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10 Courtyard Garden Designs Ideas

The Municipal Council perceived the provision of plots for self-built family housing as one element of a two-pronged approach. The other element was the strengthening of the prosecution of rogue builders. These two approaches may seem to be contradictory, or they may alternatively be thought of as two sides of the same coin—the so-called carrot and stick. Either way, they displayed an evident ambivalence toward the rogue builders, who were conceived of as unstable subjects—alternately seen as victims of circumstance and resourceful problem solvers, on the one hand, and as undisciplined law breakers, on the other.46

In any event, the city’s coercive apparatus was pitifully inadequate to the task. The districts employed inspectors, whose job it was to detect cases of rogue construction and to open cases against these builders. In cases where the land was not already reserved for another use, they needed to establish whether or not it would be possible for the builder to conform to building regulations and standards. If so, the inspectors issued a warning requiring the builder to meet the necessary conditions within a given period of time. Otherwise, a decision was issued requiring the demolition of the building as quickly as possible.47

Unfortunately, inspectors appeared to be losing the battle against rogue builders. For one thing, there were only twenty inspectors, with a huge territory to cover. Once they opened a case, it took several days to complete the necessary procedures, by which time the given builder had moved in to his semifinished house. Several delegates thus argued in favor of strengthening the district administrations. According to Pesic, state organs at the republican and municipal levels were also hindering their efforts to fight this problem. He cited a case where the supreme court of Serbia had upheld the appeal of a rogue builder against a ruling by a lower court, by wrongly applying a precedent that was only intended for legal construction. Clearly a more consistent line was needed.48

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In the final analysis, however, delegates agreed that the root cause of rogue construction was the persistence of the housing shortage. Co-opting rogue builders was the only durable solution. Thus, the major part of the resolutions adopted by the Municipal Council at the end of this session dealt specifically with planning new areas for building family houses. The Town Planning In-stitute was ordered to prepare a proposal by 1 January for minimal building standards for land that was already approved for the construction of “mod-est housing” and to consider how these zones might be enlarged. No mention was made of expanding such housing into the city limits, which indicated that Bordevic and his allies in the council had won their case. Additionally, the Secretariat for Communal Works and Construction was told to collaborate with the district administrations in seeking ways to simplify the procedure for obtaining building permits for modest housing and strategies for financ-ing essential communal buildings and services in such settlements. Last, the resolutions called for strengthening district inspection services, introducing stricter punishments, and increasing collaboration among all those engaged in the fight against rogue construction.49

Two and a half years later, the Municipal Council used the preparations for the coming seven-year economic plan as another opportunity to reach out to rogue builders. In May of 1964, municipal delegates considered a series of proposals “to strengthen housing policy in Belgrade for the next seven years.” Miljan Neoric, presiding at this session, underscored the gravity of their task in his opening words, stating that the housing crisis was a major social, eco-nomic, political, and urban problem.50 The proposed plan called for eighty thousand new apartments in collective buildings and for twenty thousand single-family dwellings to be built in the next seven years. Construction com-panies would build the collective buildings, but it was not specified who would build the family houses. Aside from setting the amount to be invested, the as-sembly considered three major proposals. First, the planning process should be streamlined and improved. Second, in line with economic reforms at the federal level aimed at increasing competition, banks would be given a role in financing housing, through what was essentially a mortgage system. Persons who did not obtain a housing unit from their employer could apply for a loan, based on their ability to provide 50 percent of the cost. Third, the last proposal set aside a significant proportion of land in the suburbs for individual family homes.51

The first proposal was aimed at increasing the efficiency of the Town Plan-ning Institute, which was not fulfilling requests for district and local plans quickly enough. The two other proposals, however, proposed concrete solu-tions to the housing crisis by further enabling personal consumption. The cen-tral idea behind the proposals was that the best way to resolve the housing shortage was to co-opt the personal savings of the population. In creating a loan system, the federal state acknowledged that it was incapable of provid-ing housing for all of its citizens and established that, from now on, it would encourage its citizens to purchase their own homes with the help of their per-sonal savings.

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