Waterfront Tectonics

Urban Redevelopment Analysis & Strategy

How might we encourage the continuous economic, social and spatial development of 200 hectars of desolate Waterfront in Belgrade?


1. Figure out the key influences on the Ada Huja Waterfront space. 2. Frame the "problem" based on these influences. 2. Suggest urban interventions as a solution

Project Type

Final Master Thesis


Summer 2013


-Experience Design,
Urban Planning


solo project

Ada Huja is currently a half desolate peninsula, covered in waste , unattended shrubbery, and the occasional industrial hall. The waterfront regeneration here has to be a process, not a plan.

A diamond in the rough

Ada Huja is on the mental margins of the city, but geographically very close to the city center, and well connected by public transport, the question of how the Danube waterfront will relate to the heart of Belgrade is a decisive one. Should Ada Huja be marketed as a completely new center, with very little reference to the inner-city core, or its extension, a recreational/commercial district on the water? Arguments can be made for both, but in order to ‘’brand’’ Ada Huja as a new community, a symbolic connection to a strong and well-loved urban heritage should be created.

PRINCIPLE 1: Think in 4D

Fast solutions won’t work here- there’s simply not enough infrastructure to merit a large, one-time investment. Not only would it be difficult to find investors, but the result would simply be unsustainable. It’s necessary to take TIME as a building factor, and leave ‘pockets’ and ‘skeletons’- areas and unfinished building frameworks that will slowly mature and fill over time as people move in and the area comes to life.

PRINCIPLE 2: Consider all 3 scales

Ada Huja is currently a half desolate peninsula, covered in waste, unattended shrubbery, and the occasional industrial hall. The waterfront regeneration has to weave dispersed parts of the city together, catalizing a new social hub.

PRINCIPLE 3: Create Incubators

There are incubators for small business, why not incubators for urban regeneration? These would serve a similar purpose to attract a vivacity that is currently missing in order for this area of great potential to grow. A place to live, work, relax by the riverside with complementary amenities to follow.

Macro Scale

The macroscale refers to placing the waterfront in a wider regional, national and international context and is often linked to different approaches to ‘marketing’ the waterfront and locating the developed area on the map. This approach tends to be framed within the political-economy perspective.

Mezo Scale

The meso-scale refers to how the place fits into the overall area of the waterfront development and, in particular, how it connects to the surrounding city.


The micro-scale refers to the sense of place at a human scale and the qualities of the physical, visual and social realm.

A New Methodology

The methodological approach I took to developing the harbour was a strategic approach, planning for city life instead of detialed buildings, focusing on handling the process of change, inspired by the method developed by Jan Gehl at the Centre for Public Space Research–Realdania Research and Gehl Architects.This method inverts the usual planning process by following the steps listed below:
a)Define what city life is wanted in the new harbour area, including a definition of what users need to be invited, in order to ensure that type of city life.
b)Define what public spaces, elements and functions will support the desired type of city life and attract future users.
c)Finally, and only as the last step, the buildings can be planned and designed, in multiple phases, creating the definition of space and supporting the planned city life and functions.

“This study shows a very clear lesson: if planners want a city area to be a living space, it is not enough to ensure that there are many people in the area and on the streets (e.g. through high density). The design of good and inviting public space is crucial.”

- Solvejg Beyer Reigstad