Looking Back on the Summer 2018
When the thermometer bar exceeded 25 degrees on a daily basis, my submissions deadlines came closer and I realized I was about to experience a long working summer.
It started with finishing my paper for the BTH course of Planning theory that we were expected to deliver as an examination. Sooner than expected, I found myself in long, sunny July days writing my contribution for the EAUH conference in Rome, about the waterfront regeneration project in Belgrade, my main case study. At the beginning it was easy, but as I went further in typing, I faced the challenges of the submission format. It was hard to fit all the thoughts and materials that I have about this project in the foreseen length of the text. Just as I delivered what I reluctantly called the final version of the paper, I was on the plane back home.
However, this visit to my hometown Novi Sad was not so usual. In very familiar surroundings of the Petrovaradin fortress, in the historic neighborhood where I used to have choir rehearsals two times a week just until few years ago, I spent more than eight days from morning till the late night with an amazing group of researchers coming from all over the world, gathered around the same passion and interest on cultural heritage and historic landscapes. Personally, I couldn’t help but apply for this ambitious summer academy that attracted academics from all the seven continents, placed in my hometown.
International summer academy “Case Petrovaradin: Managing historic urban landscapes”
Being selected for the Youth (2019) and Cultural Capital of Europe (2021), Novi Sad is currently going through numerous urban transformations. One of these changes is directed towards the reimagining and developing the neglected 18th century historic urban landscape of Petrovaradin fortress that presents a symbol of the city. The aim of transforming the historic landscape in the manner of a sustainable and creative development by rethinking its management, brought numerous international and local experts. I was thrilled to hear experienced professionals from HUL Global Observatory, Newcastle University and Edinburgh World Heritage sharing their knowledge and ideas for the redevelopment and protection of the Petrovaradin fortress and surrounding old town.
We have spent hot summer days divided in thematic groups, brainstorming ideas, discussing, developing a new management structure for the fortress and imaging its new urban functions. This challenging task was enriched with many precious moments of networking and socializing in the venues and open public spaces of always welcoming Novi Sad. As a local, I had a privilege of introducing my city, its streets, squares, monuments and urban legends to my international peers.
Case Petrovaradin is still not closed, it is awaiting the finalization of the common publication of our summer academy results and the beginning of the transformations of Petrovaradin fortress as a particular historic urban gem.
I left Serbia having my mind set for new tasks in my agenda. With dynamic and intensive days of the EAUH conference spent in the Eternal City, I welcomed the month of September, a bit cooler but as intense. Conference presentation, submission of the paper for the Young urban(H)IST conference in Kosice, submissions for the PhD course I was about to take at the end of the month, and preparation for the Mid-term review were only some of the tasks to do. Despite the fact I was overwhelmed with duties, I was looking forward to gaining new training in Barcelona.
PhD course and Biennial of Landscape architecture in Barcelona, Spain
During the last week of September, I participated at the PhD course Criticality in, on and for design: towards an understanding criticism in landscape architecture and urban design, organized by Lisa Diedrich and Andrea Kahn, professors at the SLU, Sweden. Since the first day of the sessions at the Polytechnic university of Catalonia, course kept the intensive rhythm. All ten international participants with diverse backgrounds were forming a “round table” group discussions together with inspiring Lisa and Andrea. The course provided us with a comprehensive knowledge about a critique, why and how to write it. Moreover, we were given an opportunity to participate on the 10th International Biennial of the Landscape architecture in Barcelona (26-29 September 2019) and attend Rosa Barba finalist’s presentations.
As the one of the course outcomes, all the participants contributed to the collaborative critique of the Rosa Barba finalists’ presentations, thus concentrating on the format, rhetoric, style and visual discourse. This was an interesting and involving way to learn about the hybridity of ideas and multitude of narratives in contemporary landscape architecture.
With the topic “Performative nature” last year’s biennial gathered many interesting speakers who shared their perspectives with the numerous audience at Palau de la Musica Catalana. Among others, I had a chance to hear the lecture given by the famous Danish urbanist Jan Gehl, who criticized modernism as the main paradigm of planning that created cities from the bird’s-eye view for cars rather than for people. Finally, Gehl concluded that what we can and should do as planners and architects, is to implement acquired knowledge in order to create sustainable and quality cities in a human scale.
The intense days continued in Kosice where we gathered for the project’s conference and Mid-term review. Directly from Slovakia, I have moved to Stockholm, where I was about to start my internship in non-academic partner organization ArkDes. Retrospectively, it has been a hard- working and overall productive period for me.
 HUL is an acronym for Historic Urban Landscape. Defined by UNESCO, the Historic Urban Landscape approach moves beyond the preservation of the physical environment and focuses on the entire human environment with all of its tangible and intangible qualities. It seeks to increase the sustainability of planning and design interventions by taking into account the existing built environment, intangible heritage, cultural diversity, socio-economic and environmental factors along with local community values.
Retrieved from: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1026/ on January 25, 2019
 More about the collaborative critique on https://landscape.coac.net/en/dissemination
 As defined by the organizers, performative nature stands for the need to create landscapes which face today’s threats, simultaneously performing ecological, social and political roles (…)
Retrieved from: https://landscape.coac.net/en/biennal-presentation on January 25, 2019
Text and photo by Ksenija Krsmanović