From international waters of DANUrB: Under the Danube river urban brand
By Ján Legény, Michal Brašeň
The DANUrB cultural network aims to strengthen the Danube regional cultural identity and to create a common brand by supporting transnational cultural ties between the urban centres along the Danube, and by exploring the unused or hidden cultural and social capital resources for a better economic and cultural return. The main goal of the project co-funded by the European Union (ERDF and IPA funds) is to create a comprehensive spatial-cultural network – a “European Cultural Promenade” connecting communities along the Danube. DANUrB helps to create a unified tourism brand, offering destinations, thematic routes and development possibilities that can increase the number of visitors and prolong their stay in the region. The project targets the local communities that are to be more connected to the Danube, to use their cultural resources more efficiently, and it aims to direct them towards a more sustainable development trajectory encompassing a lively chain of urban settlements along the river. Project partners – universities, regional municipalities, NGOs and professional market-based agencies – create a network and a common platform to work together with a wide range of cultural stakeholders. The resulting sustainable cultural and tourism strategy will prove that a common Danube Urban Brand can bring both social and economic benefits to the region.
There are three specific main objectives within the DANUrB project:
- DANUrB CULTURAL NETWORK for creating a pan-European cultural space, encouraging international dialogue and managing collaboration between research and cultural institutions, municipalities, private enterprises and civil society that will establish a strong basis for long-term sustainable development. The objective is the creation of a public space along the Danube river, in abstract and in physical terms, that is full of actual cultural activities, both during and after the project implementation.
- DANUrB STRATEGY for transnational spatial development program. A strategy for development of cultural, spatial and landscape-related heritage – resources along the Danube – that will support a program which takes into consideration the global and the local levels and is based on a thorough research of the local potential and conditions. Collaborating experts in spatial planning, cultural event planning and tourism management will define the spatial logic and cultural identity of the region to be perceived as the main European Cultural Promenade.
- DANUrB TOURS for new thematic routes in the Danube cultural promenade. The creation and actual implementation of new routes connecting cultural heritage and the way of life will be presented through specific topics such as common history, architecture, and socio-cultural processes. Unexplored region-specific heritage, for example the common communist past and local stories and the still observed cultural traditions and phenomena will be re-interpreted for a new valorisation. The collected tourism products will be marketed effectively together with the application of the latest tourist-media tools. Pocket Guide is an application used by one million users worldwide, with 150 destinations at present. The new tours created in the project will be integrated into this platform to ensure practical promotion of the prepared tourism products.
Practical results of the DANUrB project include:
- On-site spatial, cultural research and research of the traditions and the architectural historical heritage with the objective to create a knowledge base in the spatio-cultural context along the Danube.
- Pilot activities in selected towns at the Danube, connecting the local people to their traditions and cultural heritage via exhibitions, festivals and installations.
- Danube Cultural Promenade as a platform for the cultural network along the Danube.
- Thematic tours and the mobile application “Pocket Guide” used by many tourists all over the world which will also include the cultural heritage sites along the Danube.
- DANUrB Strategy as a common spatial-cultural action-plan for the valorisation of cultural heritage along the Danube, collecting various information and data sets for specific sites.
Stakeholders – part of urban planning
By Ľubica Vitková, Ján Urban
This paper focuses on the development of planning mechanisms, current practices and trends in relation to the social aspects of planning. Above all, we present the research and applied methodology aimed at involving the representatives of municipal authorities (self-government) and other entities in the planning and development strategy of the DANUrB project. An important part of the project is the formation of local communities based on sustainable development and tourism and on the cooperation with local stakeholders.
As part of the project research, we have set up a data collection methodology common to all stakeholders involved to gather a wide range of stakeholder-related information, including their requirements and expectations associated with the future development of the territory concerned. The data include information of their current or future active participation in transformation processes. This methodology has been applied to selected small and medium-sized towns along the Danube, which are in the centre of project focus. Our associate partner in the project is the town of Komárno, and therefore we conducted the research with stakeholders having a relation to this town and its surroundings.
Komárno is characterized by an active involvement of its inhabitants in public affairs, and an intensive social and cultural life. This is the ideal basis for involving citizens, civic associations as well as business people in strategies and projects for the transformation of the town, region, and working with similar players in other towns along the Danube.
Sustainable development of small and medium-sized towns along the Danube river: Application of the area demarcation and valorisation of its potential based on the Komárno case study
By Andrea Lacková, Katarína Smatanová
Small and medium sized towns are the most common type of urban settlement in Slovakia. Therefore, finding ways for their sustainable development is one of the most urgent topics in contemporary Slovak urban planning theory and practice. The main tool of contemporary Slovak urban planning – the land use plan – regulates the development of a town/city on a large scale, while often demarcating new development areas, expanding the suburbanisation and satisfying the requirements regarding transport and other related issues. Two such towns, – Komárno and Štúrovo, undergoing similar processes, are located on the river Danube and are directly involved in the research project INTERREG DANUrB.
With respect to these current trends in urban planning, as well as the needs of the research project DANUrB, we aimed to propose possible methods for addressing a part of the issue – the problem of rapid town expansion – by identifying areas within the town/city boundaries that have the potential to meet such transformation potential. In a selected study of the town of Komárno, we verified the method and tried to prepare a concept for the valorisation of the area. Komárno has various sections with high development potential: areas along the Danube and the Vah rivers, Elisabeth’s Island, the former ammunition factory complex, the area around the historical fortress, etc. Other areas where urban planning intervention is both possible and needed are unused sections along the railways tracks and panel block housing estates that need intensification.
Natural and cultural landscape of the Danube river: Reflections on the heritage in DANUrB research
By Katarína Kristiánová
The Danube area is a phenomenon embracing the values of natural beauty and those of cultural heritage, values both tangible and intangible, values of the present and of the past times. The DANUrB project focuses on identifying the values of the architectural cultural heritage and methods of valorisation of such heritage, and furthermore, on identifying and valorising the Danube landscape, which may add to the increase of tourism and building of the “Danube brand”.
One of the project goals is to provide such data about the landscape, its stories/history and values that is not visible at first glance or has almost disappeared, the data which has recently been accessible only to a limited number of experts with the general public and tourists mostly unaware of such gems. If people know about these natural and cultural heritage values it establishes the base for their protection and preservation for future generations.
The article explains terms such as the natural landscape and cultural landscape, bringing attention to the importance of protection and preservation methods of such landscapes using the example of the Danube delta and the Wachau Valley. Furthermore, it presents a part of the research phase 1 elaborating on the selected values of the Danube’s natural and cultural landscape in Slovakia.
The goal of valorisation strategies under the project is to apply a flexible, humane, and environmentally and socially responsible approach to the existing natural and cultural zones of the riverfront area. Making the values of the selected nature and cultural heritage available via a mobile application will be one of the valorisation methods in the DANUrB project’s final phase. The extensive use of the smartphones and mobile applications nowadays opens new opportunities to explore countryside, boost tourism and also help interpret nature and cultural heritage values. The Internet and mobile applications are the means of providing various information about the country and its related stories. This adds new dimensions to exploring the country in its actual physical reality. For the current research phase, the chosen elements of the green infrastructure of Slovak pilot towns – Komárno and Štúrovo – were selected to be included in the mobile tourist application.
Mapping and valorisation of cultural heritage: Case study Komárno/Komárom
By Martin Dubiny, Pavel Gregor, Kristína Kalašová
If we understand cultural heritage as a sum of works of art or artefacts which are the result of the work and effort of previous generations, then it encompasses not only the evidence of the historical memory of a territory that has been inhabited for thousands of years but it is also the potential for further development. The town of Komárno and its past are associated with the fortress, the port and the shipyard. The Hungarian-Slovak twin towns Komárno-Komárom were originally one town that was divided after the WWI. The older part of the town is located on the Slovak bank of the Danube river. First, the castle of Komárno was built in this part of the town and gradually it was transformed into a large fortress. This fortification system was part of one of the biggest and most modern fortresses in the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. Nowadays, the old shipyard, the port and the new shipyard are considered to be important industrial heritage of the town that encouraged the development of industry in the town and in the whole region. The objective of the international project DANUrB is to reveal unused or hidden cultural heritage and to spatially organize the resources in relation to the Danube. These resources are to be interconnected to establish viable cooperation and thematic products for tourism industry in accordance with the spatial cultural strategy.
Geographic information system as a mapping and presentation tool of the DANUrB project
By Viera Joklová, Nina Chochrunová
One of the important outputs of the European project DANUrB is a digital platform that is used for communication and sharing of information among 39 project partners and associated partners, and for communicating the results of the research externally, thus integrating the expert and laic public, municipal authorities and local communities in their cooperation in creating the so called Danube Cultural Promenade and maintaining it also after the end of the project financing. This ensures the sustainability of project activities. At present, the process of preparing a methodology for the collaborative research platform that involved 13 university and research institutions has been completed. Local communities, professional organizations, entrepreneurs, cultural institutions as well as tourism experts have been asked to work together to create an inter-regional strategy based on a thorough research into a sustainable spatial cultural heritage system along the Danube. The research platform is currently being transformed into a structured web application of the project, which will help to increase the sharing of information about the culture of the Danube region. A geodatabase – a geographic information system that provides geographic data on individual Danube regions, natural and social cultural systems, and enables spatial analysis over a specific time horizon as well as constant updating is an indispensable part of the web application. The paper covers the basic principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including the geospatial information rules and resources available in Slovakia and documents their application in the development of maps, databases and analytical documents in the DANUrB project. The actual research of the spatial potential of the natural and cultural heritage of the Slovak part of the Danube region is conducted in the Quantum GIS software by the project team of the FA STU in Bratislava composed of (without academic titles): Viera Joklová, Nina Chochrunová – Jančová, Kristína Kalašová, Martin Dubiny and Andrea Lacková, and with the support provided by the ongoing work on creating the database of cultural and natural heritage coordinated by Pavel Gregor, Katarína Kristiánová and Ján Urban. The currently developed GIS database thus constitutes a tool for collecting and organizing DANUrB project data and for developing a spatial system of the Danube Cultural Promenade that combines all layers of spatial, cultural and socio-economic aspects and will enable to determine the potential for development in the spatial context of the Danube Cultural Promenade.