Last update:
2014-09-25

The Park is Ours, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Description:

In 2003, the assembly of the City of Banja Luka allowed a local private real estate development company ‘Grand Trade’ to build a 30,000 m2 business/residential project in the area of public park, known as Picin Park (Vagina Park or Pussy Park in English) to house the Republic of Srpska Telecom company. ‘Grand Trade’ owner Mile Radišić bought the land in a public tender announced by the government for 2.2 million euros.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:The Park is Ours, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Country:Bosnia and Herzegovina
State or province:The Republic of Srpska
Location of conflict:Banja Luka
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:green space
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Land area = 30,000 m2

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Project area:3
Level of Investment:138,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:29/05/2012
Company names or state enterprises:GRAND - TRADE d.o.o. Banja Luka - Bosnian company. Main investor.
ZZ "Agropromet" - State owned company, agricultural cooperative, owner of the orchard.
Telekom Srpske - Renter of the building constructed at Picin park. A telecommunications company based in Banja Luka, part of bigger company Telekom Srbija.
Relevant government actors:The city of Banja Luka; Mayor of Banja Luka; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Republic of Srpska
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Park je naš http://parkjenas.net/; Centar za zaštitu životne sredine http://czzs.org/; Green Youth of Serbia; Sarajevo Open Centre; Parents' Forum
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Support also came from academics in other countries such as the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:The citizens initiative "The park is ours” demanded from the Mayor of Banja Luka to stop the project and make related documents and agreements open to public. One idea for saving Picin Park by the citizens of Banja Luka proposed making it a memorial park by planting five trees to symbolically represent the five parachutists died in a plane crash in Zalužani.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project was not stopped. However, the park protest ”The park is ours” has been transformed to a collective movement aimed at broader structural issues in the country such as corruption, nepotism, lack of transparency, inequality across demographic lines among others.
However, the old oak tree once a symbol of the protest (that represented a start point of the protest walks) seems completely forgotten nowadays.
In November 2013, more than a year after, some of citizens who protested have legal penalties for crossing red lights during the protest. However, the protesters claim it is not about red lights, but that this case has a political weight as the citizens tried to highlight those who perform criminals jobs in Banja Luka. Unfortunately, the citizens end up in court trial and not the criminals.
Sources and Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

From Green Space to Structural Space: How ‘Park Protestors’ in Banja Luka Changed Their City
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When Fear Disappears: Protests in Banja Luka Entering Third Week
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Banjaluka: Mesec dana borbe za "Picin park"
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The vagina that makes the problems
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Banja Luka: Godina dana od početka šetnji (FOTO)
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SLUČAJ PICIN PARK: Prekršajne prijave zakucale šetačima na vrata!
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Ekskluzivno: “Telekom Srpske“ Radišićevom „Grand trade“ isplaćuje 254.099.050 KM
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Bosnia Police Arrest Anti-Business Centre Protester
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Slučaj Picin park: Ročište protiv banjalučkih šetača trajalo više od pet sati!
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Banja Luka: Sutra nastavak suđenja učesnicima protesta protiv uništavanja Picinog parka
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A debate on land rights and police brutality in BiH
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TAJKUNSKA POSLA: Gdje je završila zemlja iz Picinog parka
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Zeleno srce Banjaluke za padobrance
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“Šetači” ne smiju pred zgradu Vlade RS-a
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„Grand trade“ u „Picinom parku“ - počeci
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Peaceful street protest - Banja Luka setaci 28.06.2012 (2)
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Peaceful street protest - Banja Luka setaci 28.06.2012 (3)
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Peaceful street protest - Banja Luka setaci 28.06.2012 (1)
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Pictures of the planned development
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Images of the planned development
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Blog photos: БАЊА ЛУКА - Гранд Трејд | BANJA LUKA - Grand Trade | 25 fl | 200.000 m2
[click to view]

(Foto) Stari hrast nekad i sad: Tužna sudbina simbola protesta u Banjaluci
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Grand Trade - stambeno-poslovni kompleks
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TRAILER ZA FILM "PAD PICINOG PARKA": Svjedočanstvo o nasilju sistema nad pojedincem
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Other documents

The sign says: “You are destroying Vagina Park to build a Penis Building” “You are destroying Vagina Park to build a Penis Building” - The local nickname for the park was Pussy Park or Vagina Park

Image from: http://emajmagazine.com/2012/08/10/the-vagina-that-makes-the-problems/
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The future of Picin Park This is the photo of Grand Trade construction project idea
[click to view]

The sign says: "Where will I pee now?" "Where will I pee now?" one of the funny ways to express the opinion against destroying Picin Park
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update25/09/2014
Comments
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