The New Ideas for Old Buildings project  focuses on improving public property management to help municipalities increase real-estate occupancy through public participation.

The project is co-founded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and comprises of 7 small and medium-sized towns from 6 countries from the Baltics to the Balkans (Latvia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro) that are facing economic and social decline. They are motivated to find solutions for revitalizing their towns and enhancing the quality of life.

The project aims to increase public involvement in the decision-making of public property management and sustainable urban development. Furthermore, it identifies concrete solutions for better utilizing property, and develops a long-term platform for public property management in small and medium-sized European towns.

In Maribor, we are faced with empty industrial spaces of the outskirts, and empty commercial and resedential spaces in the elite streets of the city center. Under the project entitled New Ideas for Old Buildings, we explored the potencial of our city and even we were very suprised.

Maribor is a real home to a few new and exciting ideas for buildings that were left alone. We want to share with you some »oldies« in Maribor that are already become »goldies«.

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Pekarna Management model

How Pekarna users cooperate with Municipality of Maribor


Maribor is second largest town in Slovenija with 150.000 residents. It is a university town and an economical, financial, administrative, cultural, educational and touristic centre of North-eastern Slovenija.

For a long time Maribor was one of the most industrially developed towns in Yugoslavia. Because the development was one-sided, based only on industry, when Yugoslavia broke apart and Maribor lost most of its markets, the town fell to crisis. Through the nineties, Maribor struggled with collapse of big factories, so the unemployment and emigration was high. But time, ambitious visions, wishes and strong will brought life back to the city with new ways of development. In 2012 Maribor was the European capital of culture and in 2013 it was European capital of youth.



A significantly different approach is what brought together the urban culture community that has been building in Pekarna since 90s.

KC Pekarna (The Bakery) is a fascinating building that is part of a larger complex that today represents the urban cultural scene of youth culture and different non-governmental organisations.

Throughout history, this building was mainly used for military purposes, as a bakery (hence the name »Pekarna«) and as a stable for two armies, both the Austro-Hungarian Emperor's royal army and later by the Yugoslav People's Army. After Slovenian gained its independence in 1991 and the Yugoslav Peoples's Army left, the complex was abandoned, so civil initiatives seized this opportunity and started taking over the empty abandoned spaces, using them for their own purpose.

Most buildings in Pekarna are poor shape and in need of refurbishment. The only one that has been recently renovated is the building of the Pekarna Hostel, where the Youth Cultural Centre of Maribor and the management of the complex have their space.

The progress was started by the Municipality of Maribor. The renovation of the Pekarna Hostel building was co-financed with EU founds.



The Youth Cultural Centre Maribor (Mladinski kulturni center Maribor) is a public institute, founded in 1993 by the Municipality of Maribor. It organises cultural and youth programmes, performed by the young, an programs, intended for the young. Through it's program activity it enables artistic and creative work of the young in various fields, secures advice, mentor help and informal education as well as technical and infrastructural service help. The institute programs are structured in the form of regular program activities and both permanent and temporary projects. Among the regular program activities are the festival of literature Slovenian Book Days in Maribor (Slovenski dnevi knjige v Mariboru), international festival Performa, international festival of computer art MFRU, cycle of literary events MKC Črka and conteporary fine art activities, taking place within the framework of the Media Nox gallery as well as the programs of the multimedia centre Cultural Incubator.

Among the permanent projects that must be mentioned are the informative and counselling activities for the young, cycles of creative activities during the holidays and cycles of informal education.



In Maribor we are faced with empty industrial spaces on the outskirts and empty commercial and residential spaces in elite streets in the city center. In project New Ideas for Old Buildings, we explore the potential of empty industrial buildings and the new contents in the spaces in the heart of the city center. At the final conference, we will focus on the outcomes of the overall project and the guidelines on how to effectively manage public property.

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Presentations of partners’ good practices
How towns use empty spaces as means of revitalisation

Presentation: Common guidelines on how to better utilize public property
Marko Peterlin and Mitja Černko

Workshop: Common guidelines on how to better utilize public property
Mitja Černko


After concluding the project »New Ideas for Old Buildings«, we can now say that Maribor has examples of how new ideas and great engagement from different stakeholders – private investors, NGOs, civil initiatives, the public sector – can transform old buildings into innovative and creative environments. We also realized that there is a common problem facing city centres of many European cities. With the advent of shopping malls and commercial zones, most shops are moving away from the city centres and into areas on the edge of cities where, in combination with other shops, they create they create huge shopping areas. However, this means that city centres suffer. It creates an abundance of buildings that are left behind and abandoned. Buildings that used to be architectural wonders now completely empty and left to the mercy of time.

But, theres a hope. As it turns out, this can also create an environment where new and sometimes unconventional ideas thrive, mostly due to a strong wish of citizens to socialize, grow and develop. Therefore, the Municipality of Maribor will continue to follow one of the main aims of the project – to increase the involvement of citizens in the decision-making of sustainable urban development and public property management, even the project »New Ideas for Old Buildings« ends.