Green Walks for Children in Block 45, New Belgrade

On Sunday, August 7, CEUS organized the first “green” walk for children aged 8 to 12, in Block 45 in New Belgrade, led by Milja Vuković. In order to encourage the youngest fellow citizens to get to know, love and respect nature in the city, we chose ordinary, well-known public green spaces, which many of the participants use every day, but we tried to talk about them in an unusual way.

We made a small map of nature in the city, and all the creatures we mentioned, and all the stories about them, come from the blocks of Novi Beograd. We talked about where hedgehogs sleep, where sparrows nest, and where bats hibernate during the winter… We thought about why earthworms are so important, which trees provide the best shade, why fragrant flower meadows are useful for us, which predators we know and how they help us, how gray crows protect their eggs from martens, what jackals eat, but also whether animals and plants are hot and thirsty… We learned what the maternity hospital for bugs looks like, how insects use it, and when we can expect cubs. We also mentioned fish, wasps, crabs, dandelions, lindens, sophoras, and many other creatures from our closest environment that we hadn’t noticed until then.

We learned what habitat can be: a meadow, a building, a coast, a single tree, a bush, a pile of leaves, or simply a planter on our terrace…

The children who walked and talked with us know a lot about different animals, but mostly not about those creatures from their immediate vicinity… They have more knowledge about exotic species, because of the children’s shows and cartoons they watch. It seems to us that they lack the opportunity to directly observe and get to know nature, but they also lack practical children’s educational content about the nature that surrounds them in the city…

This walk was implemented by CEUS through the project “Ecological Parameters for Healthier Cities”, within the program “Active citizens – a better society: through advocacy towards cooperation and democratic development of Serbia”, which is implemented by BOŠ with the support of the American people through the American Agency for International Development ( USAID).

Ecological Index

The ecological Index is a complex urban indicator, which combines various “green” parameters (e.g. the area of ​​greenery in direct contact with the ground, the number of planted trees, the area of ​​a green roof or a green wall) to significantly contribute to the ecological comfort of each new building, through e.g. more efficient rainwater management, encouraging biodiversity, purifying the air, contributing to thermal and acoustic insulation, but also improving physical and mental public health.

In the last 30 years, this kind of regulatory instrument has been increasingly applied in numerous cities in Europe and the world, and it was introduced in the planning documentation of Belgrade as an “ecological index” in 2019.

If it would be regulated by an additional legal act as a binding instrument, a significant improvement of ecological functions would be required for each new building, when issuing location conditions, construction and usage permits.

What are the simple parameters that can be used for calculation of the Ecological Index in Belgrade? How much flexibility does this index leave for architects and developers? Does this measure only involve complex and expensive technological solutions, in order to help investors keep building? Who determines the values ​​and importance of different “green” parameters? What are the experiences of other cities with this type of urban planning measure?

The answers to these and similar questions were investigated by CEUS with representatives of the public, private and civil sectors, within the support program for public advocacy “Investigate – Empower”, funded by the Government of the United Kingdom and implemented by the Trag Foundation.

Results of our research can be found in the following publication: