The redevelopment of military barracks between discourses of urban development and heritage protection: The case study of Niš, Serbia

Keywords: urban redevelopment, built heritage, HUL approach, military barracks, Niš


Areas of disused military barracks are commonly exploited as a land resource that is attractive for redevelopment, within the urban city area. Their commercial potential is high on the list of attractiveness, primarily based on the value of the site’s disposition, size, and capacity for redevelopment in terms of rebuilding. Contemporary architectural practice is often directed towards urban redevelopment projects in military areas whose position and other characteristics are valued by investors as crucial commercial benefits. These sites may be places of tangible cultural heritage based on recognized architectural heritage and social memory. The paper presents a comparative study of the redevelopment of two former military barracks in Niš - Bubanjski Heroji and Filip Kljajić. These sites share the same disposition within the city but diverge in terms of their size, historical importance, and discourse of redevelopment. The comparison is presented from four perspectives: planning, built heritage, public perception, and cultural meaning. By examining the transformation of the complexes, the paper aims to perform a critical review which compares the reality of urban transformations in Serbia with the theoretical background and current urban regeneration policies promoted worldwide. This paper exploits the HUL approach, an integrated approach to urban management promoted by UNESCO, by extracting and analyzing four principles: the historical layering of cultural and natural heritage and attributes, dynamic character of urban space, promotion of social diversity, and balanced relation between artificial and natural. The conclusions highlight the difference between the local practices of commercially- and heritage-led redevelopment in order to suggest some improvements for similar redevelopment projects in the future.


Araoz, G. (2008). World-Heritage Historic Urban Landscapes: Defining and Protecting Authenticity, APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 33-37.

Atkinson, G., Doick, K. J., Burningham, K., France, C. (2014). Brownfield regeneration to greenspace: Delivery of project objectives for social and environmental gain, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, No. 13, pp. 586-594.

Bakić, J. (2011). Razaranje Jugoslavije i njegovi tumači. Beograd: JP Službeni glasnik.

Bandarin, F. (2019). Reshaping Urban Conservation. In A. Pereira Roders, F. Bandarin (Eds.), Reshaping Urban Conservation – The Historic Urban Landscape Approach in Action, Springer, Vol. 25, No. 1/2, pp. 20-31.

Bullen, P. A. (2007). Adaptive reuse and sustainability of commercial buildings, Facilities, Vol. 25, No. 1/2, pp. 20-31.

Camerin, F., Camatti, N., Gastaldi, F. (2021). Military Barracks as Cultural Heritage in Italy: A Comparison between before-1900-and 1900-to-1950-Built Barracks, Sustainability, Vol. 13, No. 2, 782.

Council of Europe (2000). European Landscape Convention, Florence 20. 10. 2000. European Treaty Series, No. 176.

Doleželova, L., Hadlaa, M., Kadlecova, M., Martinat, S., Polednik, M. (2014). Redevelopment potential of brownfields: A-B-C classification and its practical application, Economics, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 34-44.

eKapija (2017). Novi univerzitetski kampus u Novom Sadu na mestu nekadašnje kasarne Dr Arčibald Rajs [online]. [Accessed: 12 Feb 2020].

Erkan, Y. (2018). The Way Forward with Historic Urban Landscape Approach Towards Sustainable Urban Development, Built Heritage, No. 2, pp. 82-89.

Gatti, M. P., Cacciaguerra, G. (2016). Military buildings: from being abandoned to reuse. In C. A. Brebbia and C. Clark (Eds.), Defense Sites II: Heritage and Future, Southampton: WIT Press, pp. 17-27.

Gawryluk, D. (2016). Historic 19th Century Barracks in the Space of Polish Cities, Procedia Engineering, No. 161, pp. 1615-1619.

Girard, L. F. (2013). Toward a Smart Sustainable Development of Port Cities/Areas: The Role of the “Historic Urban Landscape” Approach, Sustainability, Vol. 5, No. 10, pp. 4329-4348.

Glintić, M. (2015). Revitalization of military brownfields in Eastern and Central Europe, Strani pravni život, No. 1, pp. 123-136.

Gonçalves, J., Mateus, R., Silvestre, J. D., Roders, A. P. (2020). Going beyond Good Intentions for the Sustainable Conservation of Built Heritage: A Systematic Literature Review, Sustainability, Vol. 12, No. 22, 9649.

Guzman, P. C., Pereira Roders, A. R., Colenbrander, B. J. F. (2017). Measuring links between cultural heritage management and sustainable urban development: An overview of global monitoring tools, Cities, Vol. 60A, pp. 192-201.

González Martínez, P. (2017). Built Heritage Conservation and Contemporary Urban Development: The Contribution of Architectural Practice to the Challenges of Modernisation, Built Heritage, No. 1, pp. 14-25.

Hercik, J., Toušek, V., Šery, O. (2012). The conversion of military sites in the Czech Republic: Hodnonin and Uherske Hradišt, Territorio, No. 62, pp. 43-46.

Hercik, J., Šimaček, P., Szczyrba, Z., Smolova, I. (2014). Military brownfields in the Czech Republic and the potential for their revitalization focused on their residential function, Questions Geographical, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 127-138.

Hirt, S., (2013). Whatever happened to the (post)socialist city? Cities, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 29-38.

Jarczewski, W., Kurylo, M. (2010). Regeneration of post-military areas in Poland. Europa XXI, Vol. 21, pp. 117-133.

Jauhiainen, J. (2007). Conversion of military brownfields in Olulu. In D. U. Vestbro (Ed.), Rebuilding the city. Managing the built environment and remediation of brownfields, Baltic University Press, pp. 27-33.

Jevremović, Lj., Turnšek, B. A. J. (2011). Possibilities of Brownfield Sites as Land Resource for Sustainable Urban Development and Space Management, The 4th International Conference on Hazards and Modern Heritage - „The Importance of Place“, 13-16 June 2011, Sarajevo, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 416-428.

Jugpress (2020). Počela rekonstrukcija zgrade nekadašnje kasarne Filip Kljajić [online]. [Accessed: 17 Feb 2020].

Jocić, N. (2020). Culture-Led Urban Development vs. Capital-Led Colonization of Urban Space: Savamala—End of Story? Urban Science, Vol. 4, No. 3, 35.

Kadar, K. (2014). The rehabilitation of former Soviet military sites in Hungary, Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 437-456.

Klupsz, L. (2008). The spirit of the military heritage places, Proceedings 16th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Finding the spirit of place – between the tangible and the intangible’, 29 Sept – 4 Oct 2008, Quebec, Canada, pp. 1-10.

Kristianova, K., Gecova, K., Putrova, E. (2016). Old Industrial Sites – Conversion to Parks: Potential of Bratislava, Procedia Engineering, No. 161, pp. 1858-1862.

Krzović, I. (2011). Fortifications along the railways, Proceeding of 4th International Conference on Hazards and Modern Heritage The Importance of Place, Sarajevo, pp. 547-556.

Malek, M., Matev, C. V. (2014). The Economic, Social, and Environmental Benefits Derived From the Redevelopment of Brownfields, Management Science and Engineering, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1-5.

Manić, B., Bajić, T., Niković, A. (2015). Urbana obnova u kontekstu klimatskih promena, na primeru prenamene kompleksa kasarne u Beloj Crkvi, Arhitektura i urbanizam (in Serbian), No. 40, pp. 24-36.

Martini, V. (2012). The Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) as a new approach to the conservation of historic cities [online]. [Accessed: 17 Feb 2020].

Ministarstvo odbrane, Sektor za materijalne resurse, Master plan (2021). Lista prodaje nepokretnosti na raspolaganju u MO i VS (in Serbian) [online]. [Accessed: 17 Feb 2020].

Miljuš, M. (2018). Javna deliberacija u planiranju prenamene vojnih braunfild lokacija (in Serbian). (Doctoral dissertation, Univerzitet u Beogradu – Arhitektonski fakultet, Beograd, Srbija). [Accessed: 13 Oct 2020].

Ministarstvo pravde (2020). Najava: Vojna kasarna buduća zgrada pravosudnih organa u Nišu [online]. [Accessed: 20 Feb 2020].

Mirić, A., Kurtović-Folić, N. (2016). Conversion of military property, Engineers’ Barracks in Niš, Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Contemporary achievements in Civil Engineering, Subotica, pp. 747-753.

Morar, C., Dulca, M., Nagy, G. (2016). Brownfields regeneration, between sustainable urban development and cultural heritage. The former military sites in Oradea, Romania, Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis, Vol. VIII, No. 1, pp. 75-84.

NALED (2015). Revitalizacija braunfild lokacija u Srbiji: Analiza pravnog okvira, primeri najbolje prakse i preporuke za unapređenje. Beograd: NALED.

Oevermann, H., Mieg, H. (2015). Industrial heritage Sites in transformation: Clash of Discourses. London: Routledge.

Pavlović, J., Taranović, K. (2021). Prostorne implikacije savremenog koncepta kulturne održivosti na primeru industrijskog nasleđa, Zbornik radova XI naučno stručne konferencije Graditeljsko nasleđe i urbanizam (in Serbian). Beograd, pp. 106-117.

Pereira Roders, A. (2018). Urban heritage. In A. Orum (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of urban and regional studies. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1-3.

Perić, A., Miljuš, M. (2021). The regeneration of military brownfields in Serbia: Moving towards deliberative planning practice? Land Use Policy, Vol. 102.

Perović S., Kurtović-Folić N. (2012). Braunfild regeneracija-imperativ za održivi urbani razvoj. Građevinar, No. 5, pp. 373-383.

Ponoš, Z. (2007). Transformacija Vojske Srbije – izazovi i odgovori, Vojno delo (In Serbian), No. 3, pp. 9-30.

Registar objedinjenih procedura od 01.03.2015. godine (in Serbian) [online]. [Accessed: 5 Mar 2020].

Rodwell, D. (2018). The Historic Urban Landscape and the Geography of Urban Heritage. The Historic Environment: Policy and Practice, Vol. 9, Issue 3-4, pp. 180-206.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusions of innovation (5th ed.), New York: Free Press.

Sacco, P., Ferilli, G., Blessi, G. T. (2014). Understanding culture-led local development: A critique of alternative theoretical explanations, Urban Studies, Vol. 51, Issue 13, pp. 2806-2821.

Simonović, D., Ilić, D. (2013). Izazovi osporenih vrijednosti i značaja regeneracije napuštenih i nedovolјno iskorišćenih prostora u Republici Srpskoj, AGG+ (in Serbian), Vol. 1, No.1, pp. 54-69.

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 13/95). Generalni urbanistički plan Niša 1995-2010 (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 02/2002). Prve izmene i dopune Generalnog urbanističkog plana Niša 1995-2010 (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 51/07). Treće izmene i dopune Generalnog urbanističkog plana Niša 1995-2010 (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 43/2011). Generalni urbanistički plan Niša 2010-2025 (in Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 45/2011). Prostorni plan administrativnog područja Grada Niša 2021 (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 111/2012). Plan Generalne Regulacije područja GO Palilula I faza (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 90/2015). Prve izmene i dopune Plana Generalne Regulacije područja GO Palilula I faza (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 136/2016a). Prve izmene i dopune Generalnog urbanističkog plana Niša 2010-2025 (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 136/2016b). Treće izmene i dopune Plana Generalne Regulacije područja GO Palilula I faza (In Serbian).

Službeni list Grada Niša (br. 26/2018). Druge izmene i dopune Generalnog urbanističkog plana Niša 2010-2025 - parcijalne izmene (In Serbian).

Sonkoly, G. (2012). The meanings of historic urban landscape [online]. [Accessed: 25 Jan 2020].

Staničić. A. (2014). Military barracks in Serbia - Strategies and limitations for use and reuse, LE CASERME - Architettura, urbanita e riuso, Milano: Politecnico di Milano, pp. 23-28.

Sýkora, L., Bouzarovski, S. (2012). Multiple Transformations: Conceptualising the Post-communist Urban Transition, Urban Studies, Vol. 49, Issue 1, pp. 43-60.

Špirić, A. (2015). Prostorni kriteriji u urbanoj obnovi industrijskih braunfild lokacija, Građevinar, Vol. 67, No. 09, pp. 865-877.

Tadić, M. (2012). Šta sa viškom vojne imovine?. Beogradski centar za bezbednosnu politiku [online]. [Accessed: 8 Feb 2020].

Tang, Y. T., Nathanail, P. C. (2012). Sticks and Stones: The Impact of the Definitions of Brownfield in Policies on Socio-Economic Sustainability, Sustainability, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp. 840-862.

Turnšek, B. A., Stanojević, A., Jevremović, Lj. (2020). Developing a Model for Sustainable Conversion of Blockhouse Bunkers in Serbia, Tehnički vjesnik, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 1337-1344.

UNESCO (2011). Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape. The General Conference, 36th session Paris [online]. [Accessed: 23 Jan 2020].

Zagroba, M. (2015). Concept of revitalization of selected military facilities of Dragoons Barracks in Olsztyn, Civil and Environmental Engineering Reports, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 133-140.

Živković, M., Kurtović-Folić, N., Jovanović, G., Kondić, S., Mitković, M. (2016). Current strategies of urban and architectural conversion as a result of increased housing demands, Tehnički vjesnik, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 561-568.

Original Scientific Paper - Second Part