ROMA SETTLEMENTS IN SERBIA CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS AND FUTURE GOALS ..Society for BELGRADE, 2009
the Improvement of Local Roma Communities
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
This report has been developed in the framework of the European Roma Mapping project cofinanced by the Culture 2007 Program of EU (Grant Agreement CLT2007/1.2.1/10602007) particularly as result of Action 1 and Action 2.
ROMA SETTLEMENTS IN SERBIA CONTEMPORARY STATE AND TARGET FUTURE
This project has been funded with support from European Commission. This report reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein All photos without indication of source were made by Vladimir Macura
CONTENTS Foreword Summary Acknowledgments
We are here,…
2. CURRENT SITUATION OF ROMA SETTLEMENTS 2.1. Historical background 2.2. Roma population and settlements 2.3. Types and features of settlements 2.4. Vernacular housing architecture 2.5. Main obstacles and problems
3. CONTEMPORARY SERBIAN STRATEGIC RESPONSE 3.1. Laws and Roma Decade 3.2. Strategies and action plans 3.3. Action plan for settlements and housing 3.4. Guidelines for improvement and legalization 3.5. Institutions and NGOs 3.6. Principles for upgrading
4. LOCAL LEVEL EFFORTS AND SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES 4.1. Improvement of existing settlements 4.2. Legalization: Orlovsko naselje, Belgrade 4.3. Improvement: Grdička kosa 2, Kraljevo 4.4. Small scale upgrading: Romsko naselje, Apatin 4.5. New mixed neighbourhood: Rasadnik, Niš
5. COMMENTS AND CONCLUSIONS 5.1. Quality and quantity 5.2. Success and good results 5.3. Failures and faults 5.4. General warning 5.5. What is about the future?
Housing and settlements of Roma are most challenging topic in lot of European countries and consequently inside the international initiative Decade for Roma inclusion 2005 – 2015, which gathers 11 countries from Central and SE Europe. Significance of this theme arises from several sensitive issues among which are legal status, land ownership, living conditions, and substandard housing and absence of communal infrastructure. Fundamental reason for inhuman Roma settlements lay into deep, multi-generation poverty of these people, which sets them apart from the general population. Efforts at improving the present situation are very often obstructed by intolerance and discrimination, prejudices and racism that are visible in many countries. On the other hand, Roma, politicians and scholars, authorities and NGOs, governments and international organizations developed remarkable initiatives, projects, documents etc. oriented to settlement and housing improvement. Generally speaking, current situation is a little better then twenty years ago. Most of European societies are in transition where positive initiatives are impeded by various obstacles. That is also true of the Serbian society. The report Roma Settlements in Serbia – Current State of Affairs and Future Goals would briefly describe this dualism. But, the emphases of the report are on positive aspects of Roma housing and settlements changes in Serbia. The report is a part of EU-ROMA project (www.eu-roma.net ) launching a European open confrontation on Roma housing issue and public space. EU-ROMA is acronym for EUropean ROma MApping – the Research project on Roma housing development in Europe, which mobilized and cross-fertilized knowledge and experiences from different domains like urban arts, architecture, humanities, sociology and human rights. EU-ROMA Consortium brings together four partner organizations from Italy (LAN Laboratorio di Architettura Nomade, Naples, architecture & planning, Coordinator), Romania (ATU Asociatia Pentru Tranzitie Urbana, Bucharest, urban planning), Great Britain (UAL University of the Arts London Higher Education Corporation, art & fashion design) and Greece (TAMA Temporary Autonomous Museum for All, Athens). Society for the Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade, Serbia is an associate of EU-ROMA.
The EU-ROMA team meeting in Belgrade, February 2009 (Photo: Berescu)
EU-ROMA project comprises four activities, two of which are directly connected with the report that is presented here. The first activity deals with detailed state-of-the-art analyses of Roma living conditions, while the second sought to integrate, share and disseminate diverse knowledge on Roma housing in EU, trough inter-cultural dialog and collaboration in the context of four workshops. A research trip was made to Belgrade in February 2009 where Consortium members had meetings with the author of this report, as well as with Roma representatives and with people from a few Roma informal and formal settlements. The final content of the report Roma Settlements in Serbia – Current State of Affairs and Future Goals was discussed and agreed during this visit.
Summary This report represents architectural and urbanistic aspects of Roma settlements in Serbia (without Kosovo) with particular the emphasis on housing issue. It starts with a short explanation of the term, Roma settlement. Presentation of the state of Roma settlements is described in chapter two. The reader would find here historical background, figures on population and settlements and the explanation of settlement types, as well as some observations on Roma vernacular housing architecturee and the description of main obstacles and problems. The third chapter offers contemporary Serbian strategic response to the existing situation. Introduction to Serbian appropriate laws and the Roma Decade project in Serbia are followed by an explanation of strategies and action plans and the Action plan for settlements and housing. Institutional organization and role of NGO sector is given too. Special attention is given to a formal Serbian document, Guidelines for improvement and legalization of informal Roma settlements. Four good practices are presented in the fourth chapter. The chapter includes Legalization of “Orlovsko naselje” in Belgrade, Improvement of “Grdička kosa 2” in City of Kraljevo, small scale upgradings in “Romsko naselje” in City of Apatin, and description of New mixed neighbourhood “Rasadnik” in City of Niš. Final chapter of the report offer some comments and conclusions that end with the question: What about the future? Report is illustrated with photos from Serbian Roma localities, urban plans for some of them, few house designs etc. References, given at the end of report, comprise a selection from rich Serbian professional and scientific literature.
Acknowledgements The report was made possible by a grant from the LAN - Laboratorio di Architettura Nomade, Naples, architecture and planning organization, the coordinator of EU-ROMA project. Key EU-ROMA experts, Alexander Valentino, Project coordinator and Nicola Dorigo Salamon, Research advisor and Project manager, influenced not only the content of the report but also its finalization during drafting phase. Catalin Berescu from ATU Asociatia Pentru Tranzitie Urbana, Bucharest, helped with comments about Roma housing and settlement matters and offered comments on the draft version of the report. Creation of this report would not have been possible without the intellectual support by Zlata Vuksanović-Macura, UN-HABITAT SIRP housing coordinator in Serbia, who contributed productive ideas for some chapters, in particular for chapter three, and who carefully searched balance between parts of the Report during its preparation. I am very grateful to Zlata. Above all, I wish to thank Miomir Pešić, Director of the City Housing Agency – Niš on his permission to depict the project “Rasadnik” for the resettlement Roma families from an old Jewish Cemetery. Kristina Budalic assisted me with correcting text, and I thank her, too.
Roma settlements in Serbia1 and their vernacular architecture are the main topics of this report. Word settlement, from geographical point of view means a) a permanently inhabited place, b) which has its particular name, c) environment adopted and built according to human and community’s needs, economic organization, social values and culture and, finally, d) territory which is controlled by community2. There is a small number of Roma settlements in Serbia that fit this definition, and these are certain villages. Other Roma settlements actually are parts of larger rural or urban units – villages, towns or cities. Term settlement is used very often in Serbia to designate any neighborhood or simply any local community, or some residential part of a city. Such meaning is applicable also to Roma localities. A synonym for Roma settlement that could be found in literature, professional texts and everyday communication is mahala. This word, which has roots in the Turkish language of the Ottoman era denotes a neighborhood, or part of a city inhabited by people with the same occupation, same origin, or ethnicity. The fact that a Roma mahala is surrounded with areas inhabited by the majority population gives possibility to use term enclave. Some authors use term ghetto to indicate a local Roma community that is exclude from rest of society. We will represent Roma settlements and their housing – present, intentions for upgrading and potential future - from the urbanist’s and architect’s point of view. Urban Roma settlements, not rural are in our focus. This report is based on various research, scientific contributions, analyses and conclusions appearing in the references that are listed at the report’s end.
This report concerns Serbia without Kosovo. Macura, V, (project manager), 2002: Review of Roma settlements in Belgrade, Society for Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade
2. CURRENT SITUATION OF ROMA SETTLEMENTS
2.1. Historical background Some Roma groups have been mentioned on the territory of today’s Serbia in 1300s3. The assumption is that an early migration wave brought Roma via Egypt to the Balkans and that they converted to the Christian Orthodox religion. The Turkish push into the Balkans from the Asia Minor in the 14th century was accompanied by new Roma4, who acted as military support forces (craftsmen, commissaries, blacksmiths, horsemen etc). Stabilization of Turkish dominion on the Balkans Peninsula and the development of the Ottoman administration were foundation for Roma sedentary life. Early records on the Roma presence in Serbia are from second half of 15th century. For example, the Turkish census for taxation purposes from 1491 carried out in 18 districts – nahia - in the South of Serbia provided evidence on approximately 3.500 Orthodox Roma households5. Four main groups of Roma have been established during the five centuries of the Turkish rule over the territory of Serbia: a) Turkish Roma mainly settled in the South of Serbia, b) White Roma that moved from Bosnia and lived mostly in Podrinje area (West part of Serbia), c) Wallachian Roma moved to East Serbia from Romania, and d) Hungarian or Banat Roma moved from Austria to Banat, a Vojvodina sub-region6. Some of these groups were Christian Orthodox, while the others were Moslems; a few of them lived in towns and most of them in villages.
separate parts of urban fabric populated by Roma8. During the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century Serbia transformed itself from a Turkish province to a modern European country, which was most visible in changing of cities. Old Turkish mahala organization has been replaced by division of cities into functional zones – city centre, housing, industry etc9. On the other hand, Roma mahalas stood as last signs of previous times. This old fashioned organization in many cases remained until today.
A Roma village at the Belgrade edge according to an Austrian map from 1783; The fortifications and ramparts were the only artificial elements of the surrounding landscape.
Jatagan Mala, a Roma Belgrade suburbia according a map from 1924
The Turkish settlement spatial and administrative organization was based on mahala7. Roma mahalas could be found in towns, such as Belgrade, Niš, Kruševac, and Leskovac. City maps from the 17th and 18th century had toponyms as Ciganka, Ziganka, and Ziganskamala etc. that indicated
Francois de Vaux de Foletier, 1984: The World Their Homeland, UNESCO Courier, Oct 1984, published at Patrin , http://www.geocities.com/~patrin/homeland.htm . Also, for general on Romany history see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Romani_history 4 Roma migrated from their native country – India – in few mass scale movements in the period of 10th to 14th century, and continue to migrate across various European regions and countries up to 19th century. A migration with Turkish army was one of those movements. (Mitrović, A and Zajić, G., 1998: Social position of the Roma in Serbia, in Roma in Serbia, Centre for Anti-War Action and Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade) 5 Balić, O., 2006: Successful model – Roma settlements in Nis (Model uspešnosti – romska naselja u Nišu), Conference “Consolidation and legalization of Roma settlements and houses“, Belgrade 6 Đorđrvić, T., 1932: Ciganska zanimanja u Naš narodni život (Occupations of Gypsies, in Our people’s life), Volume VII, Belgrade 7 Kojić, B., 1976: Stari balkanski gradovi, varoši i varošice (Old Balkan cities, towns and small towns), IAUS, Belgrade
Macura, V., 1983: Urbano planiranje u Srbiji 19. i 20. veka (Urban planning in Serbia in 19th and 20th century), Beograd Projekt – Centar za planiranje urbanig razvoja, Beograd 9 Macura, V., 1984: Čaršija i gradski centar – razvoj središta varoši i grada Srbije XIX i prve polovine XX veka (“Čaršija“ and City Center – Development of City Core in Serbia in 19th and first half of 20th century)
2.2. Roma population and settlements
Mali Leskovac, a Roma “wild” settlement at Karaburma, the periphery of Belgrade formed around 1970,s when Roma from Kosovo started to build houses on the municipal land (Photo: Zamurović, 1988)
This fact should be understood as a consequence of deep intolerance of the majority population and its administrative and social institutions. A set of urban plans from the end of the 19th century up to the Second World War did not recognize Roma mahalas/settlements as equal parts of cities. This can be concluded from the fact that these settlements had not been included into cities’ zoning plans as housing parts but as industrial areas, land for street system etc. After the Second World War, Serbia, as well as the entire Yugoslavia pursued intensive industrialization, which brought many people, including Roma, from rural areas to cities. Cities could not accommodate all new migrants, especially not unskilled and poor. Consequently, “illegal”, “wild” settlements emerged on the city edges. Authorities in many cased did not stopped such building activities, since they could not to offer a better solution. At the end of the 20th century a number of these informal settlements were legalized by urban plans. But this has not happened to most informal Roma settlements. They were not legalized, which meant that they could not be improved, i.e. they could not been equipped by communal infrastructures, old houses could not enhanced, new houses could not be built, shortages of social services could not be prevailed etc. Informal, unplanned and spontaneous development resulted in several types of Roma settlements in Serbia at the beginning of the 21st century.
According to 2002 census, the Roma population in Serbia without Kosovo exceeded 108.000 persons. This figure, like the figures from the previous censuses10 (1971 – 50.000, 1981 – 111.000, 1991 - 140.000), is dubious11. Many other sources, mainly estimates of independent studies, NGO assessments, and estimates of international organizations gave figures that were 3 to 4 time larger. First serious estimate of 400.000 – 450.000 Roma comes from Liegeois and Gheorghe, 199412. The investigation of Roma situation in Serbia carried out in 2002 by Jaksic and Basic13 identified around 248.000 Roma inhabited in settlements/enclaves larger of 100 persons. This number did not include “integrated” Roma who lived in mix communities alongside the majority population. According to field impressions, this Roma group is as large as Jaksic-Basic figure. A part of Roma leaders believed that 500.000 to 800.000 Roma live in Serbia, including Kosovo. This over estimation is a reaction to the 2002 census data. Recent estimate of 250.000 to 400.000 Roma was given by the Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position in Republic of Serbia14. Domicile Roma, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are included into these figures. “Probably the most striking demographic feature of the Roma as opposed to the rest of the population is its age structure. The Roma are by far the youngest ethnic community in Serbia: their average age is 27.5 (compared to 40.2 in the general population,…)”15. The Roma settlements are mostly concentrated within 4 large areas: the Greater Belgrade Region, the Sava-Danube line (north-western part of Central Serbia), Vojvodina and districts of Southern Serbia. The size of Roma settlements varies from 10 - 15 houses concentrated along a street, to settlements with even 1000 houses. Consequently, the population in these settlements varies from around hundred people to large settlements with few thousands people. The smallest number of settlements, only 3, is inhabited by more than 5000 Roma. The research results showed that population of most of the Roma settlements in Serbia (83%) does not exceed 500 persons. The 2001 research conducted in Belgrade16 discovered 125 Roma 10
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Serbia Cerovic, Irena, Winter 2004/2005: Improving the Position of the Roma in Serbia> The Demographic Challenge, IEPS; http://www.tolerance.cz/courses/monnet/winter2004/AQCI/essayIrenaC.doc 12 Liegeois, J-P., Gheorghe, N., 1995: Roma/Gypsies: A European Minority, Minority Right Group International, London 13 Jaksic, B., and Basic, G, 2002: Roma Settlements, Living Conditions, and Possibilities for Integration of Roma in Serbia, Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Ethnicity Research Center, Belgrade. 14 Adopted by Serbian Government on 9 April 2009; http://www.rtv.rs/sr/vesti/drustvo/drustvo/2009_04_09/vest_124538.jsp 15 Cerovic, Irena, Winter 2004/2005: Improving the Position of the Roma in Serbia> The Demographic Challenge, IEPS; http://www.tolerance.cz/courses/monnet/winter2004/AQCI/essayIrenaC.doc 16 Macura, V. (project leader) et all, 2002: Review of Roma settlements in Belgrade, Society for Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade 11
settlements, in which 87% were with population under 500 persons. A land surface covered with Roma settlement is not necessarily in correlation with its population. This depends on settlement type, of its position in the city and of the region. Generally speaking, settlements on the Southern Serbia are denser then in Vojvodina, where wide streets and large plots are part of construction tradition.
2001 research of Belgrade Roma settlements and other researches17 it is possible to define main types and features of Roma settlements. Table 7: Types and features of Roma settlements in Serbian cities Type of Settlement Old city mahala “Partaja” area
Table 2: Size of Roma settlements in Serbia and Belgrade Population
Serbia* Belgrade** Number of Surface of Number of Surface of settlements settlement(ha) settlements settlement(ha) 20 – 99 Not registered 54 0.2 - 0.5 100 - 199 314 0.5 - 1.1 22 0.3 - 1.8 200 - 499 179 1.2 - 2.7 31 1.0 - 1.9 500 - 999 62 2.8 - 5.6 13 1.0 - 5.0 1000 - 1999 22 5.7 - 11.1 5 5.0 - 25.0 2000 - 4999 13 11.2 - 27.7 Do not exist Over 5000 3 27.8 - 35.0 Do not exist TOTAL 593 125 * According to the Jaksic and Basic 2002 research; ** According to Review of Roma settlements 2001; Surface is given according to the author’s estimation
Unhygienic settlement Slum
Part of old village now included into city Suburban village or hamlet
Location in City
Domicile Domicile Mixed Domicile Mixed Refugees IDP Seasonal workers Domicile Mixed
Central zone Middle zone
Middle zone Suburb Central zone Middle zone
Domicile Refugees IDP
Fact that Roma settlements in Serbia are relatively small is very important regarding future improvements, or for resettlement of families. In reality, this is not a costly task, which is neither difficult to organize nor manage; and political will is a most crucial factor for improvements or resettlement. 2.3. Types and features of settlements Housing conditions of the Roma are regarded primarily through a prism of type of Roma settlements. Based on the above-mentioned 2002 research, there are four basic Roma settlement types in Serbia: city Roma mahalas, suburban Roma settlements, Roma villages and, finally, Roma village mahalas. Table 6: Position and type of Roma settlements in Serbia Position and type of settlements Roma city mahala Suburban Roma settlement Roma Village Roma Village mahala Other Total
Number of settlements 129 183 129 136 16 593
% of settlements 21,7 31,0 21,7 23,1 2,5 100,0
Previous typology is mostly geographical. From the urbanistic point of view, the quality of settlement, which pertains to living and housing conditions, is mostly important, especially for solving problems in cities. According to the
Old Roma Mahala Marko Orlović in the City of Kruševac originates from last decades of the 19th century, when Roma got a land from the Queen. The settlement is close to the city’s center today and it was considered illegal since the 1930s, when a first Master plan was prepared. Legalization of the settlement took place in the 2000s. 17
Macura, M. (Ed), 2000: Cigani/ Romi u prošlosti i danas (Gypsies/ Roma in the Past and Today), Scientific conferences, Volume XCIII, Research Commission for Roma life and Customs, Book 3, Serbian Academy of Science and Art, Belgrade
An unhygienic Roma enclave at the Aleksinac town with crowded houses and narrow streets and with a very poor infrastructure.
This slum under the Gazela Bridge in Belgrade was formed of “barracks”; Roma usually construct such type of houses with non-building materials.
Top right: The „Partaja“ area with narrow and deep parcels constructed according the Building Law 1932, which has been inhabited by Roma and other poor people who move from villages to towns after the Second World WarI. Small flats usually comprising a room and a kitchen have been built with solid materials. Some of these areas exist in Serbian cities today, which is presented at top right photos.
Old city mahala is usually a compact group of houses situated on very small parcels, where domestic life is mixed with economic activities. Narrow streets and alleys form an irregular block pattern. This type of settlement usually originates from end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th century and could be seen in Southern Serbia. “Partaja” is a very narrow and deep parcel where houses (mostly composed of a single room + kitchen) form a row on one parcel side. The yard is in the front of the houses, and toilets are at the end of parcel. “Partaja” originated in the first half of the 20th century Central Serbia and was a way of solving pro-poor housing not only for Roma, but also for general population. Unhygienic settlement, inhabited also with general population as well as with Roma, come from second half of the 20th century and could be seen all over the country. The main feature is that poor houses were building mostly with building materials, but settlement doe not have infrastructure. Slum is the worst type of settlement, inhabited with extremely poor Roma. Lack of communal infrastructure and the use of nonbuilding materials for “barrack” home construction are some of features. This type originates in the last decade of the 20th century. Part of an old village now included into city is a type very similar to unhygienic settlement. The only difference is the plot size, which is a remnant of the relatively spacious yards and gardens from the previous era of rural life. This type dates back to the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Suburban settlements could have characteristics of any the previously described types. It could be a group of non-living containers (Krusevac), small ghetto formed at an old agricultural base (Bangladeš, Novi Sad18), or IDP camp (Salvatore, Bujanovac) 18
NGO Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization, Novi Sad, started few years ago with upgrading living conditions in Bangladeš. City of Novi Sad accepted this initiative and work today on repairing infrastructure, flats etc.
2.4. Vernacular housing architecture Roma house architecture and settlement architecture is vernacular19. Homemade design, self-help building process “guided by a series of conventions”, local and standard materials mixed sometimes with non-building materials chosen from dumps are attributes of this architecture. In addition, we could add that all structures of Roma vernacular architecture are constructed to satisfy particular social and family needs, and to meet the needs of the Roma economy, Roma financial sources and the life style based on them.
Three types of houses: rich, average and poor. The last two types are result of self-help constructions. All three examples are from the Mramorska Roma settlement in the City of Niš.
Generally speaking, there are numerous characteristics that distinguish Roma houses and settlements from those belonging to the majority population in Serbia. Here, we will describe most important features. The first is that all Roma living spaces – houses, auxiliary buildings, yards and parcels, blocks of houses, street, and entire settlements– arise through the 19
Brunskill, R.W., 2000: Vernacular Architecture: An Illustrated Handbook, Faber & Faber, 4th edition
process of adding special units20. The house grows by adding new rooms, the block by adding new houses, settlement by adding new streets and blocks. Contrary to this, the parcel (as one of spatial settlement’s units) undergoes an inverse development – fragmentation though division instead of increase in size though merger21. Over time, these two processes – enlargement of buildings and reduction of uncovered land – the result is an over-built environment. Both of these processes are a consequence of poverty. They are not unique to Roma settlements; they occur in other poor communities, as well.
Two examples of parcels’ division (1957 and 1986), Orlovsko naselje, Belgrade
Ferenčak, M., 2000: Neki činioci supstandardnog stanovanja u Orlovskom naselju i mogućnosti njihovog poboljšanja (Some Factors of Substandard Dwelling at Eagle’s Nest Settlement in Belgrade and Possibilities of Improvement) in Cigani/ Romi u prošlosti i danas (Gypsies/ Roma in the Past and Today), Scientific conferences, Volume XCIII, Research Commission for Roma Life and Customs, Book 3, Serbian Academy of Science and Art, Belgrade 21 Macura, V., 1992: Romska enklava Orlovsko naselje na rubu Beograda - arhitektonsko urbanistički opis (The Gypsy enclave Orlovsko naselje on the edge of Belgrade), str.131 -148, Razvitak Roma u Jugoslaviji - problemi i tendencije, knjiga LXVIII, Odelenje društvenih nauka, Komisija za proučavanje Roma, SANU, Beograd
These configurations make possible various manners of family life, which depend on season, important family dates, the number of family members etc. This tripartite composition could be found in the South and North of Serbia, in small villages and in big cities, in slums and in “partaja” areas. Even in a situation where the family does hot have own yard, a part of “public” land, such as some broadening at street is frequently used as a yard. Poor Roma construct simple homes without any decoration. As they became a little bit richer, Roma always try to add some decorative elements as secondary details to the main structure. Richer Roma, whose living standard is similar to that of low-income families of the general population try to incorporate more ornaments, types of architectural adornments and accessories. Formed as an assemblage of prefabricated decorative components, these decorations could sometimes become specific naïve popular art. A characteristic of every Roma settlement is a mixture of all types of houses: rich and poor houses are found side by side. A veranda detail from a wealthy house used for leisure; Very often, especially in poor houses, veranda is used as a summer kitchen or an extension of living place.
House + veranda/ porch + yard usually create a Roma home. This example is from the City of Zrenjanin, Vojvodina
On the other hand, the impossibility of constructing larger or standard houses creates a minimized, diminished settlement tissue. A comparison of houses’ squire meters per household in Roma settlement with those from the general population areas shows that an average Roma household inhabits a dwelling that is 43% smaller than a dwelling of a household in the general population22. In slums, the diminution of structure is more dramatic. Medium floor space in Belgrade is about 22 sqm/person for the general population, but in the “Gazela” slum it is 4,7 sqm/person23. Space shortage should be compensated by external space. A typical Roma home consists of three main elements: flat (enclosed space), veranda/ porch (semi-enclosed, semi-opened) and plot (open space)24. The flat and the veranda form a house; the veranda and the plot form a yard. 22
Breaking the cycle of exclusion: Roma children in South East Europe, UNICEF Serbia, 2007, Belgrade Macura, V., 2007: The Sketch for Urbanistic and Architectural Solution for Resettlement Families from “Gazela” unhygienic settlement, Institute of Urbanism Belgrade, Belgrade 24 Macura, V, Đirić, M and Mitrović, Z., 2008: Culturally-responsive urban village, Belgrade, Serbia, http://www.holcimfoundation.org/T767/A08EUacA.htm 23
2.5. Main obstacles and problems Bad housing conditions in Roma settlements correlate with outspread Roma poverty. The cause is not only lack of money, but even more a complex problem of general deprivation that includes poor education, limited earning opportunities, inadequate access to social and health protection, as well as discrimination, prejudices and intolerance. Generally speaking, Roma settlements have some specific features that are most important obstacles, which distinguished them from other cities’ residential areas25. The following features are consequences of poverty: • • • • • • •
Irregular legal status, Lack of infrastructure, Overcrowded milieu, Small number of housing unites, Poverty ambience, Unhygienic environment and Distant social services
Main problems of Roma settlements ought to be connected with their origin and further development. Regarding their origin, Roma settlements emerged as planned, spontaneously formed, or illegally formed. The spontaneous manner of settlement creation took place on cities’ peripheries or in fringe zones, where Roma constructed homes on land that was not under authorities’ urban-planning control. Over time, these enclaves became surrounded by the standard city tissue, thus turning into ethnic islands. Planned settlements were developed according to urban plans or adequate local authorities’ decisions. Partaja areas were constructed according to 1932 Building Law and proper Bylaws. Some slum-like container groups or settling in “temporary” housing or adaptation of some non-housing structures were carried out according municipal decisions in the second half of the 20th century. Illegal settlements have been erected contrary to urban plans and/or mainly on public land. Generally speaking, Roma are not illegal builders since they are a socially feeble group. We do not know of situations where Roma built on private land.
Old Roma enclave “Surdučka Street” in the City of Zrenjanin; Authorities planned this area before the First World War with the intention to impose sedentary life on Roma.
Table 3: Manner of creation of Roma settlements according to legal status Manner of creation of settlements Planned Spontaneous/Mix way composed by spontaneous and planned manner Illegal Other Total
Serbia 65% 47% 24% 2% -
Belgrade 22% 62% 16% 100%
Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position in the Republic of Serbia (Strategija za unapređenje položaja Roma u Republici Srbiji), http://www.humanrights.gov.yu/dokumenti/roma/strategija_april_09.pdf
The illegally built “Deponija” Roma slum at an industrial zone of Belgrade; the groups of houses A, B, C and D were formed a few decades ago. Group E, which was constructed at an old dump was formed after 1999, when IDPs come from Kosovo.
These three basic manners have been merged in reality. A settlement’s core could be spontaneously formed on land belonging to families, but latter development could be illegal since newcomers build on municipal or someone else’s land. Another process is connected with inside developments. Pressed by needs, families start to add new premises to old houses, but these constructions are illegal as an urban plan envisaged some other land use on the settlement’s terrain. Consequently, most of today’s Roma settlements have disadvantages, which resulted from a mixture of those combinations. It is necessary to stress that local authorities have always been aware of internal and external developments of Roma settlements. In some situations local authorities were those who encouraged Roma to build in illegal manner, in order to reduce demands for social housing. All these processes gave a widespread impression, both in the public and in institutions, that all Roma habitats are “wild settlements”, “irregular unhygienic groups of houses”, “illegal uncultivated communities” etc. Actually, the fact that institutions condoned the Roma settlement development practices was a serious cause of illegality of numerous Roma settlements. The illegality is not only a current state of affairs; it is also the process of degradation of local Roma community and its living environment. Slums are in the most difficult position. Lack of any adequate living conditions usually is combined with the threat of eviction. Local authorities sometimes do not know which measures they should and may take to solve slum problems, which creates problems for both municipalities and the Roma in question. Local authorities use eviction when a development project needs to be implemented on the slum site. On the other side, the majority population often sympathises with evictions. Difficulties with the communal infrastructure are one of important consequences. According to the criteria defined in 2002 research, 43.5% Roma settlements in Serbia lack infrastructure or have it in smaller parts of the settlement. Table 5: Infrastructure services in Roma settlements in Serbia - % settlements with full presence of some of the infrastructure services and % where there is none Type of services Electricity system Water supply system Sewerage Road network
Irregular sewage open channel in the “Novosadska” Roma settlement at Batajnica, Belgrade; this type of sewage could be seen also in other very densely populated Roma environments.
Exist in whole settlement 64,9% 47,1% 24,2% 33,1%
None at all 5,8% 27,3% 61,4% 34,1%
The partly serviced settlements commonly have relatively regulated road network, electricity and water supply network. Sewerage represents a huge problem in these settlements, as well. The sewerage system exists in only one third of the settlements. On the other hand, there is the issue of quality of this infrastructure.
3. CONTEMPORARY SERBIAN STRATEGIC RESPONSE
3.1. Laws and Roma Decade There are a few international and European documents relevant to the right to housing, which were adopted by Serbia as a potential base for the regulation of the Roma housing issue. The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Council of Europe’s European Social Chapter (rev1996), the Policy Guidelines on Access to Housing for Disadvantaged Categories of Persons prepared by the Group26 (2000), the Recommendation on improving the housing conditions of Roma and Travelers in Europe 27(2005), as well as the OSCE Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti Within the OSCE Area are significant for solving the housing issue28. The Constitution of Serbian (2006) in articles 75 to 81 contains a wide range of instruments for the protection of minority rights. According to the Constitution, the Republic could adopt particular actions in economic, social, political and cultural areas to reach full equality among minorities and the majority population. The Law on protection of rights and freedom of national minorities (2002)29 identifies Roma as a national minority30 and gives responsibility to authorities at all governmental levels to develop appropriate legal documents for the implementation of the measures that would improve the position of the Roma national minority. The Law on housing (1992 - 2001)31 defines the responsibility of the Republic to undertake measures for accelerating housing construction for vulnerable groups. The definition of vulnerable categories of people is also given in the Law (Article 28). The Law on Expropriation (1995)32 gives possibility to the Republic to expropriate land for housing construction for socially vulnerable people. The Law on Spatial plan of the Republic of Serbia (1996) proclaimed measures for the improvement and reconstruction of housing units in poor and unhygienic settlements. The Law
on planning and construction (2006)33 define the base for the preparation of urban plans. And finally, the Ministry of Capital Investments (now the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning) adopted the Guidelines for improvement and legalization of Informal Roma Settlements in the beginning of 200734. The Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015 is an international initiative intended to improve the Roma situation in all vital fields of life with a view to achieving equal possibilities with other citizens. In February 2005, Serbia has joined the Decade with the intention to be a part of the process focused on the improvement in four main fields (employment, education, health care and housing) and cross-topics (anti-discrimination, gender equity and poverty reduction). Under the Serbian Decade presidency 2008 – 2009 housing and settlement issue is the main field of elaboration.
“Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers of eight countries from Central and South Eastern Europe signed a Decade of Roma Inclusion Declaration in Sofia on 2 February 2005”. “The purpose of the Decade is to narrow the social and economic gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population in the signatory countries” (Photo: Tanjug).
Council of Europe (2002a), Policy Guidelines on Access to Housing for Disadvantaged Categories of Persons, CS-LO (2001) 31, Group of Specialists on Access to Housing, Strasbourg 27 Council of Europe, Recommendation Rec(2005)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on improving the housing conditions of Roma and Travelers in Europe 28 This part of text is based on Annotation of Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position http://www.humanrights.gov.yu/dokumenti/roma/obrazlozenje-romska_strategija.pdf 29 Official Gazette FRY No 11/2002 и 57/2002 30 , Roma had status of ethnic minority before adoption of this Law, but not national minority. 31 Low on Housing (Zakon o stanovanju),(Set of Official Gazette from1992 – 2002, see reference 32 Law on expropriation (Zakon o eksproprijaciji) Official Gazette RS, No 53/1995
Law on planning andconstruction (Zakon o planiranju i izgradnji) Official Gazette, No. 47/2003 and 34/2006 Koka, Lj.(Ed.), 2007: Challenges of the Roma Decade: Annual Report for 2006 and Calendar for Events for 2007, Agency for Human and Minority Rights of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade
3.3. Action plan for settlements and housing
The Roma Decade International Steering Committee meeting held on 4 September 2008 during the Serbian Decade Presidency..
3.2. Strategies and action plans The Draft strategy for integration and empowerment of Roma (DSIER) was prepared in 2002. Its aim was to provide answers to all aspects of Roma life, including housing matter. The Action plan for housing is title of a formal Serbian government’s document that covers two main topics – the issue of Roma settlements and the issue of Roma housing. At the same time, three other action plans were elaborated: for education, employment and health care. Those action plans were formulated at the end of 2004 after two years of work and with the participation of Roma representatives and representatives from line ministries. In January 2005, the Serbian Government has adopted four action plans as a joint document. At the beginning of the 2000s, another document related to the Roma situation was created. It was the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), where a separate chapter was dedicated to Roma issues; settlement and housing issue was its integral part. The Government of Serbia approved this PRS in 2003. DSIER was again on the working table in 2007 and the result was the Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position in Republic of Serbia, which the Serbian Government adopted on 9 April 200935.
The Action plan for housing (2005) defined seven objectives, suitable measures to achieve these objectives, indicators, monitoring, sources of data, relations to similar topics, timing and budget. Objectives are a) Elaborate a national housing policy and upgrade the regulatory framework (laws and by-laws) in the housing field; b) Comprehensive and sustainable reconstruction and improvement of living conditions in the Roma settlements; c) Regulate the property and legal status of the housing facilities in Roma settlements; d) Improvement of situations calling for urgent action and relocation of slums; e) Meet the Kosovo Roma IDPs’ housing needs; f) Meet the Roma’s housing needs by resettling them in depopulated villages in Serbia; and g) Train Roma settlement inhabitants for action to participate in the activities of the local decision-making bodies and set up local self-government bodies on the territories where the Roma settlements number from 1,000 – 5,000 citizens of Roma nationality. Next we will present in detail only two AP objectives, giving in the process some numerical indicators. Actions foreseen under the second objective of the Action plan are related to the construction of the infrastructure network in Roma settlements – streets, water supply, sewage system, electricity grid up to the level available to the neighborhood community. This objective also envisages the repairing of the existing bad housing stock in the settlements up to the level of the minimum housing standards, as well as the inclusion of the inhabitants from settlements into the local network of social services. The idea was to upgrade 3 settlements by 2006, 40 settlements by 2010, and additional 80 by 2015. Approximately 4.000 housing units of the poorest inhabitants were to be repaired. To support the implementation of the third objective - regulation of legal status – AP envisaged 1) the development of relevant urban planning documents a) for all settlements that already have a regulated property and legal status and b) for the settlements for which the property and legal status is still to be regulated, and 2) the regulation of property and legal status of housing facilities a) in the settlements located on the land owned by one of the public institutions, and b) in the settlements located on privately-owned land. Also envisaged was the finalization in 2005 of plans for 5 settlements, as well as the completion by 2010 of some 60 plans for settlements that were situated on the land used by some public institutions (municipal land, land of public companies, etc) and of approximately 180 plans for settlements which had relatively clear land ownership situation. In the next five years (2010 – 2015) it was expected to develop plans for additional 60 Roma settlements.
Strategy for Improvement of Roma Situation in Republic of Serbia (Strategija za unapređenje položaja Roma u Republici Srbiji), http://www.humanrights.gov.yu/dokumenti/roma/strategija_april_09.pdf
3.4. Guidelines for Improvement and Legalization36 One of the most challenging issues of Roma life is certainly the problem of housing. According to studies carried out in Serbia since the beginning of the 1990s, it is evident that Roma living standard is lower than that of the majority of the population. Roma housing, communal infrastructure, other living conditions, and especially informal character of their settlement were and are below any acceptable standard. The concept of the Guidelines is to connect the process of settlement improvement with the process of settlement legalization into one holistic progressive procedure. The point of departure of the legalization concept is the collective right of a local Roma community to have an adequate and sustainable habitat. An instrument for the settlement legalization is an appropriately detailed urban plan, which envisages– in next step – a possibility to legalize particular houses, i.e. houses do not challenge the idea and technical solutions of urban plan. The improvement of Roma settlements also means raising levels of trust and tolerance, and the struggle against discrimination and ghettoization.
settlements and housing is a municipal duty; c) the legalization of all structures within the settlements is a key part of the improvement; d) the prevention of new illegal construction and improvement should be interlinked; e) the increase of tolerance and trust are one of the goals of the improvement, and f) the Roma should be included in the process of the improvement from the beginning. Descriptions of working steps for the improvement and legalization are given in a separate chapter. The process of legalization and improvement can be implemented through eight working steps presented herein: The first step is an initial complete analysis of the conditions and perspectives of these settlements. The second step is the adoption of a Decision by the municipality assembly that the Roma settlements should be legalized and improved. The third step is the solution of the land property relations on the basis of negotiations and agreements with owners/users of the land. The fourth step is the adoption of the Action Plan for the complete improvement and further overall development of a settlement. The fifth step is the adoption of a detailed urban plan that is an integral part of a Action Plan. The sixth step is the terrain delimitation of the public and private lend of the settlements, based on the urban plan. The seventh step is the adoption of decisions concerning the legality of individual houses. And, the eight step is the actual entry of the settlement into a standard, common progression of regimes of improvement and construction, as well as the implementation of other programs relevant to the overall development of the settlement. All Roma settlements could not be improved and legalized. Some of them, as very bad, unhygienic enclaves or slums should be resettled. 3.5. Institutions and NGOs
The Decade of Roma Inclusion Housing Workshop, Belgrade, Serbia, 27-28 November 2008; the first part of the Conclusions and Recommendations elaborated “Improvement and Legalization of Roma Settlements” (See: http://www.romadecade.org/index.php?content=361 )
General postulates for the improvement and legalization are given in the starting chapter of the Guidelines. It is stressed that: a) housing and settlements constitute basic human rights; b) the improvement of Roma
The Ministry for Capital Investment (2005 – 2008) and Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning (since 2008) were and are responsible for the implementation of the Action plan for housing37. The Ministry in cooperation with the Roma National Strategy Secretariat from the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights coordinated some preparatory activities for the improvement of Roma housing and settlements. The most important initiative was the launching of a preparation of detailed regulation plans in some municipalities in 2008/2009. The province of Vojvodina has the Office for Roma Inclusion, which is in charge for cooperation with the Provincial secretariats about all Roma issues, including housing. At the local level, various city and municipal departments, offices and public companies are in charge of Roma housing and the improvement of their settlements. In some cities the key institution is the City Housing Agencies (for example: Kraljevo) in some other, this is the Secretariat for Social Welfare (for example: Belgrade), or some other institution. The disposition of
See Ref: Koka, Lj, 2007, and se website: http://www.unhabitat.org.yu/pdfs/RomaSettlement/GuidelinesRomasettlements.pdf
Koka, Lj.(Ed.), 2007, pp.73
responsible institution depends on local social policy and position of Roma issue inside it. A group of municipalities recognize Roma programs as specific holistic issue, but some other includes parts of this holistic issue into sectoral programs of education, social housing, employment etc. A few NGOs implement programs, the intention of which is to improve living condition in some poor Roma communities. Some positive results achieved through those experiences inspired state- or local-level administrations to work on the issue of Roma housing and settlements. NGOs always work together with local Roma communities and local authorities since all construction work should be carried out according to law. Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization (EHO) from Novi Sad, Humanitarian Organization “ROM” from Obrenovac, Society for the Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade and Housing Center also from Belgrade are the best known, since these NGOs systematically work on these issues.
To be successful, any Roma settlement and housing project ought to meet the following preconditions: • Long term projects ought to be started immediately and they should be continuously implemented and upgraded; • Cooperation and active participation of all actors is a precondition for a successful project; • Financing should involve appropriate ministry, local authorities, Roma community, and the private sector; • Finances could come from budget (state and local), international funds, donors, and Roma themselves; • Steering committee composed of stakeholders should be established for each Roma settlement and/or housing project;
3.6. Principles for upgrading There are international-, national- and local-level documents that recommend principles for Roma settlements and housing inclusion and for upgrading projects. The Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position in the Republic of Serbia38 summarized most of them into ten principles, which are as follows: • The eradication of poverty is essential for sustainability of Roma settlements; • Roma settlements should be treated as other city’s parts; • An integral approach to housing issue include employment, education, and health-care programs; • Full Roma participation is needed in a process of housing improvement; • Coordinated contribution of all stakeholders is neccessery; • Ethnic and cultural Roma identity should be preserve during a improvement process; • The improvement process should be understood as an opportunity for Roma inclusion; • Housing programs should involve women and children needs; • Finances, responsibilities and rights should be sheared among main actors; • Financial transparency should be a vital element of project implementation;
A meeting of the multi-actors Forum organized by EHO at the Bangladeš Roma settlement at the agricultural fringe at the City of Novi Sad; The project started a few years ago as NGOs’ initiative with the intention to upgrade terrible living conditions. The Novi Sad authorities are actively involved today in improving many aspects. (Photo: EHO)
Chapter 2.4. of the Strategy, Recommendations for better practice started with main principles for a project implementation; pp 14
4. LOCAL-LEVEL EFFORTS AND SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES 4.1. Improvement of existing settlements This part of the report draws from the Roma Housing News (RHN), Nos. 31 and 3239, in which we summarized positive efforts on the local level in solving Roma housing and settlement issues during the period from 2005 to the end of 2008. RHN have reported on successes in 46 towns and municipalities, out of the total of 118 (without Kosovo) that have Roma settlements. Thus results reported here reflect efforts of 39% of the municipalities. They should be taken as an illustration of local efforts in the field of housing and settlements, and not as a cross section of Serbian successes incorporated in The Decade of Roma Inclusion.
Of the 46 towns and municipalities that we covered in Roma Housing News, 32 witnessed improvements of housing and settlement conditions. The remaining 14 municipalities related benefits of the improvements have been noted, such as the preparation, organization and similar works. Roma Housing News has reported on 4 types of activities directly connected to improvements of housing conditions. These are construction works on houses and apartments, construction of public structures, construction of infrastructure and construction of streets. These projects were various in kind. Sometimes the idea was to build something from scratch, sometimes it was about reconstruction and renewal, and sometimes investments in maintenance. The works have been sometimes undertaken by Roma themselves, sometimes by an NGO, and at other times by a construction company making use of municipality funds.
RHN is E-bulletin published by Society for Improvement of Local Roma Communities.
In the 32 municipalities covered by the Roma Housing News we showed a total of 43 achievements. Of the 32 municipalities, 19 (61%) have focused on infrastructure, mostly water pipes and sewerage. Works concerning apartments and houses, as well as works regarding public buildings, were noted in 14 municipalities each (45%). Works regarding organizing or constructing streets took place in 5 municipalities (16%). There was a very small number of projects that were based on the idea of connecting different programs – from the fields of housing, education, health protection, employment – into unified projects concerning individual locations, into projects that apart form the four main aspects of the Decade introduce three pervading topics – fighting poverty, raising the level of tolerance and enhancing gender equality. Integrated projects in Serbia are really a rarity. Of 43 news articles concerning the field of housing and settlements, only a few were about projects based on an integrated
approach. According to our knowledge, those are the projects that are under way in Bangladeš in Novi Sad and Opovo (both led by the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization (EHO)), the Grdicka kosa 2 project in Kraljevo (led by UN-HABITAT SIRP Program), the project of resettling Roma families from the Gazela settlement in Belgrade (lead by the Committee for Resettling of Unhygienic Settlements Under the Gazela Bridge of the City Administration of Belgrade), activities on arranging Roma settlements in Pirot (lead by the Pirot municipality and its Roma coordinator), as well as the activities on improving the Roma settlement in Apatin (lead by the Apatin municipality). Concerning local housing needs, the municipalities acquire funding in various ways – primarily through the budget and by applying for funding at a local or international fund. There is only a small number of other ways of improving settlements. Only a few acquire resources, such as voluntary work, local
voluntary taxes for improvements of Roma settlements, or direct financing coming from Roma themselves. Of 46 towns and municipalities, 15 (32%) had acquired the funds for improving Roma settlements and housing from their own budgets. The remaining 31 (67%) had secured the funds through participation in joint projects (together with OSCE Mission to Serbia, UNHABITAT SIRP Program, UNICEF, etc.), or through applying for domestic funds (NIP, Provincial Fund for Capital Investments in Vojvodina, etc). Improvements and legalization of Roma settlements are the most important instrument for upgrading living conditions. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Roma National Strategy Secretariat initiated in late 2007 the action for legalizing and improving Roma settlements. The public invitation has been issued for the municipalities to apply for funds to create urban plans, in accordance with the Guidelines for Legalization and Improvements of Informal Roma Settlements40. Thirteen municipal assemblies – the highest institution of local self governance – have reached decisions to legalize their Roma settlements. These municipalities are: Apatin, Bela Palanka, Negotin, Opovo, Kruševac, Prokuplje, Sokobanja, Veliko Gradište, Mladenovac, Knjaževac, Beočin, Bor and Srbobran. These decisions were the precondition for acquiring the finances for the creation of the mentioned urban documentation. The financing came from the Ministry of Infrastructure from the budget dedicated to the creation of urban plans for undeveloped municipalities. The Roma National Strategy Secretariat has taken an active role in selecting the municipalities that will receive the financial aid. Apart from the mentioned municipalities, four more have expressed an interest in the legalization and are in the process of reaching municipal decisions. These municipalities are Bačka Palanka, Bujanovac, Lajkovac and Topola. After preparatory activities, which took place almost through the entire 2008, the finances from Ministry’s budget were decided upon at the end of that year. So far, the work on urban plans started at eight of municipalities for ten settlements. A reader will found the descriptions of four successful cases in further text of the Report.
Guidelines have been signed by Ministry of infrastructure on 27 January 2007.
4.2. Legalization: Orlovsko naselje, Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital of Serbia with around 1.3 million people. According to the Review of Roma settlements41, Belgrade had some 125 Roma settlements in 2002, which varied in population size and settlement quality Orlovsko naselje42 (Orlovsko) is a Roma enclave dating from the first half of the 19th century on the fringe of the former suburban village of Mirijevo, which is today one of the largest Belgrade residential areas43. In the first half of the 20th century the enclave was a well-advanced rural community. Its decay started in the period of the Second World War when all male inhabitants were executed by the Germans. The second devastating blow coincided with the onset of the socialist era, when the farming land of the Orlovsko inhabitants was nationalized, just like all the land in Mirijevo. The next blow came with the first post-war master and detailed plans, in which there was no place for Orlovsko. All the plans generated in the period from 1950 to 1995 envisaged demolition of the settlement in order to create green areas, build communications, or construction of apartments. Above: A detailed urban plan according to which a boulevard was to be built on the Orlovsko enclave’s terrain. It is important to stress that the surroundings of Orlovsko was agricultural landscape and the plan for the new boulevard could use this land, not the land of Orlovsko. Below: The Belgrade city Assembly decided on 8 December 1994 to cancel this plan and to open a process for regeneration of Orlovsko (photo Savatić, below).
Mr Tanasije Mirijevski led the Commission for Orlovsko Renewal, which had regular meetings about all the vital challenges of further development.
Macura, V, (project leader) et all, 2002: Review of Roma settlements in Belgrade, Society for Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade 42 In references in English, which were published in paper and at websites, the name for Orlovsko naselje is Eagle’s Nest Gypsy Enclave. 43 This part of the Report was written according to SILRC documentation, which references could be found at: Macura, V., Cvejic, J., Ferencak, M., Petovar, K., 1997: Romska enklava Orlovsko naselje - koncepcija održive obnove i rezultati (Eagle’s Nest Gypsy Enclave - Concept of Sustainable Renewal and Results); Society for the Improvement Local Roma Communities, Belgrade .
a boulevard was to be built on the enclave territory. Unrelated to this, in 1992, a designer’s team elaborated an idea of sustainable renewal of Orlovsko44. It was natural that these two teams joined forces. The Orlovsko inhabitants and SILRC agreed to work jointly on the preparation of arguments for the settlement legalization. The Roma formed the Commission for Orlovsko Renewal, the role of which was to manage the process of formulating arguments for the legalization, make decisions in all work stages and ensure full participation of all the settlement inhabitants. The task of the SILRC team was to formulate a proposal for a new route of the impending planned boulevard and to develop alternative proposals for the settlement renewal. The underlying assumption for the Commission and SILRC was that legalization made sense only if the vicious circle of poverty was afterwards broken. Although the whole work was primarily focused on urbanistic aspect, it still took into consideration the employment, cultural, housing and educational programs from the very beginning.
An urban plan sketch for regeneration of the Orlovsko Roma enclave
Towards the end of the 1980s, Orlovsko had approximately 165 houses, around 750 inhabitants, 600 of whom were Roma. At the beginning of the 1990s, one of the local leaders of Orlovsko started the initiative for the settlement legalization and change of the urban plan according to which
The Belgrade city authorities accepted the underlying arguments and Orlovsko was legalized at the Belgrade city Assembly meeting on 8 Dec 1994. It was then that the decision on abolition of urban detailed plan for the boulevard was adopted and decision on the development of a new detailed plan of the Orlovsko settlement was issued45. Construction of infrastructure services and settlement development were the first measures, which were taken as urgently after the Assembly decision. A part of sewage system was recently built. Development of a new urban plan went parallel to the field actions. It was thanks to its legal development, and mainly introduction of water supply system, street asphalting, and similar actions, that at the beginning of 2000 this settlement became attractive for non-Roma families as well. With this, it ceased to exist as cigan-mala; it gradually lost characteristics of an enclave and turned into a settlement with mixed population of various socio-economic positions. The conclusions reached are as follows: • The legalization of Orlovsko is one of the first legalizations of Roma settlements carried out in Serbia. Its particularity lies in the fact that the initiative came from the very inhabitants of Orlovsko, which was afterwards accepted by the City’s Assembly. • The principles such as: decisions are made by the local community; community development programs must be carried out simultaneously with utility services programmes; legalization is a process where the majority must give up something for the benefit of Roma community, remain some of the permanent theoretical and methodological benefits resulting from the approach described here. 44
Macura, V., Mitrović, A., Cvejić, J., Mujbegović, Z., 1993: Sustainable Renewal of the Eagle's Nest Gypsy Enclave; Winning entry of the International architectural design competition A Call for Sustainable Community Solutions, American Institute of Architects - Washington, and International Union of Architects- Paris. 45 Mr Nebojša Čović, Major of Belgrade, role was crucial in the process of legalization and improvement in some few years.
4.3. Improvement: Grdicka kosa 2, Kraljevo
Kraljevo is a municipality with the population of 120,000. Sixty-two thousands inhabitants live in the City of Kraljevo. Grdička Kosa 2 (Grdica), with its 410 inhabitants is one of the four Roma settlements of the city46. The settlement emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, when Roma built first dozens of houses on their owned land. During the intensive industrialization of the city in the second half of last century, Grdica became relatively big informal settlement, however, without communal infrastructure and services. Roma continued to construct homes by spreading the settlement on the Railway land next to original core, which gave it the status of illegal settlement. But, after the tragic 1990s it becomes clear that it was not possible to pull down the settlement. At the same time Serbian Railways Company has not been interested in using the land that Roma occupied. The Grdica Roma settlement, which has been treated as illegal for a long time, was proclaimed as an individual residential area by the latest 2002 Kraljevo Master Plan. This was the basis for further regulation of this area.
City of Kraljevo became one of seven cities and municipalities included in UN HABITAT SIRP Program in 200547. The title of pilot project in Kraljevo was "Sustainable upgrading and inclusion of the Roma community living in the settlement Grdicka Kosa 2". Also, the challenge of Roma settlement in Kraljevo was prioritized in the Municipal Housing Strategy, adopted in early 2006, which has been developed in close cooperation with Kraljevo authorities and the Municipal Housing Agency.
The western part of Grdička Kosa 2 is a housing area comprising typical houses. (Photo: Municipal Housing Agency Kraljevo)
The upgrading and regularization of the settlement was planned through the preparation of an urban plan, improvement of infrastructure, and self-help construction based on active participation of the local community, professionals, and municipal technicians and officials48 . The red circle indicates the Grdička Kosa 2 Roma settlement in the City of Kraljevo. The map is from the Master plan of Kraljevo 2002 46
RHN, No 35, 7 11 2008
The SIRP (Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme) funded by the Italian Government was implemented by UN-HABITAT in collaboration with the Ministry of Capital Investments in 7 Municipalities in Serbia, namely Čačak, Pančevo, Stara Pazova, Valjevo, Kraljevo, Kragujevac and Niš. For further information on UN-HABITAT SIRP Programme, visit the web site: www.unhabitat.org.yu 48 RHN, No 13, 3.4.2007
A recently asphalted Main Street in Roma settlement (Photo: Vuksanović-Macura)
The principles on which the project was based were the full participation of the settlement population and their representatives, creation of a joint team for project implementation (comprising representatives of various municipality institutions), transparency, etc. The project formally ended in 2008 and its results were the following: a) the joint working team had been formed, consisting of the settlement representatives, as well, b) geodetic survey was completed, c) architectural and urbanism competition for improving the settlement was held, d) a draft programme of the detailed regulation plan was created, e) sewer system was completed, f) the streets were paved, g) the electricity network was upgraded and street light were placed, h) bathrooms and toilets or other facilities were added to 20 houses. UN-HABITAT has invested around € 130.000, and the Kraljevo municipality has contributed to the work through its public companies, primarily the Municipal Housing Agency. MHA won special SIRP award for “Commitment in the Sustainable Upgrading of the Roma Settlement – Grdicka Kosa 2”49 Most representative results from the Grdica project are described next. In cooperation with the Association of Architects of Serbia the Municipal Housing Agency announced architectural competition for improvement of Roma settlement Grdicka Kosa 2. This was the first time for Serbia to have a professional competition for improvement of a Roma settlement. The purpose of the competition was to provide innovative urban and architectural solutions which will contribute to the preparation of the Plan of Detailed Regulation for Grdicka Kosa 2. The intention of the competition was not to conduct „heavy reconstruction“, but to improve the existing conditions. Participants were expected to offer proposals that would, through a participatory process, after the completion, lead to a rational, sustainable and integrated solution; the one that meets the needs of the population of
A competition entry for improvement Grdička Kosa 2 (above) and the opening of the exhibition with competition entries (below) (Photo: Žerjav)
Grdicka Kosa 250. Based on the Decision of the President of the Municipality and according to the Law on Planning and Construction, the Directorate for planning and construction from Kraljevo has started preparation of the Programme for the Detailed Regulation Plan. Fallowing the results of the Competition, the Draft Programme was developed. The Draft Programme was presented before the Municipal Planning Committee, and Committee has asked Municipal Council and Municipal Assembly to verify the President decision. Consequently, the finalization of the urbanistic plan for the settlement was postponed.51
The Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme (SIRP), on its Closure Ceremony, held on 17 October 2008 at Palazzo Italia in Belgrade, presented seven awards to the most prominent local contributors to the overall success of the Programme.
RHN, No 17, 35 5 2007 RHN, No 15, 28 Apr 2008
water was completed. Additionally, reconstruction of the water network was done in Grdicka kosa 1, Roma settlement located in vicinity of Grdica. Importantly, the project has initiated a process and raise the awareness of local authorities about the housing problems faced by Roma and the needs for concrete and sustainable measures to solve them. During the summer of 2008, 20 premises were added to the existing houses of the poorest families in Grdica. The funds have been provided through the SIRP programme’s project for alternative housing solutions; they amounted to around € 1.300 per household. The funds were used to obtain construction materials and to pay for professional labour. This resulted in nine households being enlarged by one room, nine had been given bathrooms / toilets, and roof had been fixed on two houses. The selection of the households for this action was made by the settlement Roma committee54. In March 2008, three UN Agencies – UN-HABITAT, UNICEF and WHO have agreed to contribute to the further upgrading of the settlement primarily in the area of health care and inclusion of Roma children into the official school system. Thus, the project of upgrading of Grdica has been extended beyond the housing framework and become a wider integrated project.
Land surveying of Grdička Kosa 2 included houses, yards, and all other structures that are in use by families; the result was an official map of the settlement, which become a base for architectural and urbanistic competition and the preparation of the Programme for Plan of detailed regulation. (Photo: Municipal Housing Agency Kraljevo)
Upgrading of settlement infrastructure has started in the year 2006 when the Municipality of Kraljevo invested around € 45.000 for building a partial sewage system in the main Stadionska Street in Grdica. Based on a decision of the Directorate for planning and construction of Kraljevo, “the all parts in the Stadionska Street has been asphalted”52. During February and March 2008 the Municipal Housing Agency engaged the "Arhidesign" company to build a new additional sewer line in Grdica. This made it possible for some 50 Grdica houses to be connected to the sewage system Around 20 non-Roma houses from the vicinity of the settlement were connected to the system53. At the same time a reconstruction of the electricity network was carried out including new small power station and streetlight poles. During the fist half of the 2009 reconstruction of the existing water supply network, a replacement of outdated tracts and a construction of the missing part of the network, which provides sufficient capacity to supply the settlement with 52 53
According to Mr Miroljub Stolović, Head of Department for Social activities, RHN, No 15, 28 Apr 2008, RHN, No 30, 30 Feb 2008
Construction of new sewage lines that would connect Roma and non-Roma houses with the main sewage system of Kraljevo. (Photo: Vuksanović-Macura)
RHN, No 37, 19 Dec 2008
4.4. Small scale upgrading: Apatin The Apatin municipality is a home to around 33,000 people, and the town of Apatin to some 20,000. Apatin is proud of its multiethnic makeup and its multiculturalism and of the fact that it treats its Roma population the same way as the rest of its citizens55. There are two Roma settlements in the municipality – one in the village of Sonta, and another in the town of Apatin. The name of Apatin’s settlement that could be found in older town’s maps is simply “Cigansko naselje” (Roma settlement). The settlement was established probably five centuries ago, and was being slowly developed along with the town. According to a research from 1997, Roma settlement had at the time some 450 houses and 2.500 people56. The Roma settlement is located on the outskirts of the town, 4 km south-east of the Apatin town centre. It is separated from the rest of the town by an industrial zone and railroad tracks. The housing parts of the settlement are organized around several streets (Muzička, Mala, Velika, Kopernikova, Pionirska, Zvezdarska, Barska, etc). In the past, houses most often seen in the settlement had been “bajtas”, made from mud, reed and cornstalks. Today, most houses are modern, but most of them are in need of intervention from the municipality and the household’s members, as they are in a very bad shape. Self-building of a bathroom and a toilet as extension of an existing house in Grdička Kosa 2; Roma had for this work a building instructor and plumbing and electricity professionals. (Photo: Municipal Housing Agency Kraljevo)
Apatin has applied for and „received funds from the Office for Human and Minority Rights and the Ministry of Infrastructure for creation of projects and planning documentation for the Roma settlement”57. The General Plan of Apatin, where the settlement is located, will be used as the planning and legal framework for the new document – the Plan of Detailed Regulation. Apatin had always taken care of its Roma settlement. An article published in January 2008 states that “…the settlement is the best arranged one in Serbia …. Thanks to the efforts of the municipality, almost all of the streets in the settlement have the proper asphalt paving, a cultural centre has been built (with an employee whose salary is entirely paid by the municipality), kindergarten, dispensary, as well as a complex of small sports facilities (basketball, handball, volleyball and football), and there is a plan to construct a sewage system.”58 The Vojvodina Fund for Capital Investments has granted 260 million dinars (3 millions EUR) for 2008 - 2009 for the continuation of the 19 km long sewage system in Apatin, including the Roma settlement. With this work completed, the whole Apatin will be covered by the system. “The local self government is dedicating a lot of attention to this segment of municipal 55
Dr Živorad Smiljanić, mayor of Apatin: The interview with Belgrade weekly NIN, 17 Jan 2008 Aćimović, M., 1997: Roma in Apatin (Romi u Apatinu), in Lazić, V (Ed.): My Gipsy – Roma in Vojvodina (Cigane moj – Romi u Vojvodini), PČESA, Novi Sad - Kinida 57 According to Mr. Milan Lavrnić, the President of the Local Community Association 58 Official Apatin website http://www.soapatin.org.yu/vesti.php?mes=1&dan=127&vest=1 56
The process of building a new house on the same site where an old one was; this method could be seen in most cases not only in Apatin (All photos are from the Municipality of Apatin)
“Bajta” is a traditional type of one family house in North Vojvodina (left); a newly constructed house is very similar to the traditional ones.
development, and currently the biggest investments are in the area of communal infrastructure – reconstruction and construction of new road segments, bicycle lanes and sewage system.” The funds from local voluntary contributions were also used to construct the low-voltage electricity network in the settlement. Following an official decision by the local community association, six households have been granted access to the water sypply system59. Over the past few years, apart from the improvements in infrastructure and streets, the municipality has been supporting the improvements of housing conditions as well60. The activities carried out by the municipality of Apatin for improving the housing conditions in Roma settlement consisted of smart allocations of financial, material and human resources. The municipality provided the materials for reconstruction or construction of houses. Roma families gave five important elements for self-building: work force, their time, their skills, enthusiasm and willingness to live in a decent and healthy home. That is the result of Apatin’s approach. 59 60
“Dnevnik online” http://www.dnevnik.co.yu/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=35407 Roma Housing News, No. 14, 16 Apr 2007.
Throughout 2006 and 2007 the Apatin municipality has supported fixing, changing or building 17 houses, by issuing building permits, donating construction material and offering expert assistance. Each of these families has received approximately the same amount of materials for rough construction works. These materials were used for concrete works (gravel, cement and metal framework), for bricklaying (bricks, blocks and Ytong blocks) and for roof-cover construction. The families provided other materials and house elements – carpentry, electric installation, plumbing, sanitary installations and plastering.
4.5. A new mixed neighbourhood: Rasadnik – Niš The following is a description of a project in the City of Niš, which is in its developmental phase61. According to the 2002 census Niš had 250.000 inhabitants and was the second largest city in Serbia. According to census data there were around 5.700 Roma living in Niš, although their numbers were estimated between 25.000 and 30.000, including IDPs from Kosovo62.Most of the Niš Roma live in 7 settlements63, while approximately 11.000 of them live in three large settlements.
The houses for which the municipality had provided materials are simple ground-level houses with two-sided roofs. This kind of construction is very suitable for self-building: neither a great deal of previous knowledge, nor special skills are required. The work force is provided by the family itself. Moreover, in some cases friends, neighbours or relatives have been involved in the construction works. This work will most probably be compensated by the family, helping out when these people have some reconstruction works of their own.
The “Mramorska” Roma settlement and the Old Jewish cemetery; the southern part of the cemetery was excavated in 2004 and monuments are visible on upper photo. The northern part of the cemetery is occupied by Roma houses. The monuments were incorporated into foundations, walls, alleys etc. 61
Self-building was a main method of constructing or rebuilding houses in Apatin
We present here a résumé from the work carried out from the end of 2008 to the end of May 2009. The main reference is: Macura, V, 2009: RASADNIK, Urbanistic and Architectural Study for social housing zone “Rasadnik”, Jewish cemetery and Roma settlement in Mramorska street in Niš – Project “First steps in relocation process of Roma families from the Jewish cemetery in City of Niš”, City Housing Agency, Niš 62 Housing Strategy of the City of Niš, 2007, Niš City Assembly and City Housing Agency, Niš 63 Cekić, N. 2000: Urboarhitektura sedam romskih enklava u Nišu (Urbanism and Architecture of Seven Urban Gypsy Islands in the Town of Niš), in Cigani/ Romi u prošlosti i danas (Gypsies/ Roma in the Past and Today), Scientific conferences, Volume XCIII, Research Commission for Roma life and Customs, Book 3, Serbian Academy of Science and Art, Belgrade
This map displays the boundary of the Old Jewish cemetery; light red line indicate parcels that belongs to the cemetery: 6210/1, 6210/2 and 6215/3
The excavated part of the Old Jewish cemetery (upper photo); A “Mramorska” inhabitant shows one of cemetery’s monuments incorporated into an alley (lower photo)
The Mramorska Roma settlement is a community of around 140 homes with 170 families and 780 inhabitants64. The settlement originated after the Second World War, when the authorities permitted first families to construct their homes over a part of an old Jewish cemetery65, which was not in use since 1930s. At that tim,e Mramorska was unhygienic group of houses without any communal infrastructure. In the middle of the 1970s, the city prepared a programme for resettling people from the most unhygienic settlements, but lacked sufficient financial sources to implement the programme. During the next decades, other Roma families settled on the cemetery. The authorities neither prohibited this expansion nor authorized it.. Parcels of the Jewish cemetery have been completely occupied and new Roma families continued to build on surrounding parcels, which have been under the ownership of the city. The Jewish community of Niš launched an initiative for resettlement of Roma from the cemetery in 2003, but without any result. Working with international support, the Jewish community discovered shrines and grave-monuments in a part of cemetery in 2004, which has not been occupied by Roma. The Housing Strategy of the City of Niš66 was approved by the Niš City Assemble in 2007, in which resettlement of Roma from the Jewish cemetery was identified as one of priority actions. At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Serbia proclaimed the old Jewish cemetery a heritage monument. However, the City Housing Agency and the UN HABITAT SIRP Adendum initiated a new project, “First steps in relocation process of Roma families from the Jewish cemetery in City of Niš” in the second half of 2008. Contrary to the previous attempts, the “First steps” project involved for the first time all the relevant stakeholders from the city, its offices and public companies, the private sector, NGOs, and most importantly, Roma settlement representatives and delegates from Niš Roma community. The City Housing Agency was and is in charge of all operations under the project. Participatory planning and designing method was applied through “Concertation Table”, which held regular weekly meetings to elaborate each step of the project. A survey of the present situation, both in connection with the population and the housing stock67, was included among preparatory activities. The Niš Jewish community actively participated and offered to the project a lot of documentation, data and information. Meetings of “Concertation Table” brought together all relevant actors, including representatives of the city authorities, Roma and the Jewish community. (Photo top right: UN-HABITAT SIRP Adendum) 64
According to the census of 15 March 2009 carried out by the City Housing Agency. Ćirić, J, 2003: Jevrejsko groblje u Nišu (Jewish cemetery in Niš), http://www.makabijada.com/nestajanje.htm 66 Housing Strategy was prepared by City Housing Agency with the support of UN-HABITAT SIRP Program in period 2006 - 2007 67 Ankete o preseljavanju Roma sa prostora Jevrejskog groblja u Nišu u ulici Mramorska br 11, mart 2009 (Survey about Roma resettlement from the Jewish cemetery in Niš in Mramorska 11) Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, Niš Department, Niš, 65
One of the important steps in the work of the “Concertation Table” was an analysis of alternative approaches to addressing relations between the Jewish cemetery and the Roma settlement. The analysis of three alternatives resulted in a solution for the relocation to the new site named “Rasadnik”. When the agreement among stakeholders regarding the new location was reached, a concept pertaining to the future new community, type of housing, and the treatment of the Jewish cemetery was developed. “Rasadnik” is a larger area (about 19 hectares) than the area needed for resettlement (2,5 hectares). The entire “Rasadnik” site would be a new residential part of the city which would also include social housing. The housing area of “Rasadnik” is planned as a mix of ground-houses and flats in medium height multifamily buildings. Actually, the idea is to form a socially and ethnically mixed neighbourhood, not only a place for relocation purposes. Full communal infrastructure, a new streets’ network, parks that will be formed from the existing vegetation, an elementary school, sport and recreation facilities, a small neighbourhood centre would be main urban elements that make a normal living conditions for around 1.900 inhabitants, including resettled Roma. Particular attention in the design was given to the employment and self-employment issue, for which working premises and parcels were planned. “Rasadnik” could be a mix of housing and work places, leisure and recreation, vulnerable groups and middle class people, Roma and non-Roma families, elderly and younger, buildings and greenery etc. This concept has been accepted at ”Concertation Table” at end of May 2009 could be summarized in a following way. The design for the “Rasadnik” neighbourhood proposed the following for the area occupied by Roma: • The Roma families currently located on the Jewish cemetery would be resettled into adequate buildings, i.e. detached houses for no more than 4 families, smaller decent homes for one family, and flats in row houses; Approximately 55 families should be resettled68; • The Old Jewish cemetery would be transformed into a Memorial Complex, as stipulated by the Institute for Cultural and Historic Heritage ; • All substandard houses in Roma settlement (around 35) located outside the Jewish cemetery would be subsequently replaced with new adequate houses. Roma families could choose one of two main options: to stay at the current location, or move to the other side of the Rasadnik area69. • Mid-standard and standard houses would remain, and some of them would be improved according to family needs; • Complete infrastructure would be built for this part of “Rasadnik”,including the water supply system and sewage, electricity and telephone lines, 68
Roma declare in “Mramorska”, as in many other Roma communities in Serbia, that they prefer ground houses with a yard, not flat in multi-family housing buildings. 69 One third of the families said during the survey of15 March 2009 that they preferred to move out from Roma neighbors, actually to have new homes mixed with the majority population
Sketch for upgrading North and West part of “Mramorska” Roma settlement that is out of Jewish cemetery
Architectural and urbanistic solution for New Neighbourhood “Rasadnik” in which “Mramorska” Roma settlement (Blocks 7 and 8) would be a part of the neighbourhood; Families from the Jewish cemetery (Block 9) could choose where thy wont to live; 1/3 of the Mramorska population stated that they prefer to live in a non-Roma social ambience; New Neighbourhood “Rasadnik” would accommodate some 1.900 inhabitants in 440 flats in different housing types: detached houses, small one-family houses, and row house (Blocks 5 and 8), and multi-family 4-storey buildings (Block 4, and the Northern part of Block 7). Most importantly, a significant feature of “Rasadnik” would be social services (Blocks 1, 2, and 3) and working places (Block 6)areas.
and public gas network for domestic use. Open spaces, including a small park, streets and alleys would be paved70. The “Rasadnik” housing area would offer parcels for various housing models for Roma and non-Roma families. The following models were: • Housing under regular market conditions for families that could meet the expenses and stock- market values. These flats would be constructed in multi-family buildings or large detach houses. The detach houses could be realized in few construction phases; • Affordable housing for low-income families that do not belong to the vulnerable category. These flats would be in small one-family groundhouses, which could be building by professional builders, or through a self-help building process. These houses could be build in the course of a few construction phases; • Social housing for vulnerable families and persons. These flats would be constructed in multi-family buildings or row houses; • Compensation housing for Roma families that would be moved from the Jewish cemetery. These flats would be constructed in all building types multi-family buildings, large detached houses, small one-family groundhouses, and row houses - since they could offer variations for fair compensation. Employment and self-employment is one of the most important issues for sustainability of Roma housing. According to the Strategy for improvement Roma position housing and employment are connected issues. The City of Niš would engage other official departments, e.g. the Administration of Economics, the Sustainable Development and Environment Protection, the Administration of Children, the Social and Basic Health Protection, the Centre for social welfare etc., to prepare and implement this module of the project. The City Housing Agency of Niš remains the main actor for the housing issue.
A detail from the “Mramorska” settlement core, which was built on the Old Jewish cemetery in the second half of the 20th century (up- right photo). A part of “Mramorska” that was constructed on the land out of cemetery (right-hand photo); this part would be upgraded by introducing communal infrastructure, the reconstruction of the housing stock, the greening public spaces etc. 70
Lack of regular infrastructure is one of most difficult problems of “Mramorska” settlement today, and because of that Roma representatives insisted on full infrastructure in upgrading area.
5. Comments and conclusions
5.3. Failures and faults
5.1. Quality and quantity
It is the fact that the Roma housing issue in Serbia is not a part of lon- term efforts of official institutions. Expected indicators set by the Action Plan and the results achieved are dramatically different. According to AP, it was projected to have around 40 upgraded Roma settlements by 2010. To date, there are only a few fully upgraded settlements in Serbia. The Action Plan predicted finalization of 65 urban plans by 2010, but today we have only around 10 of them in a starting phase. AP suggested resettling some 15 slums, but till present no slums have been resettled. These differences between the AP targets and the reality were mentioned in the DecadeWatch report, and were attributed to fact that Serbia does not have an institutional system for implementation of the Roma housing issue72. The Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning has no sector or a working group that deals with Roma housing and settlements problems73. And, furthermore, there are no institutional mechanisms that could transfer responsibilities, knowledge, information, funds etc. from the state to the local, city and municipality levels. There was a lack of budget allocation for Roma housing and settlements in the previous years. The budget for Roma housing, which is allocated through the Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning, is around € 200.000 in 2009 and is entirely dedicated for the preparation of detailed regulation plans in some municipalities. For other purposes, there are no budget sources. The situation is very similar at the local level.
Most of the municipal projects concerning housing and settlements have been relatively small in scope. Here and there, one or two houses would be fixed, five to ten would be constructed, construction material would be distributed for ten to twenty houses, etc. Compared to the needs – the number of families that live in difficult conditions, or the number of families without housing, or the number of settlement unequipped with infrastructure – these numbers are very small. The most significant breakthroughs in numbers were achieved in Valjevo (with the reconstruction of 34 housing units in Djerdapska Street) and Apatin (with the construction of 17 houses). First and foremost, the quality of some project could be assessed by participation of Roma and their representatives in some housing and settlement projects. According to RHN71, only a very small number of projects concerning Roma housing and settlements did not consider active involvement of Roma. Of the 43 construction activities (that we covered by RHN), there was only one for which we are not sure if it included Roma representatives in solving the housing problem. It is our impression that there were very few cases in which people resorted to the false, post festum participation. 5.2. Success and good results In Serbia, there are two main types of projects which are successfully accomplished. The first group was introduced by pilot exercises / projects of international organizations (UN/HABITAT SIRP Program, OSCE Mission to Serbia, UNHCR, etc). The other type of projects came from municipalities that have a strong tradition of coexistence between the major population and Roma. Vojvodina and Southern Serbia, both of which enjoy harmonious ethnic relations are two regions where municipalities permanently work on improvements of their Roma settlements. 71
Roma Housing News, No 32, 1.August 2008
In conclusion we could summarize elements that are reasons for inappropriate development of the Roma housing issue in Serbia. The most significant are the absence of appropriate institutional mechanisms, the lack of adequate funding (on the state level), anti-Roma public’s feelings, and absence of political will (on the local level). Positive intentions of cities’ authorities could be undermined by anti-Roma demonstrations (Belgrade, 2002, 2005, 2008), or by the lack of finances (Niš, 1975, 2003), or by the lack of some other components needed for successful results. Some political forces try to move things ahead, but other happen to retard progress. The consequence could be a chaotic situation that may confuse actors and actions. This social ambience is not friendly for solving various sensitive Roma housing issues, as are upgrading, legalization, resettlement, new constructions etc. This is the main cause of scanty field results in some municipalities and the lack of any results in most of the others. On the other hand, the Roma minority is dejected and disappointed with such a situation, which negatively influences Roma motivation and authentic initiatives.
DecadeWatch, 2008: Roma Activists Assess the Progress of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2007 Update The Ministry of Capital Investments has set up Working group for the implementation of the Action Plan on improvement of Roma housing in 2006. This group finished its work after drafting Guidelines for improvement and legalization of informal Roma settlements in 2007. Koka, Lj.(Ed.), 2007, pp73
5.4. A general warning Here is what the DecadeWatch Report concluded about the Serbian action in housing, 2007: "The extents of the central government commitment to the Decade in Serbia remains unclear. There are a number of activities reflecting the Decade agenda, but, as pilot measures, they are often instigated and financed by external sources. … In order to make progress on the implementation of the Decade goals, Serbia needs to show greater central government involvement evident in the development of systemic policies and financed by budgetary resources. So far, there appears to have been little coordination on Decade implementation". … "Roma housing policy is problematic in Serbia, with most action initiated locally by a number of willing municipalities in the absence of an overall national policy. The government has allocated some funds for public works in Roma settlements, but no progress has been achieved in resolving the challenge of exclusion from public services of those without residential or citizenship registration. The government has merely approved operational guidelines for local selfgovernment for the legalization of Roma settlements". A DecadeWatch Report published a year later states as follows: “Activities for improving the living conditions of Roma (were) limited (by) financial resources and the lack of designated budget lines for such activities have resulted in sporadic rather than systematic actions in this area.”74
improvement Roma settlements. This would provide support to municipalities that started the preparation of urban plans for legalization of Roma settlements76. On the other hand, it can be said, that some negative factors are also present. A research on public opinion about discrimination and inequality in Serbia, completed at the beginning of 200977, discovered that some 11% of the general population would not like to have Roma as neighbors78. The most important question is: When a Roma settlement will became equal with other urban parts in Serbia; when it will be a settlement which, as many other urban areas, has prospects and will be like others, not more or less than that? The Minister for Human and Minority Rights appraised that inclusion of Roma into general society could take 10 years, or more - 20 years79. And finally, here are recommendations that come from an UNDP publication: “For the Roma population, provide meaningful political support to the implementation of the Decade of Roma Inclusion. Introduce criteria for the implementation and management of the National Strategy for Roma Integration and Empowerment, and for building relevant institutional infrastructure. Allocate adequate financial resources to the implementation of the envisaged action plans. Use the Decade of Roma Inclusion to initiate cross-border and bilateral cooperation to exchange best practices.”80
The reader could find in the Strategy for improvement of Roma position in Republic of Serbia the following assessment: “However, there are not jet realized comprehensive housing projects (urban plans, legalizations and constructions). Active involvement of state and municipal institutions is needed for each project oriented to solving (Roma) housing situation, but this precondition does not exist now.”75 5.5. What about the future? What will be a future of Roma housing and settlements in Serbia? Will further development be rapid in comparison with the general urban development, or could inaction and the lack of will cause delays and backwardness? The questions are serious, but we have no answers, because an appropriate analysis of trends has not been prepared yet. At this time, we have only some positive and negative indication. We note one positive development in recent times, where the OSCE - Mission to Serbia and the Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning made an arrangement regarding employment of an expert for legalization and 74 75
For more details see www.romadecade.org. Strategy for improvement of Roma position in Republic of Serbia, pp.13
VN SSA_01_2009 Roma Inclusion Expert Strategic Marketing Research, March 2009: Istraživanje javnog mnjena o diskriminaciji i nejednakosti u Srbiji (Research on public opinion about discrimination and inequality), Belgrade 78 Some other researches found out different figures: Vukajlović, 1986 – 62% non–Roma rejected to have Roma as neighbor; Kuzmanović, 1992 – 18%, Đurović, 2002 – 30%. 79 http://www.blic.rs/drustvo.php?id=97041 80 Minić, J., (Lead Author and Editor) 2008: Izveštaj o humanom razvoju u Srbiji 2008 - Regionalna saradnja (Human Development Report Serbia 2008 – Regional Cooperation), UNDP, Belgrade http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Serbia/Serbia_NHDR-2008-Src.pdf http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Serbia/Serbia_NHDR-2008-Eng.pdf 77
... but, where is the future? Where is?
6. References 1
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Law on planning and construction (Zakon o planiranju i izgradnji) Official Gazette, No . 47/2003 and 34/2006, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1W1SKPB_en&q=%22Zakon +o+planiranju+i+izgradnji+%28%E2%80%9CSlu%C5%BEbeni+glasnik+ RS%E2%80%9D%2C+br.+47%2F2003+i+34%2F2006%29.+%22+2006+ Srbija&btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=
Macura, V., 2007: The Sketch for Urbanistic and Architectural Solution for Resettlement Families from “Gazela” unhygienic settlement, Institute of Urbanism Belgrade, Belgrade
Law on expropriation (Zakon o eksproprijaciji) Official Gazette RS, No 53/1995, http://www.projuris.org/DOC/zakoni/gradjansko_pravo/nepokretnosti/05. Zakon_o_eksproprijaciji.pdf
Macura, V, (project leader) et all, 2002: Review of Roma settlements in Belgrade, Society for Improvement of Local Roma Communities, Belgrade
Macura, V, Đirić, M and Mitrović, Z., 2008: Culturally-responsive urban village, Belgrade, Serbia, http://www.holcimfoundation.org/T767/A08EUacA.htm Macura, V, 2009: RASADNIK, Urbanistic and Architectural Study for social housing zone “Rasadnik”, Jewish cemetery and Roma settlement in Mramorska street in Niš – Project “First steps in relocation process of Roma families from the Jewish cemetery in City of Niš”, City Housing Agency, Niš
Macura, V, Đirić, M and Mitrović, Ž., 2008: Culturally-responsive urban village, Belgrade, Serbia, http://www.holcimfoundation.org/T767/A08EUacA.htm Mitrović, A, 2000: The Characteristics of the Romany Population, FACTA UNIVERSITATIS Series: Philosophy and Sociology Vol. 2, No 8, 2001, pp. 479 - 490 The Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade Mitrović, A and Zajić, G., 1998: Social position of the Roma in Serbia, in Roma in Serbia, Centre for Anti-War Action and Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade) Romany history : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Romani_history Smiljanić, Ž, Mayor of Apatin 2008: The interview with Belgrade weekly NIN, 17 Jan 2008 Strategy for Improvement of Roma Position in the Republic of Serbia (Strategija za unapređenje položaja Roma u Republici Srbiji), http://www.humanrights.gov.yu/dokumenti/roma/strategija_april_09.pdf Vuksanović, Z and Macura, V, 2006: Stanovanje i naselja Roma u jugoistočnoj Evropi: Prikaz stanja i napretka u Srbiji (Roma housing and settlements in South-East Europe: Profile and Achievements in Serbia in a Comparative Framework), OSCE/ODIHR, Warsaw, Poland; Summary and Recommendations from the book are available from http://www.osce.org/publications/odihr/2006/12/22727_787_en.pdf World Bank and Open Society Institute, 2003: Roma in expanding Europe: The Clallange for the Future, Conference 30 Jun – 1 Jul 2003, Budapest
Društvo za unapređivanje romskih naselja Society for the Improvement of Local Roma Communities 22. Oktobra 7, 11080 Belgrade – Serbia Tel/Fax: + 381 11 319 69 89 e-mail: email@example.com
Society for the Improvement of Local Roma Communities is a nongovernmental organization which brings together experts, scientists, social activists and all people who have knowledge and desire to help in the development of Roma communities and improvement of their living conditions. These are people who have been working in recent years on different projects for the improvement of Roma communities; they established the Society in March 1997 in order to make their work more efficient.
Cooperation between the local Roma community and core society – local authorities - in the process of improvement and future maintenance of Roma settlements, increasing tolerance and good relations between the Roma communities and core society, and intensive development of local Roma communities in relation to the core community, are some of our aspirations. Improved inclusion of Roma in the core society, but without assimilation is one of Society’s overall goals. Donors to projects that were carried out by Society’s members and teams were and are, European Commission, UNICEF, NOVIB Netherland, Fund for an Open Society Serbia, Freedom House US, UNHCR, ICS Italy, World Bank, Balkan Trust for Democracy, Royal Norwegian Embassy, SIDA Sweden, THW Germany, CARITAS, SDC Switzerland, IOM, USAID US, and some Serbian cities and municipalities.
Mission of the Society is aiding in the development of Roma communities and improvement of living conditions thought employment + education + housing integral projects with ambition to become Roma equal with general community. Establishing professional connections between Roma, local authority, and experts is one of our regular methods. The Scope of Activities of the Society is the following: • Expert and technical assistance in developing socio-economics, education, ecology-environment, urbanism and architecture programs and projects for improvement Roma settlements through standard participatory process and active field research, • Aid in founding and promoting activities of local Roma organizations and clubs working for the improvement of Roma settlements, • Organizing of scientific and professional gatherings, symposia and educational workshops and vocational trainings for representatives of both Roma settlements and core society, • Increasing the level of knowledge of the Society’s own members, • Publication activity consisting of publication of the final project reports, research results, educational materials, Roma Housing News and Society bulletin etc, • Establishing connections with similar organizations, societies, and institutions at the national and international level
Celebration of the opening of the newly-built “Children’s home”, Society’s “Deponija” Upgrading Project, Belgrade, 2000 – 2003, supported by Council of Europe (Photo: Savatić)
Vladimir Macura, Int’l. Assoc. AIA, architect and urbanist, was born in Belgrade, where he was awarded a Ph.D. at the Faculty of Architecture. From the mid-1980s, he was a Professor of urban planning and design at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Forestry. Besides teaching, Macura also actively worked in the fields of city planning, urban design and architecture. He was director at the Institute of Urbanism Belgrade in 20002004. From the beginning of the 1990s, Macura focused on the issue of Roma housing and settlements. Together with a group of friends he founded in 1997 the NGO, Society for the Improvement of Local Roma Communities (SILRC), of which he is now Vice President. He worked at housing and settlements analyses, strategies, plans, and projects for Serbian local Roma communities at Belgrade, Pančevo, Kruševac, Pirot, Kosovska Mitrovica, Kraljevo and Niš. He was a consultant to Council of Europe, OSCE/ODIHR and UN-HABITAT SIRP and to the Ministry of Capital Investments, Serbia for preparation of Guidelines for Improvement and Legalization of informal Roma Settlements, 2007. His works include a large number of articles and books, including Roma housing and settlements in South-East Europe: Profile and Achievements in Serbia in a Comparative Framework written 2006 together with Zlata Vuksanović. He won Holcim Acknowledgement prize 2008 Europe for Culturally-responsive Urban Village - new Roma neighborhood for “Gazela” slum families. Macura is a member of the Serbian Town Planners Association (STPA), the Serbian Architect Society (SAS) and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). For his work he received numerous awards, including “Emilijan Josimović” STPA Honor Prize for professional work. Macura believes in five values: equality, solidarity, sustainability, affordability and adequacy. He thinks that an architect is a professional servant to a community.
Živojin Mitrović, head of the Belgrade Roma Coordination Centre, and Vladimir Macura during field research at “Gazela” Roma slum, Belgrade (Photo: Miroslav)
This report has been developed in the framework of the European Roma Mapping projectcofinanced by the Culture 2007 Program of EU
Published on Oct 13, 2009
This report has been developed in the framework of the European Roma Mapping projectcofinanced by the Culture 2007 Program of EU