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Leisure and the Productive City: or, How to Domesticate a Landscape

Part 2 Project 2023
Dunja Dedic
University of Belgrade | Serbia
Strange landscapes have overrun the oldest neighbourhood of Novi Sad – Almaš, once a beaming point of its genesis, now a rural enclave within a productive city. These (un)natural oddities hold still as stubborn frontiers, repelling eager developers and prohibiting any exploitation of the land. Any appropriation of these habitats must be a collective endeavour, and the final outcome of this process of collective inhabitation- a transition of the occupied territories into common good. This project is a guide – a grammar for the occupation of untended urban landscapes.

It advocates for an approach in building which is community-based, collectivised, and stands above, not on, the landscape it is constructed upon. It builds on a thesis exploring the genesis of the productive city, and the correlating shift of Novi Sad, Serbia, from a socialist urban paradigm to a for-profit city, leaving in its wake countless discarded plots.

By carefully studying the city’s history, a story of play and leisure is uncovered, one that shaped an entire urban narrative. In reinstating these choreographies of play atop these derelict landscapes, a culture of leisure is brought back as a form of communal resistance, defending its right to exist in the productive city.

Dunja Dedic


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