Today we have a post from another student doing work internationally. Milan is in Croatia this summer working for the city of Zagreb.
I work at the municipal planning office in Zagreb. The department is officially titled the “gradski ured za prostorno uređenje, izgradnju grada, graditeljstvo, komunalne poslove i promet”, which in English translates to: the City Office of Spatial Planning, City Development, Construction, Public Works, and Transportation. Because the name is so long and challenging to remember, staff have taken to calling it the Mega-Ured, or the Mega-Department. We work in a building which also houses the department of strategic planning (responsible for more macroscopic planning), and the department of Spatial Analysis (i.e. the GIS squad).
My duties fit the bill of your classic city planner. The principal work of the office involves managing the GUP, DPUs, and UPUs. These are the three key municipal documents that govern planning and development. The GUP is the General Urbanistic Pan, the DPUs are the body of Detailed Plans for Urbanization and Renewal (these are designated special planning zones), and the UPUs are the Urbanistic Plans (finer grained than the GUP, but not as detailed as the DPU). In maintaining these documents we prepare public consultations, meet with council to define the city’s objectives and how the plan would reflect them, receive private applicants requesting permits (which are not issued by us, but then again, we are the Mega-Department so I can see why people assume we issue them) and changes to the master plan.
I have mostly been preoccupied with developing a revitalization plan for a derelict site near the main train station in downtown Zagreb. This involves doing a full socio-economic analysis of the site, a wider socio-demographic analysis of the city, and an economic outlook. I have been researching precedents from around the world to inform the recommendations that I am making and have been suggesting amendments to bylaws and other municipal regulations that would be needed in order to see my plans go through. When the city identifies a site for renewal, they designate it a special municipal project and prepare a preliminary analysis report (what I am doing). This report is then taken and developed further (usually by a professional consulting or architectural firm) to define all the details. This finally results in the creation of a DPU for the site.