A City's Decline: Report on Deterioration of Public Spaces in Sarajevo Neighborhoods

Analitika's report "A City's Decline: Reasons for the Deterioration of Public Spaces in Sarajevo Neighborhoods and Proposed Solutions," written by Mirna Jusić, offers the results of research that was aimed at identifying the key reasons for the continuous decline of public spaces in Sarajevo neighborhoods.

Themes: Governance and Service DeliveryParticipatory Decision MakingTransparency and Open GovernmentDecentralization
Mirna Jusić

The research was inspired by a perception of general deterioration of public space in urban neighborhoods in Sarajevo and previous research highlighting a general dissatisfaction of Sarajevo's residents with their immediate surroundings. A special focus of the research conducted by Analitika was on the most obvious aspects of physical deterioration of public areas and objects, including unkempt public areas (including green spaces) within neighborhoods, unkempt outside spaces belonging to residential buildings, littering and improper waste disposal in public areas and outside spaces belonging to residential buildings, destroyed fronts and other external parts of residential buildings, as well as destroyed park furniture and other objects in public spaces.

As part of the research, an analysis of competences and the legal framework regarding the provision of services on the maintenance of public space within urban neighborhoods was conducted. In addition, the research comprised of an analysis of service planning, mechanisms of quality control and service delivery oversight, mechanisms of coordination and cooperation between different actors such as service providers, competent authorities at different levels of government, inspectorates and local communities, as well as mechanisms of sanctioning the destruction and littering of public and private space in neighborhoods. As part of the research, "access points" that Sarajevo's residents can use to communicate with authorities, local communities, service providers and inspectorates were also scrutinized.

The research has, inter alia, shown that different factors contribute to the decay of urban neighborhoods in Sarajevo, including an imprecise normative framework and a lack of standards pertaining to individual public services, inadequate mechanisms of control over the delivery and quality of services, a number of challenges to the sanctioning of offences that pertain to the destruction and littering in public spaces, as well as inadequate access points to competent bodies that residents may use to communicate their individual or collective needs.

The report entails a number of recommendations, primarily directed at cantonal and local authorities in Sarajevo, with the aim of improving the current legislation and practice as to prevent the further physical deterioration of public space.

The report was prepared as part of the project "Fixing Broken Windows: Managing Public Spaces at the Neighborhood Level through Greater Citizen Engagement," financially supported by the Open Society Foundation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

The report in local languages is available HERE.