Community planning: Policy & Law: Slovakia

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  • For more than 40 years after the Second World War, Slovakia was under a socialist regime. People had no rights to raise their voices. There was no legal policy about community involvement. Policies allowing people to get involved were just formal. People were prosecuted for having different opinions from those allowed by the regime. There was no sense of community, or it was top secret, because any gathering was treated as suspicious. This was a huge deterrent to the formation of citizens groups caring about the environment and the issues of the community.

  • After the revolution in 1989, there were new possibilities for developing  democratic society. Many citizens created organizations for dealing with democratic, social, cultural and environmental issues. After a long period having no chance to change anything, people were keen to work actively for the community and environment.

  • Nowadays the legal options of public participation in decision-making are framed in national or even international legislation.

  • Recently the situation is changing as municipalities, architects and citizens are increasingly clear about the importance and many advantages of public participation.

  • Practice has been assisted by financial support from abroad – many different foundations, trusts and funds providing financial support for revitalization of public spaces with active involvement of the community in planning. For instance, EU grants, and Foundations in the USA, UK, Netherlands, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

  • There are many successful small public participation projects but few large projects. Few architects have practical experience of working with the community.

  • Note: Many of the websites linked to from these pages are in Slovak although some have sections in English.

International policy in Slovakia

National policy and law in community involvement

  • Zákon o územnom plánovaní a stavebnom poriadku č.50/1976 Zb. z. (Spatial planning Act and Building policy no. 50/1976) amended by the Act 237/2000 (so called “Building Act”) paragraph 34. – defines the concrete partakers of land use policy:  each citizen has the right to voice and set out his or her opinion. If someone is the partaker of the building and land-use policy, the chance that his or her suggestions will be heard out and incorporated increases. Anyone should be a partaker in a policy even if he or she is not an immediate neighbour of the building, but this proposed building will touch his interests.
    For further information click here

  • Zákon o posudzovaní vplyvov na životné prostredie (EIA) č.24/2006 Zb. z. (Act of the environmental impact assessment no. 24/2006).
    Defines the partakers of this process in Part 3 – Consideration of proposed action, Paragraph 24; Participation of the interested public (Tretia časť – Posudzovanie navrhovaných činností, § 24 Účasť zainteresovanej verejnosti).

    The interested public is the public who may have an interest in environmental decision-making processes. The public is especially:
    - Public initiative (para 25)
    - Non-governmental organization in support for environment protection (para 26)
    - Organization in support for environment protection established under special laws with a functioning more than 2 years (para 27)
    For further information click here

  • Zákon o petičnom práve č.85/1990 Zb. z. (Act about the petition right no. 85/1990) allows citizen to approach authorities of public administration (government authorities, parishes, authorities of the self – administration, inspectorships, bureau of governance, etc.) and push through their opinion by petition that is a right of each citizen arising from this act.

    The preliminary assessment of paragraph 1 cites that each citizen has the right by his own or in a group of citizens to turn with the public or another common interests to government authorities and to the authorities of self-administration with proposals, reclamations and demands.  
    For further information click here

    The preliminary assessment of paragraph 1 cites that each citizen has the right by his own or in a group of citizens to turn with the public or another common interest to government authorities and the authorities of self-administration with proposals, reclamations and demands.

  • Zákon o obecnom zriadení č.369/1990 Zb. z.(Act about village institution no 369/1990) This Act is offering more options on how to join the decision-making about public affairs – referendums, public gatherings, appearance at the council gathering.
    For further information click here

The most important initiatives and projects for improving the environment. In date order, most recent first:

2009 Zaostrené na námestie (Focused on square), Nitra
Group of citizens of Nitra and NGO kRaj in cooperation with the municipality of town Nitra voluntarily preparing architectural study of the central part of Nitra, based on the experiences, opinions and ideas of the locals. This study will be a contribution to the local plan of the city. Methods used include community planning events, polls and surveys.

For further information click here
PrieStory pre ľudí (Claiming the Public Spaces), Zvolen
Foundations Ekopolis and Slatinka, Technical University in Zvolen and the municipality of Zvolen are launching a project to demonstrate the sense and applicability of public participation and partnership, building on urban development projects and the concrete example of a large public area; Lanice Park in the city of Zvolen ("It can work" showcase).

Objective is to develop a comprehensive information set focused on positive as well as negative approaches in urban development and to present the relevance of public involvement in urban development matters.

For further information click here

2007 Revitalizácia vodného toku Dubová v km 4,32 – 5,27 (Revitalization of water stream Dubová in kms 4,32 – 5,27), Piešťany
Project was led by a landscape architect Eva Wernerová and architects Igor Bučenec and Peter Pospiech with the active involvement of the locals. This project won a prize for architecture CE.ZA.AR in 2008.

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2006 Centrum pre komunitné organizovanie CKO (The Centre for Community Organising), Banská Bystrica
CKO proposed the idea for a LHASA (Large Housing Areas) project operated in the CADSES Region (Central European, Adriatic, Danubian and South-Eastern European Space). A case study for Sásová, Banská Bystrica is made with active public participation, different public meetings and events, co-operating with the municipality.

For further information click here
2005 PrieStory (Spaces), Banská Bystrica
Programme launched by Foundation Ekopolis as a brand new concept in Slovakia. It is based on the US program - Project for Public Spaces that has been adjusted to Slovak conditions. Main goals are to revitalize neglected public spaces and transform them into vital meeting places with the involvement of people living in the neighbourhood, surrounding blocks of flats or streets in the planning of this reconstruction.

For further information click here
Centrum pre komunitné organizovanie CKO (The Centre for Community Organizing), Banská Bystrica
CKO splits, new NGO is created:
Centrum komunitného rozvoja (Centre for Community Development), Nitra

For further information click here
2003 Cezhraničný projekt obnovy rusovského parku so zapojením verejnosti (Cross-border project of park reconstruction in Rusovce with public participation), Rusovce
Renewal project in Rusovce – integration of the park to the international net of historical parks that are located in the border of Austria and Slovakia. Study of this park was created with the active involvement of the locals in cooperation with a landscape architect.

For further information click here
2000 Iniciatíva naše mesto (Initiative our town), Pezinok

Občania v akcii (Citizens in action) – Centrum komunitného organizovania (Centre for community organization), Nitra
Involvement in different projects, support of active citizen participation in the public decision making processes. It helps citizens to formulate and advocate their natural interests. It creates the space for the effective co-operation between citizens, government and business sector in the complete development of the communities.

For further information click here
1999 Bratislava nahlas! (Bratislava loud!), Bratislava
Association is a platform for discussion about Bratislava community, about the issues of its environment, municipality, criminality or drugs. Main goal is to build a citizen society, to raise the contact of the citizen with the municipality, to have better access to information, better understanding of the decision making on a local level, help increase public involvement and interest. This project is realized with the financial support of Nadácia pre podporu občianských aktivít (Foundation for citizen activities).

For further information click here
1998 EQ klub (EQ Club), Pezinok

1997 Vidiecka organizácia pre komunitné aktivity (Rural organization for community activities) Banská Bystrica
Started with implementation of rural development programmes in 1997, officially was registered one year later, in August 1998. Main goals of VOKA - activation the local potential and support of sustainable and democratic development of the communities through education, providing technical support presuming the conservation of cultural heritage.

For further information click here
Za zdravú Patrónku (For healthier Patrónka), Bratislava

Dealing with the environmental issues.
1996 PDCS (Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia), Bratislava

Started to work more actively in a programme area Public participation and European citizenship, in connection to a joint program with ETP Slovakia "Local Initiatives Support Program". PDCS then provides training of staff in community initiatives, a training series for community leaders and a number of consultation sessions for this specific group of non-profit organizations.

For further information click here
1991 Nadácia Ekopolis (Ekopolis Foundation), Banská Bystrica

Have been managing open grant programs focused on democracy and nature conservation. This is the first Slovak foundation that has started to build its own long-term assets (endowment) systematically and elaborated a policy on conflict of interest. The Foundation endeavours to become a stable and transparent financial source for active citizens as well as a reliable partner of municipalities, public administration, business partners and foreign donors. Nowadays it provides financial and non-financial support throughout Slovakia within 8 programs and 2 funds.

For further information click here

Community Foundations

Different non–profit and environmental organizations and links on web pages connected to public participation, environmental issues and planning:

Slovak environmental Non-governmental and non-profit organisation



The Center for Environmental Public Advocacy (CEPA)


Thanks: Compiled by Soňa Keresztesová, Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, while undertaking an Erasmus placement with, Spring 2010.

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Last updated on: 25 April 2010