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Bratislava gets master plan

AFTER nine years of pressure from developers, local politicians and the public, Bratislava has finally got a new master zoning plan that replaces the Bratislava plan established in 1976. The Bratislava city council approved the new master plan, which will be the basis for the city's development for the next 30 years, in a unanimous vote on May 31.

Bratislava's new zoning plan should restrict where and how high new skyscrapers can be built.
photo: Sme - Pavol Funtál

AFTER nine years of pressure from developers, local politicians and the public, Bratislava has finally got a new master zoning plan that replaces the Bratislava plan established in 1976. The Bratislava city council approved the new master plan, which will be the basis for the city's development for the next 30 years, in a unanimous vote on May 31.

"It might not be very popular among some investors," Bratislava Mayor Andrej Ďurkovský said on the STV public television channel. He added that the plan brings more security to the inhabitants of certain localities. Ďurkovský expects the plan to bring more transparency to construction projects and more green spaces.

Bratislava has been under immense pressure from developers to authorize ambitious projects in various parts of the city, but has lacked a master plan that would clearly define what could be built and where. Last year's draft plan fell through when the city council failed to come to an agreement over it.

The new master plan treats Bratislava as a metropolis of European importance and as the historical hub of European migration routes from North to South (the Amber Route) and from East to West, (the Lower Danube Route). The city has also been defined as one of the centres of the Vienna-Bratislava-Györ triangle, which has gained regional and business importance as the 'gate' for the exchange of cultural and historical values of Eastern and Western Europe. The master plan also says that the city aspires to create the possibility for a high quality of life for all its citizens.

However, the citizens themselves said they felt slighted as city council members refused to give them a say during the debate over the master plan, which will come into effect on September 1. The first update of the plan is expected in 2009.

Activist Ľubica Trubíniová said that nothing good awaits the city after the adoption of such a master plan since it ignored the people's demands for solutions to transportation problems and a criteria for the construction of skyscrapers.

"It basically allows the construction of high-rise buildings everywhere," she said on STV, adding that the plan is an expression of the arrogance of city representatives.

However, Eva Chudinová of the Bratislava city council said that the plan bans the construction of high-rise buildings in the historical centre where the maximum allowed height will be 21 metres. Tall buildings and skyscrapers will only be allowed in the city's centre ring near important hubs and centres like crossroads and bridges. The suburbs will also escape the construction of high-rise buildings, she added.

Chudinová wrote on the city of Bratislava's official website that the plan puts into place conditions for the city's harmonic development and "harmonizes all the activities taking place within the boundaries of Bratislava."

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