An unused city building will be transformed into a place for dialogue on public space

There is a longer-term and broader plan for the building at Horný val 67 street, where the chief architect’s offices opened last month. These unused spaces in the city center will be gradually filled with interesting educational and cultural initiatives and activities. One of them is the planned project PASÁ:Ž – Platform for architecture and civic participation, within which citizens will have the opportunity to actively participate in the processes of creating public space and improving public services. The city attentively perceives the dissatisfaction of citizens with the state of public space and deals intensively with this issue.

The organization PASÁ: Ž will be thematically focused on the areas of public space, architecture, urbanism, public administration and civic participation. It will gradually become a venue for exhibitions, creative workshops, lectures by experts and educational programs focused on these topics. This will create an open platform for dialogue between experts, officials and city residents, to increase the involvement of citizens and local communities in the creation of public spaces and services. There is also a planned gallery focused on the topics of public space, architecture and urbanism, a cafe with space for organizing public discussions and other events, a design shop or offices with lecture and workshop rooms for the future organization, which will coordinate the European Capital of Culture project.

Visualisation of the reconstruction – future seat of the PASÁ:Ž organization

The PASÁ:Ž project is based on the initiative of the team preparing the city’s candidacy for the European Capital of Culture 2026 in close cooperation with the Department of the Chief Architect. The overall intention is related to the wider ambition of the European Capital of Culture project to focus on topics such as sustainable urban design, public space, architecture, design, art production and the connection between art and science. The inspiration for such an organization comes from municipal institutes operating in several cities, such as Bratislava Metropolitan Institute or CAMP – Center for Architecture and Urban Planning in Prague. Many of the topics that the PASÁ:Ž will address are also very actual in the wider European context, where the New European Bauhaus initiative on the issue of creating sustainable cities in Europe is currently being formed.

Future activities of the PASÁ:Ž organization represent workshops for the professional public and public administration staff on current topics, participatory projects for involving citizens in the city planning process, educational programs for children about architecture or a series of creative workshops and temporary architectural interventions aimed at creating a better public space and bringing new life to neglected parts of the city. It will also include a project called Creative Bureaucracy, which will consist of trainings and workshops for employees of public institutions focused on innovative ways of creating urban policies and improving public services.

The management of the city of Žilina has committed itself that the PASÁ:Ž project will be implemented in the coming years, regardless of the result of the competition for the European Capital of Culture title. In the coming months, a presentation of the outputs of the Mestské Zásahy Žilina 2026 project is being prepared on these premises. Within this project, citizens had the opportunity to register their own solutions for neglected or unused public spaces or buildings in the city. One of the results of this initiative is, for example, the planned construction of a new creative marketplace in the city center. In the autumn, after a partial reconstruction of the premises, an interactive exhibition on the city’s planned creative and cultural strategy Creative Žilina 2035 is planned.

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