Predrag Milic


THE SELF-PROVIDED CITY: On the importance of informal processes for the re-conceptualisation of the idea of public good on the urban periphery


At the edge of Europe and as a part of the emerging urban territories of the West Balkan Region—on the outskirts of Belgrade—around 1.000.000 informal housing objects were being built in the past quarter of the century. Under the condition of the post-socialist transition of the city and in a total absence of state control, fuelled by the actualisation of individual needs through a self-provision of housing, a new irreversible urban condition emerged. Being developed exclusively through the incentives of the private interest, these areas lost their sense for public good and wellbeing almost completely. As one of these neighbourhoods—the ’self-provided city‘ of Ledine—foreign to any planning institute, urban development office or professional company, is present in the public discourse of the authorities only through the process of ‚legalisation‘. Therefore, rather than perpetuating this legal-illegal dichotomy—ignorant to the life quality of these areas—this work is directed towards searching for and building up an alternative approach on how to deal with the life quality embodied by such developments. In the format of a participatory action research this work will try—both theoretically and practically—to challenge the policy makers in addressing the issue of legality of these areas. Deliberately immersed into the qualitative analysis of my own neighbourhood, my aim is to provide a substantive argumentation for a radically different approach for how to improve the living conditions of this and other similar areas throughout the region. Thus, with the quality of being initiated by a local resident of this area—meaning being both the subject and the object of the research—I hope this work will bring fresh insights to the policy makers and researchers while providing empowerment to my fellow citizens. And finally, the bottom line intention of this work is to trigger further research and policy development and thus support the re-interpretation of the public good and public wellbeing in Belgrade and the rest of the West Balkan Region.

Erstbetreuung   Prof. Dr. phil. DI (FH) Sabine Knierbein (TU Wien, Austria)