Return to a Sustainable City

written by Janez Koželj




Ljubljana is a post-socialist city heading forward on the path of sustainable transformation. After the collapse of socialism in 1991, in the process of adapting to a capitalist order and free-market conditions, the city centre started lagging behind in favour of the intense development of the suburbs. In the transitional period, construction in the city was more or less automatic, with urban planning following investment initiatives and aiding their realization. This was illusory urbanism, which did not direct development, but only followed and serviced it. Due to the redirection of development towards the edges of the city, many infrastructural and other developmental strategic projects were not executed. As trade and services businesses started to become concentrated in large shopping malls in the suburbs, trade in the city core gradually started decreasing. That is how businesses from areas immediately surrounding the city centre began closing and moving to the edges of the city. Since 1995, over 20,000 residents moved from the city, mostly to neighbouring municipalities. The consequences of that dislocation are evident in critical traffic and economic conditions, as over 100,000 commuters pour into the city daily for work, school, shopping, and various other obligations.