Ostrava Emphasises Investment and
Highlights the Quality of Public Space
Ostrava has demonstrated an interest in construction and development, is organizing a great number
of architectural competitions, has recently opened the app MAPPA, and started the “war against
advertising smog” in the city. How are all of the aforementioned interconnected, and can the city
relate its investment development to an emphasis on high-quality architecture and public space? We
are presenting you an interview with Mgr. Zuzana Bajgarová, Deputy Mayor of the City of Ostrava.
What makes Ostrava attractive in the sense of its
Ostrava is a polycentric city, and its centres, the
historical city centre, Poruba, and Ostrava–South,
each have significant features which allow them to
prosper regardless of the broader environment. Our
common task is to connect them and make the distance
of conveniences shorter in their existing physical locations
as well as by building new ones and reducing travel time.
These centres, especially the historical centre, have
some vacant lots representing lucrative investment
opportunities. The period when construction in great
parts of the city was halted in the general plan and
massive changes in industrial job opportunities after
many important plants closed down is over and now
there is the time and space to finish the plan of the inner
city. The inner city offers opportunities which other
cities do not have, so unlike Ostrava they can only grow
from the outskirts.
Much has been said about how inappropriate it
is to build on green fields, concerning not only
environmental destruction but also the difficult city
administration. Extensions of the city, transport and
technical infrastructures are not sustainable in low
density quarters. Moreover, vacant lots inside the city
produce unattractive places with a high maintenance
profile, often giving the impression of a poor, unkempt
location even though they typically are lucrative lots
suitable for housing or enterprise. I do not claim they
are as construction-friendly as green fields, but they
undoubtedly offer a unique opportunity and advantage
both to the city and the investors. Ostrava decided
a few years back to confront this challenge, therefore
a range of projects are already under way which will
make use of vacant lots. The MAPPA application should
be a great help.
What exactly does MAPPA stand for, why was it created,
and how will it change the public space in the city?
MAPPA stands for Městský Ateliér Prostorového
Plánování a Architektury (Urban Studio of Space Planning
and Architecture). Its aim is to work on development and
urban planning projects, interconnect the city, cultivate
public space, and enhance the quality of life in Ostrava.
We need to get the MAPPA studio well-established and
quickly become an integral part of city development.
The architect Ondřej Vysloužil has been its CEO since
October 1, 2019, and we hope that within a year and half
his team will have about fifteen members.
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It is a conceptual job which requires a birds-eye view
of the city, searching for added values which will move
Ostrava a few levels up. That will not happen within a year
or two; it will take years of a creative and open-minded
work way above the norms of usual state administration.
MAPPA also connects the administration and citizens
of Ostrava. One of its aims is to develop a partnership
with the public and get people engaged in the projects.
We expect MAPPA studio to play a crucial role when
driving the city towards high-quality architecture
and urban planning, and city projects to become
interconnected. MAPPA can change public space,
make it comfortable and attractive for residents in their
daily routines and convince them to stay in the city.
Ostrava can follow the trend of city life set by western
metropolises where people spend a lot of time in parks
and city squares because they find them enjoyable.
One particular project I want to mention, avery
important task for the MAPPA urban-planning studio, is
the conceptual revitalization of 28. října and Opavská
streets, as these roads feel more like barriers separating
city parts. We want the barrier to dissolve an recreate
these major traffic connections with the qualities
of city boulevards. It means introducing better conditions
for pedestrians, cyclists, passengers on public transport,
and enhancing the neighbouring public space. In a few
years, all the streets will be lined with new buildings--the
new concert hall at the renovated Ostrava City House
of Culture (Dům kultury města Ostravy), Black Cube
(Černá kostka) and the car-park block near the House
of Culture. We will create a newly distinguished area
of the city. Another task for MAPPA is the connection
of the historical city centre to the Lower Area of Vítkovice
What can the new institution bring to investors
and local businesses?
MAPPA is designed to be a partner connecting the
interests and visions of the city (the birds-eye view,
potential development) with the interests of investors,
targets of particular projects. Investors are crucial
partners in any city’s development, and high-quality
architecture has long-term synergy with investment
developments and living standards in a city. The same
applies to local enterprise. What counts is cooperation
and mutual support.
Investors can expect support and cooperation both
from the city and from MAPPA, protecting the interests
of Ostrava and its citizens. Partnership.