Last update:

Belgrade Waterfront project, Serbia

The government ignored citizens' complaints and changed existing legislation to facilitate controversial “Belgrade Waterfront” that would transform Belgrade's neighborhood Savamala into a luxury district.


Savamala is a neighbourhood of Belgrade that stretches along the right bank of river Sava and it is part of the city's historic core. This area includes state-owned land containing a formerly industrial waterfront zone, old railway tracks, small businesses, 101 individual households, and football club established by railway workers. Since 2009, one part of “Savamala” have been transformed by community of young artists and students and now hosts many bars, galleries and cultural centres.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Belgrade Waterfront project, Serbia
Location of conflict:Belgrade, Stari grad, Savamala
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Urban development conflicts
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

180 m- height of the tower

See more
Project area:150
Level of Investment:4 billion
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:2.5 million
Start of the conflict:07/10/2014
Company names or state enterprises: “Beograd na vodi d.o.o” from Serbia - Investor (32% of share)
Eagle Hills from United Arab Emirates - Investor (68% of share)
Relevant government actors:The Government of the Republic of Serbia; The City of Belgrade
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) - ERBD loan approved to "Serbian Railways" will be used for displacement of railways and train station from the city center
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:"Ne da(vi)mo Beograd" civil initiative ( and;
Critical mass Belgrade (;
International Network for Urban Research and Action (; Serbian Academy of Architecture; international students, architects and other professionals.
Newspapers distribution partners: Knjižara Beopolis, galerija Remont, Nova iskra, društveni centar Oktobar, Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju, Magacin u Kraljevića Marka, kulturni centar Grad, REX, Kulturforum, Matrijaršija, Udruženje Učitelj neznalica, Kafe Tezga, Kafe Čilton, Kafe Petak, Kafe Kliše, Kafe Zaokret.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in violence and crime, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:The initiative “Ne da(vi)mo Beograd” suggest that “the plan should be cancelled, and a planned organization of the central zone of Belgrade should return to a legal planning procedure, with respect to professional standards of planning and implementation of mechanisms for the protection of public interest”. They ask for more transparency in the entire process, respect of laws, and participation of the whole society, as well as demand resignations of the directors of Republic agency for spatial planning and Urban Development Institute and the mayor of Belgrade. The citizens demand identification and punishment of the perpetrators of demolitions in Hercegovačka street, as well as the resignations of the city and police authorities who have not protected the inhabitants.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:So far the authorities have been completely ignoring all complaints of citizens, and appeals and arguments of experts including architects and lawyers. The project is ongoing.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Analysis of the Belgrade Waterfront contract by "Ne da(vi)mo Beograd"
[click to view]

Alternative Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for Combating Corruption 2013 - 2018 and the Action Plan, CASE STUDY - The project "Belgrade on water" (pg. 2319
[click to view]

Newspaper printed by "Ne da(vi)mo Beograd" number 2
[click to view]

Newspaper printed by "Ne da(vi)mo Beograd" number 1
[click to view]

Serbia: 20,000 protesters say 'NO' to controversial Belgrade Waterfront project
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Facts about the project
[click to view]

Layers against the project
[click to view]

Open letter to the citizens of Belgrade by international scientists and experts in urban development and planning
[click to view]

About Savamala
[click to view]

Ongoing construction works
[click to view]

About the project
[click to view]

The last Savamala household standing
[click to view]

Bus station demolition
[click to view]

Flats sale
[click to view]

Disappearance of railway workers football club
[click to view]

Private restaurant as the project exhibition area
[click to view]

Civil movement against Belgrade Waterfront (in Italian)
[click to view]

Professional opinion abouth the project by a sociologist
[click to view]

Mayor on the mesaures used by the police
[click to view]

Ombudsman suggests dismissal of the head of communal police
[click to view]

Movement against Belgrade Waterfront (in Italian)
[click to view]

On the procedure how to buy a flat in Belgrade Waterfront
[click to view]

Luxury flats interiors
[click to view]

International opinions
[click to view]

Declaration by the Serbian Academy of Architecture
[click to view]

Construction site and flood risks
[click to view]

Belgrade gentrification (in English)
[click to view]

Chronology of events (in English)
[click to view]

Cyclists' uprising against Belgrade Waterfront
[click to view]

Evidence from the protest in front of Geozavod building
[click to view]

"Belgrade Boat Carnival” incident
[click to view]

Belgrade waterfront - dark side behind urban renewal (in English)
[click to view]

Resignation of the presidency of the Urban Planners Association of Belgrade
[click to view]

Scanned contract
[click to view]

Republic Agency for Spatial Planning report
[click to view]

Thousands take part in protest over Savamala demolitions
[click to view]

Serbian Protesters Say Authorities Were Behind Demolitions
[click to view]

Serbs rally against shady demolitions after masked crew 'tied up witnesses'
[click to view]

[click to view]

International students on the Belgrade Waterfront (in English)
[click to view]

Serbs Protest Demolitions for UAE-Investment Project
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Closer insight in the project development
[click to view]

On Savanova restaurant/promo stand
[click to view]

Banner at the 23rd International Salon of Urbanism
[click to view]

Press conference on misuse of the initiative "Ne da(vi)mo Beograd" identity
[click to view]

Protest report by the national TV station
[click to view]

Video from "Belgrade Boat Carnival”
[click to view]

Ute Lehrer (profesor at the York University) opinion (in English)
[click to view]

Operation "Slauf" in Belgrade City Council
[click to view]

Public debate in Center for cultural decontamination
[click to view]

Unsuccessful intent by "Insajder" journalist to interview "Beograd na vodi d.o.o" director
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update20/06/2016
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.