Community revitalization of a public space, minimizing impacts from a bypass and more: Here are this spring’s Living Communities projects

Will residents of a housing estate in Frýdek-Místek find consensus to revitalize their open space? Will people in the small town of Ráječko perform a musical? Is it possible to energize a remote village that has no pub or playground? And can people from several towns join forces to reduce negative impacts from a highway bypass project?

Our answer is a resounding YES! We believe that the community leaders and groups supported in the first 2019 round of Living Communities can make their communities better places to live and strengthen neighborly ties.

Via Foundation awarded support to three initiatives improving neighborhoods and four small NGOs defending local public interests. They are shown on the map below with orange markers (the black markers show the locations of past Living Communities projects).

Frýdek-Místek, Ráječko, Olešnice-Levín, Kuřim, Kornice, Průhonice, Benešov region

How will these seven places improve through Via grants?

1 Residents of a housing estate in Frýdek-Místek will use their grant to plan the revitalization of the open space between their buildings. Their aim is to build a stronger sense of community among residents – meaning how people relate to each other, and how they relate to the place they call home. They also want to introduce the community planning process to the city leadership and share the results and recommended next steps. The residents believe that a positive experience with community planning will encourage the city leadership to use the results to improve their neighborhood and the process for future development of the city at large.

“Through this project we want to give people a chance to meet and think about their shared space together. We’ve never had that at our housing estate. We want people to think of the spaces between buildings as their own. We want people to help out as volunteers in the organization and implementation. We also want to give people a voice,” says Markéta Ubíková, the project initiator.

1 Residents of a housing estate in Frýdek-Místek will improve the open space between their buildings

2 A civic association from the small village of Levín u Olešnice near the town of Chlumec nad Cidlinou will engage the community in creating safe, fun community places. The village does not have any type of shared community space, not even a pub or a playground. The association members are planning on transforming a municipal orchard, two fruit tree alleés and a pine woods. Right now all of these sites are overgrown, unmaintained and seldom used. The association’s vision is to make them useful and pleasant places that serve the whole community and become valued and beloved by all.

2 Residents in Levín u Olešnice will transform open spaces for the community

3 In the village of Ráječko in South Moravia, a group of residents will practice and perform the musical “A Night at the Karlštejn Castle”. The intensive months of practice and the performance are envisioned as community-building activities that will sow the seeds for future engagement of the broader community.

3 Performances in Ráječko will bring the community together

4 A proposed highway bypass near Brno could have noise and fume impacts on the town of Kuřim, particularly in the Díly za Sv. Janem neighborhood. The association Contented Díly represents residents of this part of Kuřim in bypass route proceedings and is commissioning an alternative route study to serve as the basis for further negotiations.

4 The association Contented Díly (“Spokojene Díly”) represents residents of part of Kuřim in bypass route proceedings

5 The association Vibrant Kornice is working with transportation experts to propose changes to the planned route of the D35 highway in the Litomyšl region to minimize negative impacts. The group is collaborating with a specialized law firm and independent noise experts. In the association’s opinion, the government road authority has not done a good job of communicating with the public or engaging affected parties beyond the minimum extent mandated by law. Discussions with independent experts show that there are realistic alternatives to the proposed route.

5 Vibrant Kornice is looking for bypass route alternatives to minimize negative impacts

6 The association Landscape for Life is fighting to save a natural area and arable land near Průhonice in the Prague region. The association is currently most focused on the commercial center of South Čestlice, which is adjacent to the residential part of Průhonice and where proposed development would cover 40 hectares of arable land. Two species of specially protected animals live here and any encroachment into their habitat is legally permitted only when it protects the public interest. The association has filed several appeals and four lawsuits against the proposed development.

6 Landscape for Life is disputing a proposed commercial development that would encroach on protected habitat

7 If built, the Central Bohemian section of the D3 highway could have severe environmental impacts on many residents and the landscape of the Posázaví, Neveklov, Benešov and Česky Merán regions. A process to exempt the project from habitat protection regulations for specially protected animals is currently underway. The association An Alternative to the Central Bohemian D3 is commissioning expert biological studies for the route area. The studies will be used in the proceedings to minimize the environmental impacts and protect biological values in the area.

7 An Alternative to the Central Bohemian D3 holds community meetings in the towns along the proposed route