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Urban Ideas Bakery in Pilsen

Background

Pilsen, the capital of Western Bohemia, was the third city to host the Urban Ideas Bakery. The process played an important role within the city’s European Capital of Culture 2015 candidature.

The Urban Ideas Bakery took place on 13-15 June 2010.

Objectives

Baked ideas with a creative taste
The main objective of the Urban Ideas Bakery in Pilsen was to find some creative ideas to make the city of Pilsen a better place to live in, especially in terms of its public spaces – entry points to the city. The participants, the so-called ‘bakers’, were mostly Pilsen residents, but also people from Slovakia, Estonia, Russia, Poland and the UK. Ten European experts took part in the workshop, helping the bakers by sharing their experience from similar activities.

The first day filled with dancing
On 12 June Pilsen celebrated Melina Mercouri Day. Since the international bakers arrived that day, they were able to take part in this unique cultural event called the Candidate Tour. The streets were full of people dancing in different styles, all having a lot of fun. In fact, the dance festival was the winning idea of the first Future City Game in Pilsen!

The process
The bakers were divided into four groups. Their first task was to define the biggest problems of the public spaces in Pilsen. They mentioned, for example, bad accessibility to the river banks, a difficult transport connection between the central bus station and the central train station, and the low public interest in public spaces. ‘I am really excited about the Urban Ideas Bakery in Pilsen,’ said Mattijs Maussen, the international consultant of the Pilsen candidature to the title of the European Capital of Culture 2015. ‘I hope we will come up with ideas with a long-term impact on everyday life in the city.’

Results
The second day of the Bakery concluded with the ‘Bazaar of UIB’ in a cosy bar in the city centre. The bakers briefly presented four projects they had been working on.

The first project was called ‘Opening the River’, and suggested a solution for the revitalisation of river banks in Pilsen by creating a multifunctional cultural and sports area with cafés, restaurants, etc. Petr Simon, the project manager of the Pilsen European Capital of Culture candidature team, said, "The river should be given back to Pilseners."

The second project, called ‘Park-um’, concerned the revitalisation of Skoda Park near the central bus station. The bakers' idea was to create a new design for the park in cooperation with students.

The third idea was called ‘Show Your City’, and it proposed creating an interactive online map of Pilsen where anybody could post a comment about a particular place in the city.

The final project was a short-term one suggesting placing a number of posters in the city centre that would make people stop and think about public spaces. This project was actually done the following day before the public presentation. The bakers also organised a walk to view all the messages on the posters, such as, "You can sing here" or "You can laugh here". So they sang and laughed...and it attracted attention (of passers-by and the media). One of its originators, Vojtech Nosek said, "We are placing signs with different content in the city centre in order to encourage people to do unusual things in public spaces." Let’s see if the people of Pilsen will show their imagination and desire to do something different.

For more information about the Urban Ideas Bakery in Pilsen, see the Creative Cities blog and Facebook group.