Towns in bloom: Living Communities projects preserving vegetation and revitalizing parks

Before long, spring will turn into summer and we’ll be thankful to find shade under mature trees. Even now, some of our grantees are enhancing their communities with plantings. Preservation of urban vegetation and revitalization of parks as community places are two key themes in the new Living Communities projects, recently supported through the generosity of our donors. 

The town of Třebechovice will bloom

The community association “Key to Creativity” in the town of Třebechovice pod Orebem is planting spring flowers and bulbs along roads to beautify the streetscape. Schoolchildren will join adults in the planting and the spring bloom in years to come will remind them of their joint efforts.

Groups in Lenešice a Brod will revitalize rundown parks 

In the towns of Lenešice and Brod, groups will lead park revitalization projects. They will invite residents to help plant and improve the sites with the hope that engagement will strengthen people’s ties to the specific places – and subsequently help keep vandalism to a minimum. In Lenešice, the park surrounding the Hus Belltower will be revitalized. In Brod, a neglected neighborhood park will be restored, allees of fruit trees will be planted in the landscape and old paths will be renovated. The project team there hopes to bring long-time residents and newcomers together through the project.

Saving a park in Brno and saving an allee in České Velenice 

In the Fast Grants section of Living Communities, we supported two groups fighting to save open space. In České Velenice the town leadership is planning to renew an extensive allee of one-hundred-year old linden trees as part of a new urban design master plan. In this case ‘renewal’ translates into liquidation of about 340 mature trees. Local residents asked arborists, entmologists, urban landscape experts, hydrologists and others for their professional opinions. They received a clear reply: eliminating an important landscape feature like an extensive allee should be very carefully considered, and in this case such a drastic move is unwarranted. But the town is set in its decision, even though the trees’ health has not been professionally assessed. With Fast Grant funding, local residents will commission an expert opinion that should inform the discussion.

Meanwhile, in a quiet part of Brno-Královo Pole, an open space is at risk of metamorphizing into a parking lot and parking garage. Many residents in the neighborhood are against the proposal. Recognizing the value of vegetation, particularly in this era of climatic changes and steady elimination of urban open space, they want to keep their neighborhood open space. The Královo Pole civic association is spearheading an awareness-raising campaign and striving to convince the city to move the parking plan to a more suitable location. If successful, they plan on inviting residents to help transform the site into an urban forest park.

Other Fast Grant projects supported this year are confronting issues such as noise and emissions from traffic in a residential section of Prague, the proposed construction of a professional soccer stadium in the center of Pardubice, proposed large-scale development in a neighborhood zoned for village-type development, saving a historical candy factory from demolition and enabling citizen engagement in the commenting process on the proposed Brno land use plan during the current pandemic.