The Covid-19 pandemic and current made – made crises have presented both challenges and opportunities to rethink urban planning and human culture as one whole. They drive both urban planners and policymakers to seek alternative planning paradigms for a healthier, more satisfying, and more sustainable environment in big cities and regions. At this stage, creativity still lacks recognition as a concept for making a positive environmental impact. Creativity and the so-called ‘cultural industries’ are not sufficiently in the debates on sustainable urbanism.
They are more treated as separate issues, within the competence of creative individuals, rather than as collective matters. The exhibition challenges the question of creativity and space against the ongoing multi-dimensional planetary crisis. Acknowledging the influence of culture on space development in the man-made environment, it aims to shed light on how a disrupted balance between the two affects men, penetrating all socio-cultural activities of the society and leading to the cultural (man-made) crisis. For those reasons, the exhibitions bring us to the question of Urban Human Development and its place within the entire sustainability paradigm.
Cities are experiencing processes like gentrification where architectural projects are created under the premises of beautification, thereby following the underacknowledged general monotone ‘neoliberal impulse’ which reflects on the environment. In all that ‘architecture’ is a ‘cultural artefact’ which is also created by the overall logic of the current ‘creative city’ mechanism. The mechanism is shown to influence not only the ‘cultural artefacts’ but also, the entire way of doing things. We use post-war Yugoslavia’s architecture as a reference to focus on the less studied urban development unique model which emerged independently from the western capitalist cultural politics but also in relative freedom from the cultural influence of the Soviets.
Accordingly, the exhibition detects that the Yugoslav Creative Model operates upon different modus operandi, such as the ‘concept of balance’ which differently challenges the man-made environment. Moreover, the Yugoslav Creative Model introduces different planning paradigm Civic Led Development as an overall movement. In this context, the exhibition has a rather universal value. Civic Led Development can serve to re-think the development of cities and regions within Europe but also it adds relevance beyond it. Therefore, it adds to the existing practices not only in the post-capitalist and ‘De Growth’ debates but also is relevant to the ongoing postcolonial politics of development.
In this exhibition, we are also guided by the ambition to add to the current knowledge in the field by understanding the role of creativity in re-thinking the existing cities. Yet, we depart from contemporary definitions—often judged for being one-sidedly profit-oriented—of ‘creative city’. But we also depart from narrowly seeing urban planning merely as a question of water distribution, sewage, and spatial arrangements, but as a human discipline that should find answers to the most contemporary issues. Intentionally the exhibition – positions the contemporary city as a matter of cultural planning with the idea to anticipate more equality-oriented planning able to reply to these most pressing issues, such as inequalities, populism, exploitation, and war, as results of human degradation? The Yugoslav paradigms of cultural planning positions human centrally aiming to overcome the noticed phenomena such as human loneliness, uncritical consumption, and overall destructiveness? Therefore the Yugo City is a theoretical context that serves as a rich laboratory of examples of equity-oriented initiatives, strategies, innovation but also vocabulary with an intention to overcome the atomization and fragmentation and invent patterns of urbanization to find a better and more equilibrated balance between the human, the natural and the man-made environment.
To investigate the Creative Model of Yugoslavia – a cultural project of the Yugoslavian political, social, and economic system—a broad range of data collected through archival research, testimonials, and visiting the above-mentioned cities have been used. With a focus on primary sources—mostly unpublished—I have sought to shed light on and analyze the entire cultural creation in the country along with spatial examples that emerged in the selected city-regions. By investigating the Yugoslav example, the exhibition aims to offer theoretical knowledge about the concept of the ‘Creative City’— an alternative to what has emerged in the Anglo-Saxon context.
Therefore, the exhibition simply asks the question can we re-think the current creative model? Can we stimulate features that will encourage human-centric innovation, to achieve better context? How can this bring us to healthier cities? Should we start thinking not only ‘energetically just’ but more about Satisfying Human Habitats to overcome the human societal crisis to rebalance the environmental relationships?