The City Planning Institute of Belgrade is preparing the second phase of the study Belgrade's River Bank Area. The first phase was finished few years ago and the term and the space of the Belgrade river bank area was then for the first time treated as a single entity from various aspects. A long history of land utilization activities in Belgrade remembers mainly partial approaches to this topic through individual analyses, researches, specialist studies, projects, open competitions and plans, but there was a wish of all that Belgrade finally expands to the banks of its rivers.
Based on geographic specifications, geomorphological characteristics of the terrain and contact connection with the Sava and the Danube, the space of the Belgrade's river bank area is divided into five sectors: the Sava river bank area of Srem (left bank of the Sava), the Sava river bank area of Sumadija (right bank of the Sava, with Ada Ciganlija and Ada Medjica), the Danube river bank area of Srem (right bank of the Danube, with Big and Small War Island), the Danube river bank area of Sumadija (right bank of the Danube), and the Danube river bank area of Banat (left bank of the Danube, with Caplja island).
The first phase of the study divided the space into 36 functional entities - sections alongside the banks, determined according to the predominant joint characteristics of natural or created structures on the bank and in the hinterland. The total surface of the space of the broader zone of the bank area of the Sava and Danube rivers amounts to 16,950 ha, while the narrow zone spans 5,587 ha. The total length of river banks amounts to as much as 153 km.
Belgrade's river bank area is complex due to both state of the terrain and the great potentials it has: from nature reserves like Veliko Ratno Ostrvo (Big War Island) where, in the opinion of city planners, only minimum interventions are possible; zones such as Ada Ciganlija, the pointy end of Ada Huja and the embankment alongside New Belgrade's blocks where a higher level of activation is possible or already exists, without large construction works; protected zones like Kalemegdan, the old core of Zemun and Old Fairgrounds, which are historically and culturally very significant; parts of lower level of protection such as the river bank area alongside Karadjordjeva street and the Belgrade Fair; to so-called the Sava and the Danube amphitheaters – which simply crave for urban and infrastructure development.
– The second phase of the study Belgrade's River Bank Area should offer concrete solutions and proposals for development of the bank area in so-called city core: we will deal with subtle issues on a smaller area. Town planners find a safe, lit and organized public space a priority. The first step, which costs the least, is to provide citizens with a safe access to rivers. Beton Hala (Concrete Hall) is an example how that can be done with a small investment because the bicycle trail in that area has been renovated and opened for traffic, and people do not park their vehicles on that trail anymore because now they can use a special space on the roof of aforementioned hall. The significance of this example also lies in the fact that, after the primary development, it opens the door to possible bigger investments – Zaklina Gligorijevic, director of the City Planning Institute of Belgrade, said in a statement for Beoinfo.
In that way, an international open competition for the preliminary design of the project Center on the Water has been finished recently. That facility, in the vicinity of Beton Hala, is supposed to connect the Kalemegdan park with the Sava river bank area. There were two first prizes so that the next step is to evaluate the economy of each work and chose the one for further development. The theme of the open competition was not only the link between the river and the fortress, but also a big number of parking spaces, an access road for buses, and more than 10,000 square meters of exhibition and commercial space, which would, on one side, "spiritualize" the stay in this part of the city and, on the other side, offer certain commercial contents.
As the director of the institute pointed out, the Sava amphitheater, spanning about 150 ha, has its own study basis, the same as, for start, about 80 ha of the Danube amphitheater. The former comprises the zone from Branko's Bridge to the Old Railway Bridge, including the Sava Square and Karadjordjeva street, while the latter comprises the space of Ada Huja, the shipyard, and Dorcol marina. Part of the study is dedicated to the project Caplja. Caplja island is situated on the new waterway alongside the embankment on the left bank of the Danube, between the Army garden and the Pancevo bridge. The General Plan of Belgrade envisages creation of a new, big island on the Danube, which can be achieved through the construction of a new canal. Construction of tourist facilities and facilities for sports and recreation is planned on a 600-hectare area, in a natural ambient.
Regardless of whether we talk about modest contents, that is, investments in public lighting system, park furniture, public fountains and similar things along the city banks, or big projects - both approaches to the development of the river bank area are very important. It is not easy to made decisions and determine priorities because money is necessary for everything. However, will and determination are the most important. Everybody is unanimous about one thing - Belgrade's river bank area is the greatest potential of the capital city.