Block 63 in Novi Beograd (2013)

The research deals with common spaces, that were created during the socialist period in former Yugoslavia. The focus is on the concept of the ›Mesna Zajednica‹ (Local Community) that was developed in the course of Yugoslavia’s process of decentralisation and the introduction of workers’ self-management after 1948. The Local Community was the smallest administrative unit of the Yugoslav city and basic cell of self-government on an urban level. Novi Beograd (New Belgrade), a municipality of the Serbian capital Belgrade, serves as a case study to investigate this concept of Yugoslav common spaces on the neighbourhood level.
Based on the assumption that socialistic conceptions of common spaces continue to have an effect on life in the city, their development and symbolic dimensions are essential topics in this thesis. Different facets and scales of this concept are explored – its definition as a political space for citizen participation, space of ideological representation and realm where ›community‹ was still believed to be possible within the modern city. The theory of the Yugoslav common spaces is put in perspective, when looking at the culture of the everyday life that unfolded in these spaces. The discrepancy between the state’s ideological conception and the spaces as they are perceived and enlivened by its inhabitants today is explored.