Slovenia is a rural nation in an urban world. Its population of 2 mio people lives in no less than 6.000 small towns and villages. Only two of those count more than 100’000 inhabitants. The entire functional urban region around Ljubljana, however, has about 1 mio inhabitants. The capital is Slovenia’s only “downtown”.
The relationship between Slovenia and its capital city has always been strained. Ljubljana emerged after the independence and deindustrialization with fewer problems than other, smaller towns. Still, it has to compete with them for investors or public funds. Often much smaller municipalities have better infrastructural amenities and transport links. But within the dispersed urban system of Slovenia, Ljubljana is the only place with enough critical mass and social dynamics to sustain urban development by its own means.
In the last ten years, the number of firms in Ljubljana doubled and the number of jobs grew from 145.000 to 255.000 without specific incentives. Today Ljubljana disposes one third of all jobs in Slovenia, while as much as 40% of this workforce commute into the capital from virtually all over Slovenia. Companies in the capital generate 37% of all revenue of the Slovenian economy. The question of how Ljubljana will develop is therefore one of the major issues of today and a key to the future of Slovenia.
The essay examines how Ljubljana can be developed considering the current economic, political and administrative context and describes the integrated planning process applied to the masterplan Smartinska Partnership, Slovenia’s first PPP, as one possible approach.
Schaefer, Markus and Celik, Matevz: “Capital City”. in: Oris-Magazine for Architecture and Culture, no 62, June 2010Download PDF