Slovenska Bistrica holds a strategic position in Slovenia since the 13th century. A warm embrace surrounds you while walking through this charming town rich in cultural heritage. This is the industrial, cultural, and administrative centre of the Municipality of Slovenska Bistrica (Styria region), only one hour away from the capital Ljubljana.
Like many other historical places, Slovenska Bistrica is struggling to maintain its heritage in a state that allows for better living, working and playing. In the past years, the municipality has invested in the renovation of several buildings and the revitalisation of the main square and streets. Yet the aim is also to trigger and support a much broader and deeper process of sustainable urban transformation and heritage-led regeneration based on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The city is striving to create an environment that attracts local entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, craftspeople, start-ups, and businesses. An ecosystem that can boost collaboration across sectors with a long-term view on supporting the transformation of the old town into a flourishing and inviting place for citizens and visitors alike. The HUB-IN project’s mission is to make Slovenska Bistrica a role model for many other small Slovenian towns interested in revitalising their historic urban areas.
The roadmap that will guide the regeneration of the old town is the result of a co-creation and co-design work conducted in the framework of the HUB-IN project. During the period May 2020 – May 2022, local stakeholders and citizens took part in a series of participatory workshops, interviews and surveys. The involvement of local communities is indeed fundamental to successfully transforming Slovenska Bistrica into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship that will bring back to life the historic urban area.
The main issues raised during this co-creation process are traffic problems and the disuse of several privately owned empty spaces. Moreover, some buildings need renovation, such as Grajska pristava and Lovski dvorec, while some parts are degraded, such as Gradišče. In addition, young people and families should be incentivised to live in the old town centre, while, at the same time, the challenge of the low-income earners’ immigration due to low property and rental prices should be addressed. Younger people complain about the lack of cultural events and gathering places.
The roadmap highlights three core missions for the city to start the sustainable transformation of the historic urban area:
● Set up a HUB space in the old town, as a central space for nurturing entrepreneurship, creativity, collaboration and innovation, to boost local skills and business/employment opportunities, while supporting the regeneration of the heritage buildings.
● Set up an accelerator programme for the creative, craft and cultural/art sectors to boost entrepreneurship, innovation, and encourage job creation.
● Accelerate the urban regeneration of the historic city centre through participatory revitalization approaches, such as for example placemaking, community co-creation, tactical urbanism, crowdsourcing and match-funding.
The heart of the Slovenska Bistrica HUB-IN project is the Crouzet. Originally built as horse stables for the nearby castle, the Crouzet has the potential to become a central space for nurturing entrepreneurship and creativity. Activities will be encouraged (creation of enabling conditions-spaces, low rent, additional services), supported (accelerator programme), and cross-fertilised (collaboration initiatives, innovation projects). This future hub aims to:
● Develop a creative business centre for new companies and start-ups, which would strengthen innovation, local entrepreneurship and encourage job creation.
● Dedicate the central space and inner courtyard to cultural and creative events, education, festivals and concerts.
The Crouzet’s revitalisation is supposed to spill over into the streets and squares of the old town.
The Slovenska Bistrica HUB-IN aims to have a lively city centre with unique cultural and natural resources where residents are happy to live and tourists enjoy.
The roadmap published a few months ago is the guiding light that defines the path to achieve the Slovenska Bistrica reborn by implementing a series of concrete actions. Have a look at the roadmap to find out more about the project.
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