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>> Small groups of dissatisfied people, however, are

stimulated by this negligence. Matúš Čupka started on a small scale, collecting garbage in public space with his family. After a mix of throwbacks and micro-successes, it became obvious that the Municipality would not support them and volunteers got demotivated. Due to the former socialist structures, collective voluntary work and civic engagement became unattractive. Citizens, as well as civil servants, are used to a rigid system where hierarchical structures would decide and determine direction. Still, Matúš continued and his activities grew into a movement called Zelená Hliadka (Green Patrol). Despite its success, Zelená Hliadka faces the limits of impact created by bottom-up activism. Matúš will now move towards a more strategical level - politics. He is representing a growing group of young professionals working in bottom-up initiatives in Bratislava, choosing for this shift.


Yet, shifting the whole system is a slow process. The current lack of leadership and infrastructure stimulates a brain drain towards the well-organised city of Vienna, just an hour away. The Austrian capital is young, lively, growing rapidly, and scores well on safety, social housing, and investment climate. The generally high quality of life in Vienna sets a base for themes as upscaling inclusive alternatives and implementing smart city elements into daily life. In contrast to Bratislava, where for example community gardening is struggling with acceptance on a basic level, Vienna experienced a boom of over 60 urban gardening projects in the past three years. One of the pioneers was the Karlsgarten in the city centre. Aiming at up-to-date relevance they set new mottos and research aspects for every season. Their collaboration with the agricultural and technical universities brought in smart beds, fine dust research in city grown vegetables, and the possibilities of a large-scale food supply within the city. >>

BOCKWERK VIENNA ‘Klar lungerns’ nur herum, die dürfen ja nicht arbeiten’, says Ute Bock about the problematic state of refugees in Austria. The 80 Ute Bock houses provide shelter for 400 refugees that were rejected during the asylum procedure without the means to return. Christian Penz, working at a Ute Bock house, created an additional value to their life structure: a wood-workshop called Bockwerk, offering work, and communal activity. The collaboration with architects and designers takes it to a level of meaningfulness and professionalism. The challenge how to create a legal format for their work remains. Yet, this project enables the employees to make steps out of their illegal state.

© Christian Penz


Profile for Pakhuis de Zwijger

New Amsterdam #10  

New Democracy | 10 years Pakhuis de Zwijger | Maakplaats 021 | FabCity Movement | Global Parliament of Mayors | Equal Access | Humans of Ams...

New Amsterdam #10  

New Democracy | 10 years Pakhuis de Zwijger | Maakplaats 021 | FabCity Movement | Global Parliament of Mayors | Equal Access | Humans of Ams...