Ostrava has begun the regulation of “advertising smog”. Why? Is this step not a contradiction to the support of enterprise? Advertising takes up a considerable part of public space. It influences human perception of retail points and products but it also affects the way we see public space. As a society we have grown somehow immune to the scale and design of advertisements. We believe in the high quality of products and goodquality advertisements whose clear language and elegant form bring value to the enterprise. It took us some time to create our manual and regulations; now the long-term and even more complicated job is ahead: to show that efficient advertising does not have to spoil public space, and to support businesses and transform theory into practice. The city is a great investor in public space, organizing numerous architectural competitions. When will we see some of their results coming to life? In the past three years, the City Council of Ostrava has organized eight architectural competitions. The greatest competition in the recent history of our city has been the plan of the construction of the new concert hall. The winner was Steven Holl Architects, however, there is still a very long time before we see the results. A project whose plans have already been finished is the renewal of historic slaughterhouse buildings. As any other project, the slaughterhouses have gone through a challenging phase of planning and preparation. Now we are in the phase of the procedure to appoint construction contractors, whilst construction itself should begin in the first quarter of 2020. That will be the first real and visible results of the architectural competitions. More will follow relatively soon, including one for the recently approved car-park block near the Regional Government Offices.
Ostrava is a polycentric city: transport and parking are extremely important here. How do you feel about the connection of public and individual transport in the park-and-ride system? Transport is very important, especially when you have such polycentric character as Ostrava has, but also because the city is a metropolis covering the needs of many nearby urban areas. Even though the problems of Ostrava are not as huge as in other large cities, the situation is growing worse. We cannot sit and wait for a breakdown and then repeat the same mistakes already experienced by others, like increasing the capacity of streets, roads and parking lots. The city’s public transport must be a better, or at least an equally good, alternative. Ostrava has worked on that for some time already, therefore we can proudly claim that our public transport is the best in the Republic. I believe the time will come when cars will not be the centrepieces of our lives. The Czech standard still is a town or a city where streets serve as car parks. Connecting public transport and IAD (Integrated Access Device), the park-and-ride system in this case, is one of the ways. Ostrava is therefore preparing a few projects of car-park blocks to be offered to private investors, including the previously mentioned car-park block near the Regional Government offices or near the city hospital. Investments in these infrastructures are huge and could be beyond the city’s capacity, thus they go hand-in-hand with the regulation of free parking. That means the park-and-ride system for long-distance commuting and good-quality alternative forms of transport to cover short distances, such as bikesharing and pedestrian zones. Let us not forget about these. Thank you for the interview. -editorial-
Text: Zuzana Bajgarová, Foto: archiv Statutární město Ostrava www.ostrava.cz
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