Human cities/ Activities

In 2015 and 2016, BDW carried out a series of researches, interviews, location and user needs analyses of the Grand Park, as well as analyses of potentials and visions of the city of Kragujevac with its leading stakeholders, under the EXPERIMENTATION phase of the HUMAN CITIES/ project.

Before that, BDW presented to the HUMAN CITIES/ project the development of its playground in Kalemegdan, Belgrade, as the STATE OF ART project phase.

The decision to develop further the “Grand Creative Park” concept in Kragujevac was presented in Milan in April 2016 at the Politecnico di Milano session, during the Milano Design Week.

Having gained approval by the project partners, on May 11th 2016, the project was presented to the citizens and the media in Kragujevac. During the month of May, the presentation will continue through further exposure and surveys of citizens and experts of Kragujevac.


Belgrade Design Week has become an official partner of the EU project HUMAN CITIES/, as the first Serbian participant in the project co-funded by the “Creative Europe” programme in October 2014, during the kick- off meeting at a dedicated HUMAN CITIES/ session, which was organized on the occasion of the renowned Biennial of Design in St. Etienne, France, hosted by the Cite du Design, St. Etienne.


Between October 2014 and May 2015, BDW implemented the STATE OF ART phase of the HUMAN CITIES / project, with the goal of building the capacity of BDW to encompass the capability to manage, as an independent citizens’ initiative, the project of public-private partnership on a satisfactory high level, and within an optimal time and budget framework connect citizen and users with project donors, creatives and executors, using the methodology of Jan Gehl and the IDEO HCD TOOLKIT for successful participation of citizens in the process of urban regeneration.

This exercise was successful, and BDW opened its most ambitious initiative to that point in a park in Belgrade the creative playground in Kalemegdan in May 2015 and called upon all public and private partners in Serbia and the region to support the continuation of the initiative.


Between May and December 2015, BDW conducted surveys and analyses of the state of desolate playgrounds and city squares in Belgrade, as well as the key stakeholders of the project from the administration of the City of Belgrade to potential investors and partners from business, academia, media and citizen’s initiatives.

In this process, BDW mobilized a team of project partners and associations such as “THINKtent” and “Bubble on the Net”, to form our own unique approach to the creation of a new approach to urban planning / URBANISM 2.0 INVISIBLE SUPERCONNECTED NETWORKS, as well as the completion of STATE OF THE ART phase of the HUMAN CITIES / project.

A short BDW film about the STATE OF THE ARTS stage was shown in September 2015 at the London Design Festival, at a dedicated HUMAN CITIES/ session at the Limewharf, hosted by Clear Village, London.


Since the media coverage of the opening of the Kalemegdan playground in 2015 as result of our STATE OF ART phase and the HUMAN CITIES/ project, the “Dragica Nikolić” Foundation, expressing interest in the results of the project, contacted BDW with a commission to investigate the situation with public spaces in the central Serbian city of Kragujevac.

Thus, between December 2015 and April 2016, BDW’s EXPERIMENTATION phase of the HUMAN CITIES/ project went under way. BDW and associates of the project utilized the selected method of Jan Gehl Architects, mapping the needs of the citizens of Kragujevac in the context of the Grand Park’s rational usage and emotional bonds, while the Foundation in parallel raised funds for the realization of the first park section to be built the playgrounds.


In April 2016, the Foundation and BDW triggered the realization of an idea concept of the future Grand Park, entitled “Creative”, as the first vision for discussion. The development of the preliminary design concept, as first inspirational stage of the revitalization of the park, based on BDW’s results of the EXPERIMENTATION phase, was entrusted to the team from Studio DVA, headed by architect and professor from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade Aleksandru Vuja, and his students, several of which are from Kragujevac.

Presentations and workshops in Kragujevac in May 2016, in which the concept of the new park will be presented to local citizens and the City, will mark this part of the EXPERIMENTATION phase. Another high point will mark the execution of the first part of the project playgrounds for children, young people and seniors, as a possible sustainable beginning of the construction of a new park, as inspirational call to donors to support all the other sections of the park itself and the wider monumental/heritage park sites in Kragujevac, while citizens open the public discussion with the City and media which next functions and contents for the Grand park may be developed.


As end of the EXPERIMENTATION phase and MEETING THE AUDIENCES, in winter 2017 BDW will organize international workshops, exhibitions and a conference in Kragujevac, in which the general public in Serbia and the world will be presented with detailed results of the BDW investigation in Kragujevac, entitled HUMAN CITIES/ KRAGUJEVAC 2017.

Special guests for the professional public, architects, city planners, administrators and investors, will be experts from St. Etienne – the “French Kragujevac” who implemented with great success, the transformation from a space of “smoking factory chimneys”, to the space of “smoking heads”. Where the most famous French weapons factories once stood in Saint-Etienne, today stands the most important faculty of design and architecture, and one of the key design biennials around the world, inside the premises that are almost identical to the abandoned halls of the oldest gunsmiths in Kragujevac.

Completed HUMAN CITIES/ projects and case studies by BDW from Belgrade and Kragujevac will be kindly presented thanks to the network of the HUMAN CITIES/ partners in 2017 and 2018 practically in the entire world, as well as in following sessions in Ljubljana, Graz, Helsinki, Bilbao and Brussels among others.


Presentation to the citizens

Jovan Jelovac, Belgrade Design Week founder, and prof. Aleksandru Vuja, from architecture DVA Studio, presented the “Grand Creative Park of the City of Kragujevac” project and answered the participant’s questions. The presentation was held on Monday, 23rd May 2016, from 5PM to 7PM, in the Faculty of the Engineering Sciences – object A, side entrance from Dr. Elizabete Ros Street.

Thanks to the great response of the citizens of Kragujevac, the presentation and the conversation that followed were fruitful and very useful. The suggestions and ideas that the participants gave were of a great contribution to the further realization of the Grand Creative park of the City of Kragujevac project.

The Grand Park was traditionally a favorite promenade for all generations in the City of Kragujevac, where the dense canopy of century-old trees, walkways, benches and sports grounds represented a valuable place for relaxation and recreation. Unfortunately, in recent decades, the park has shared an inevitable fate of the general deterioration of its city. As an ecosystem, the Grand City Park is a rare urban tissue of park greenery maintained over one hundred and fifty years. The benefits of this heritage, the potential social interactions, the microclimate and emotional aspects that it generates all contribute to the general perception of this type of architecture as a focus point, around which we can gather our attention, assess our will for a better tomorrow and present it as our contribution to the urban community gathered around the pan-European Human Cities / project.

The aim of the project is to further develop the citizen’s beloved park by means of participatory urbanism and cooperation with some of Serbian and world’s best practices in the field of innovation and design. This is just the first step of defining a new framework of citizen’s participation about the park’s future design, with the primarily intention to provoke and activate a responsible involvement of all stakeholders into a joint search for standards of a possible development scheme for Kragujevac’s green zones. These standards define not only the principles of how to preserve and develop the park in a certain timeframe, but also new standards of how to initiate and decide matters regarding this and other valuable parts of the urban tissue.

A further objective of the project is to open up the dialogue with the citizens and inspire them to review, in a wider context, the existing urban, green and historical premises of Kragujevac, stretching from the Grand Park to Šumarice, and to try to integrate them into one uninterrupted entity, designed as a unique model of relaxation and contemplation, while at the same time creating a new cultural and historical destination for high quality tourism in Serbia’s heartland. This innovative complex would link the latest achievements of domestic and international creativity with existing rich heritage sites of the city of Kragujevac, which already include the best works of giants of creative thinking such as Vojin Bakić and Ivan Antić.

Presentation to the media

In 2015 and 2016, BDW has carried out a series of researches, interviews, location- and user needs analyses of the Grand Park, as well as analyses of potentials and visions of the city of Kragujevac with its leading stakeholders, under the Experimentation phase of the HUMAN CITIES/ project. Before that, BDW presented the development of its playground in Kalemegdan, Belgrade, as the State of the art project phase. The decision to develop further the “Grand Creative Park” concept in Kragujevac was presented in Milan in April 2016 at the Politecnico di Milano session during the Salone di Mobile.

Based on the findings, the Mayor of the City of Kragujevac has formed a dedicated task force for the implementation of the project, which includes all key city institutions from the Urban Planning Institute to public utilities companies. The first presentation of the concept to media and stakeholders was organized by the Foundation “Dragica Nikolic” in early May 2016 in Kragujevac, followed by nationwide media coverage.

The presentation about the idea concept of the “Grand Creative park of the City of Kragujevac” project was attended by:

  • Ms. Dragica Nikolić, president of the Foundation “Dragica Nikolić”
  • Radomir Nikolić, the Mayor of the City of Kragujevac
  • Jovan Jelovac, founder of Belgrade Design Week
  • Prof. Aleksandru Vuja, architecture DVA Studio

The presentation had great media coverage – the main Serbian TV and news agencies followed and later wrote about the presentation of the “Grand Creative park of the City of Kragujevac” project.

THINKtent Belgrade Human City

THINKtent Beograd Human City aims to offer the people of Belgrade an intimate, beautiful and safe space for them to come together for conversation and reflection.

In this fast (and fast-changing city) and in our jangled (and notoriously noisy) contemporary times, THINKtent Beograd Human City allows people to enter a new form of public space: a stable space where you can slow down, reflect and exchange views and ideas – away from the relentless distractions of smartphones, social media and the demands of daily life.

Dr Natasha Cica hosts and facilitates all sessions of THINKtent Beograd Human City, takes handwritten notes and still photographs, which inform future publications and presentations about the project.

No recording or phones are allowed inside the tent, but vox pop exit interviews may be filmed and broadcast.

Books, poems, songs and other cultural artifacts are welcome inside THINKtent Beograd Human City.

Appropriate and charming refreshments are served in sessions to enhance the sociability of this experience.

Key actors

THINKtent Beograd Human City is an initiative of Dr Natasha Cica, director of change-focused initiative

THINKtent Beograd Human City is developed in collaboration with Belgrade Design Week.

THINKtent Beograd Human City deploys an interior created by Belgrade interior architect Milivoje Stojanovic of PROTOTYPE of Cumic Design District in central Belgrade, with Miroslav and Jasna Stojanovic.

THINKtent Beograd Human City engages the people of Belgrade as participants.

Role of design

Design is central to the project – informing the chosen structure, the physical interior and the dialogue-based methodology of the conversations comprising THINKtent Beograd Human City.

In terms of the chosen structure, the size (relatively small) and circular, tapered shape of the bell tent encourages a feeling of intimacy that supports and generates human connection between participants. The height and shape of the tent’s opening is especially welcoming to children.

Regarding the physical interior, plums are core business in Serbian culture, and this deeplyinformed the design brief executed by Belgrade interior architect Milivoje Stojanovic of PROTOTYPE, with Milivoje and Jasna Stojanovic. The thematic is ‘Who Plums You?/ Ко те шљиви?, a Serbian saying that translates into something resembling, ‘Who cares … ?’. The result is a curation that populates the tent interior with specially commissioned furniture, lighting, cushions, textiles, fruit and a bespoke perfume … a wonderful blend of old and new, dark and light, east and west.

Concerning the methodology, the programming and facilitation of each session of THINKtent Beograd Human City deploys design thinking through dialogue, to create human capacity for shared and sustainable change – consonant with community development methodology.


Belgrade Design Week is fantastic! It is a conference with a great international reputation.   I have heard so many friends, professionals and peers who said it was one of the best conferences in the world, and something you must do! So, I had no doubts in saying yes when Jovan asked me to do it 6 months ago. Belgrade Design Week is different, it’s a bit crazy, and the special passion and the energy is what makes it really good!