Parallel Session 1: Practices of Repair: Re-capturing Space: Community initatives on Posttraumatic Landscapes

14 July 2021 | 10:45 (CEST)


Facilitation: Klubi M

How is public space widely perceived? What kind of social relations does it produce?

How can communities shape a long-term vision for the city? Through which public policy framework is the use of public space for arts regulated? What kind of potential does Prishtina present? As this moment presents plenty of possibilities to envision Prishtina, it is crucial to begin to think through these questions.

The city’s Development Plan for the next 10 years is in the drafting process and its public debate stage has begun. Meanwhile, the upcoming local elections will define the governance of the city for the next 4 years. Having all of this in mind, we would like to begin a public 
discussion in order to gain insight on the ways that the existing conditions determine the way we engage with our surroundings.

To continue this discussion, SKREQ and PART (Workers in Art) will organize a series of discussions and public presentations following the symposium.


Adrian Berisha

Abstract: I believe that it is important to establish large-scale cooperation between independent institutions, civil society organizations and the Municipality of Prishtina. If we are aiming for a big leap, we need to focus on bottom-up inclusiveness, but also to exert influence at the top, so that there can be fewer problems down below. We also need to make sure that Prishtina’s development approach moves toward center-left policies. The municipal development plan is “the constitution” of the development of the city of Prishtina which is renewed every eight years. If you open the 500-page plan that was approved in 2014 and search for the word “culture,” what you will get is seven results, four of which are actually referring to horticulture. When this plan mentions culture only three times, what do we get? A city that is bursting with cultural potential, but no real framework to channel it through.

Aliriza Arënliu

Abstract: By not participating in defining a long-term vision of Prishtina, the community contributes to its slow pace of development. Passivity suits small interest groups, who stand to benefit from the lack of involvement. In creating a common vision, there needs to be a multi-layered participation and dialogue that takes place, along with close monitoring and legal response in the implementation of approved policies. When we talk about the potential of our city, we first need to identify its capacities by collecting anecdotes and perceptions of individuals. Can this be done by the civil society actors after they have set some basic rules on how they define potential or culture? The use of “common sense” for understanding our relationships with the spaces we live in as opposed to neighborhoods is a basic indicator of how we see and act in public spaces. What is the alternative? What should our strategy be?

Nikki Murseli

Abstract: I believe that Prishtina has reached a sufficient critical mass that could soon culminate in a cultural boom. Despite restrictions on free movement and sub-standard socio-economic conditions, our collective vision has been transforming. If at one point we were waiting for someone to come and save us, now it’s becoming clearer that this responsibility belongs to us. Our relationship with public space is an example of this shift in mindset. Growing up, we were taught that interacting with public spaces meant walking through a pedestrian street or eating an ice cream at the park. We are now realizing that we are all shareholders of these spaces and it’s up to us to decide how they are used. The role of the community is a key factor here, because it’s contagious. All it takes is for some people to start the tension of change, and very quickly everyone will become infected! 

Dren Puka

Abstract: Access to public spaces and public properties by communities is essential for political deliberation and participation, and therefore fundamental to democratic governance and sustainable development. It’s important to talk about the current legal framework on the use of public property and in the process empower communities to take action and operate within existing structures. The current legal framework prioritizes local economic development as the main criteria when granting public properties, thus favoring businesses and for-profit companies. However, what is oftentimes missing in this picture are the unmet needs of the community. While focusing on economic development might seem like a lofty goal, this approach does not necessarily result in human development. Furthermore, it more often than not serves to deepen inequality by benefitting a well-off social class to the detriment of others.