledge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (7).

Zardo, L., Geneletti, D., Pérez-Soba, M., van Eupen, M. (2017) Estimating the cooling capacity of green infrastructures to support urban planning. Ecosystem Services 26: 225‑235.

Although ES research and policy communities are often disconnected from one another, ES knowledge can enter decision-making process through multiple pathways associated with different potential influences, from raising stakeholder awareness to shaping specific decision (Posner et al., 2016, Geneletti et al.). Among the pathways described by Posner et al. (2016) the following example shows how to use ES knowledge to generate actions and produce outcomes. The example assesses the cooling effect of urban green infrastructure in city of Trento and recreation opportunity for its residents. The analyzed data was used as a baseline to determine the potential benefits produced by different brown field regeneration (Geneletti et al., 2019)

Management of Cultural Heritage Sites

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Management of Cultural Heritage Sites

3rd ICOMOS Slovenia's monograph focuses on the topic of Cultural Heritage Management is issued. The articles tackles specific issues and address them in the context of key topics such as: the legal and administrative frameworks of managing cultural heritage sites, management approaches and policies, and the challenges posed by cultural tourism.

The introductory article was prepared by Jelka Pirkovič, where she presents contemporary concepts of heritage management. This is followed by four articles on the challenges of managing and governing heritage sites in Slovenia. Špela Spanžel discusses the implementation of UNESCO cultural heritage in Slovenia, and Nataša Kolenc talks about the challenges of private-public partnership in built heritage restoration. Tomaž Golob’s article provides a theoretical overview of participatory management of urban areas of cultural heritage, using several Slovenian cases as examples, while Vlasta Vodeb reports about BhENEFIT project’s best practices related to the use of historic building information modelling (HBIM) methods in managing and monitoring historic building areas.

The next four articles illustrate cases of heritage site management beyond Slovenian borders. The tone of this part is set by Helen Kendrick’s article on the exceptional success of heritage-led regeneration of Glasgow, Scotland. Over the past three decades Glasgow has managed to turn its fortunes around and emerged from its industrial past to become a centre of cultural tourism. The case of Mostar and its connections with cultural tourism, boosted by its inscription on the World Heritage List, are presented in the article by Aida Idrizbegović Zgonić and Jasenka Čakarić. This monograph is rounded off with an interesting case of the mining town of Almadén in Spain – the twin city of Slovenian Idrija in its inscription on the World Heritage List. Each year Almadén’s enthusiasts put on a show of re-enacting its history and raise awareness among the local community and the visitors regarding the significance of heritage values as the best way to promote future development of the city and the region.

More information:


New issue of Urbani izziv / Urban Challenge journal

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New issue of Urbani izziv / Urban Challenge journal

vol. 30, number 2, December 2019

The latest issue of Urbani izziv /Urban Challenge journal brings 6 scientific articles written by Slovenian and foreign experts in the field of urbanism, architecture and spatial planning. Articles bring new insights into: development of urban design guidance for heritage sites, perceptions of the living environment according to the respondent age, social aspects of living in gated communities, the role of green areas in reducing a surface urban heat island, place capacity for recreation in peri-urban areas, and a comparative analysis of feng shui recommendations for architectural design.
The articles are fully accessible on the Urban Challenge website in Slovene and English language.

Wishing you a pleasant read!

OpenSpaceAlps kicks off in Altenmarkt, Austria

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OpenSpaceAlps kicks off in Altenmarkt, Austria

Sustainable development of alpine open spaces by enhancing spatial planning governance

OpenSpaceAlps is one of the fifteen projects approved in the frame of Call 4 of the Interreg Alpine Space programme. It brings together seven partner institutions from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia to work on the topic of near-natural open spaces in the core Alpine and EUSALP areas. The partner from Slovenia is the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

The main objective of the OpenSpaceAlps project is to foster sustainable development of the Alpine area by contributing to the safeguarding of open spaces featuring environmental and natural values. In the valleys, these open spaces are decreasing due to e.g. development of settlements and transport related areas, whereas in the higher altitudes they are being dissected by tourism, forestry and agriculture related infrastructures. The path taken is to initiate and facilitate processes towards adoption of new spatial planning approaches in the alpine countries as well as to promote multi-level, transnational spatial governance.

The initial meeting of the project partners was held in Altenmarkt, Austria, on 5 and 6 November 2019. Beside discussing the first steps in implementation of the project, presentations were held about development of open space planning instruments in the Federal State of Salzburg as well as more generally in the Alpine area.

For additional information about the project please contact the Lead Partner Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning and Housing (SIR) representative Philipp Vesely (+43 662 623 455/29, ) or Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS) representative Andrej Gulič (+386 1 420 1317,


City Street 4

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City Street 4

Streets for 2030: Proposing streets for integrated, and universal mobility

On behalf of the Organizing Committee, we would like to cordially invite you to participate in the upcoming International Conference City Street 4 (CS4) to be held at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture (UL FA), in Ljubljana, Slovenia, between 23-26 September 2020.

The Conference is organized by University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture (UL FA) , Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UI RS)  and Notre Dame University - Louaize, Ramez Chagoury Faculty of Architecture, Art and Design (NDU FAAD).
Detailed information about the Conference
Looking forward to meeting you in Ljubljana in September 2020!
Best wishes,
CS4 Organizing Committee

Documents to download



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Tuesdays also: 15.00 – 17.00
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