Public Announcement on Avala Movie Complex Construction Plan

Bitka za Košutnjak

Civil society organizations, experts, and citizens involved in urbanism and environmental protection have delivered more than 7 thousand objections and comments related to the Plan of Detailed Regulation for the “Avala movie” Complex on Košutnjak. The comments have been delivered to the Secretariat for urbanism and construction of the City of Belgrade. More than 25.000 citizens supported the objections through by signing the petition for preserving Košutnjak. 

The public announcement issued by a group of civil society organizations, including the Young Researchers of Serbia, concluded that the implementation of this plan would cause damage to the public good, environment, and the citizens of Belgrade. Although the plan was presented as an investment in the development of the movie industry, its detailed analysis shows an entirely different purpose. 

The document outlines plans for adding more than 420.000m2 of residential space and 150.000m2 of commercial space to Košutnjak. These spaces would be built at the expense of the forest and other public green spaces. 

“They are taking away green spaces and other spaces dedicated to culture, and building 9.6ha of commercial spaces that are not currently part of the location. On top of that, they are planning to add 7.9ha of mixed urban spaces,” the announcement says. At the same time, the plan is also seeking to reduce the space available for public objects such as local ambulances, kindergartens, firefighters station, etc. 

All of this is pointing out to the intention to create an elite residential complex at the expense of 26.8ha of forest and 7.9ha of green spaces on one of the most valuable and prized locations in Belgrade. 

The documentation itself contains various technical issues and logical fallacies – from expired working licenses of the urbanists who signed the document, to the content of the plan and the lack of specific definition of “Avala movie complex,” which is in conflict with the laws and urban planning of higher level. 

“(This) points out to the true purpose of the plan – to create a legal pretext for an illegitimate practice of sacrificing the most valuable city spaces to the private interests, on account of public interest and the future of our city,” the announcement concludes.

Some of the objections were written and signed by the representatives of academia – the dean of Faculty of Forestry, prof. dr Ratko Ristić, the dean of the Faculty of Biology, prof. dr Željko Tomanović, the dean of the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education prof. dr Saša Jakovljević, as well as the director of the National Institute for Biological Research „Siniša Stanković” dr Mirjana Mihailović.

“Destroying forests and other green spaces in the urbanized neighborhoods of Belgrade will lead to grave consequences: increased emission of greenhouse gases, reduced production of oxygen, increasing the heat island effect in the conditions of growing climate anomalies, degradation of biodiversity, dehumanization of the city spaces, with worse living conditions and greater chances of flooding of the Topčider river and its tributaries,” Ratko Ristić wrote for the portal “Defend the rivers of Stara Planina”. 

The experts and civil society organizations demand an immediate cessation of planning activities in the existing framework. The current basic concept for the Avala movie complex must be modified according to the procedures, laws, and the existing urban plans of the higher level. It should prioritize the preservation of the forests and green spaces, without changing the purpose of these locations, because there is no legal basis for such a move. The investor should be left with a possibility to use and invest in real estate owned by them, without changing the ownership structure of the larger area. 

The full text of the announcement, as well as the list of signees, is available on this link.

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