“Openly about Public Spaces” was launched in early 2009 and it encompasses the following segments:
1. Collecting and systematizing information of public interest related to available public spaces within municipal jurisdiction
On May 21 160 municipalities in Serbia were required to send the list of available public spaces existing on their territory, and also an explanation of jurisdiction and procedures related to their use by citizens’ associations and youth groups. Currently, openly about public space is systematizing and processing obtained information and responses, to make them readable, clear and available to everyone.
2. Contacting municipal governments for developing procedures that should be followed for acquiring available spaces for activities and programmes of citizens groups and youth groups in particular
A lot of effort was put into creating and establishing procedures for allocating available spaces within municipal jurisdiction to interested citizens’ associations, but also to unregistered youth groups on an equal basis.
3. Promoting possibilities of using spaces within municipal jurisdiction, particularly among youth groups
Available spaces are not used because there is no available information about them, because covert administration, but also because citizens usually do not seek spaces for their activities and for satisfying their needs. In the period to come, openly about public space will continue organizing public discussions concerning this issue and working on exciting the work on creating a wider platform, with the aim of gaining and/or taking over specific public spaces in Serbia. In next period an online map will be promoted for mapping unused spaces in Serbia.
openly about public space vision is a society of equal and active citizens who decide about their lives in a democratic, civil state of law with full respect of human rights.
The mission is to strengthen civil society through education, promotion of democracy and support of active citizenship. Underlying values are equality and equal opportunities, sharing with others, commitment, tolerance, solidarity, caring about people, setting up relationships and partnerships with people rather than imposing ourselves, and permanent education for all. People are the organization’s main value and resource.
Civic Initiatives, Citizens’ Association for Democracy and Civic Education has been founded in May 1996 by a group of prominent NGO activists that were involved in the anti-war movement and non-nationalist democratic opposition since 1990. Civic Initiatives’ founders analyzed and evaluated the relative failure of democratic movements against Milosevic regime. A great need was recognized to create social, civil base that could sustain democratic changes by educating citizens about their rights, democracy, civil society and how to be active citizens in order to decide about own lives.
CI strategy is that only by breaking down regional, national, ethnic, religious, gender and social barriers it is possible to build a stronger, more effective, and potentially more sustainable NGO community and thus to contribute to the development of the society in general. openly about public space tries to overcome fear and isolation inherited from the past and increased by the Milosevic regime, by putting in contact people who otherwise wouldn’t meet each other and this encourages cooperation, joint activities, exchange ideas, learning from each other.
That is why CI focuses its activities on non-Belgrade NGOs, reaching out to smaller cities and rural localities throughout Serbia and Montenegro, but not to exclusion, believing that it is important to connect local groups with those in the capital. We decided not to open branch offices of CI, but to base our work on cooperation with strong and independent local partners.
openly about public space is very interested in cooperation with others NGO’s across Europe on issues concerning public spaces.