Belgrade’s new master plan extended far beyond the city limits, deep into the city’s hinterland. The city was divided into four different zones—the narrow city territory, the city territory, the narrow city region, and the city region. The narrow city territory designated the already built urban expanse, includ-ing the previously excluded periphery, as well as a sizeable expanse of unbuilt land. Encompassing 8,150 hectares (roughly 82 square kilometers, or 20,150 acres) of land, this zone would be the subject of the most detailed planning. However, planners also produced a series of studies and plans pertaining to the narrow city region, which included some 200,000 hectares (roughly 2,000 square kilometers or 494,200 acres). Recognizing the interrelation between the city and its hinterland, and aware of their mission to reduce the gap be-tween city and village, the authors of the master plan wished to consider the entire territory comprehensively.
Whether intentionally or not, their approach shared similarities with the ideas of British urbanist Patrick Geddes, who had preached that urban planning had to be done in a regional context. And yet, there was a crucial difference. Regional planning, Geddes’s disciple Mumford had argued, “asks not how wide an area can be brought under the aegis of the metropolis, but how the population and civic facilities can be distributed so as to promote and stimulate a vivid, creative life throughout the whole region.”69 In the new mas-ter plan, however, the region was definitely subordinate to the city. Land in the narrow region would be used to produce foodstuffs for Belgrade; it would provide places of leisure for citizens to seek relaxation and refreshment, and it would also be used to create new industrial towns. Gradually, as a result of in-dustrialization, the spread of the city, and the migration of villagers to the city, it was thought that those settlements closest to the city would urbanize. Bel-grade’s transportation network would play a critical role in linking Belgrade and its hinterland.70
The city itself was envisioned primarily as a political and administrative center for the federation and, to a lesser extent, for the Republic of Serbia. The master plan was intended to keep the city as compact as possible. The Town Planning Institute had rejected the idea of city as metropolis, which Sombor- 1950 master plan: the narrow urban territory, the urban territory, the narrow urban region, and the urban region. From Oliver Minic, ed., Beograd: Generalni urbanisticki plan 1950 (Belgrade: Izvrsni odbor Narodnog odbora Beograda, 1951). ski characterized as a foreign concept and described as a “sick organism with a hypertrophying of certain of its organs.” Belgrade was consequently not going to be developed as an industrial center, and the only industrial activities that would be located in the city would be those that served the immediate needs of Belgrade’s citizens, with a few notable exceptions. Compactness would also be achieved through exceptionally high planned densities in residential areas of thirty-five thousand inhabitants per square kilometer.71
Concerning the city itself, the main provisions of the plan were to separate the city into functionally defined zones; to modernize and rationalize the city’s transportation networks, in particular roads and railroads; to extend the pro-vision of services into neglected areas of the city; to selectively rebuild certain sections of the old city; and to build new settlements. The emphasis on the modernization of transportation, the model adopted for rebuilding and build-ing new settlements, and the emphasis on functional separation highlight the influence of the Athens Charter.
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The planning team was clearly familiar with the Athens Charter and sought to implement its principles in its master plan. This familiarity, long before the Athens Charter was published in Serbo-Croatian, is nonetheless not sur- Home Design 2.8. The 1950 master plan. Map by Bill Nelson, based on maps in Oliver Minic, ed., Beograd: Generalni urbanisticki plan 1950 (Belgrade: Izvrsni odbor Narodnog odbora Beograda, 1951), and Aleksandar Bordevic, Generalni urbanisticki plan Beograda (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavacko-graficki zavod, 1973). prising, as Croatian architect Ernest Weissmann was present on board the SS Patris II, when the basic principles presented in the charter were formulated and debated. Moreover, as has already been pointed out, several modernist architects (including Belgrade architect Milorad Pantovic) had worked in the offices of its author, Le Corbusier, who had a great deal of influence on the Yu-goslav architectural scene. In the master plan publication, Oliver Minic argued that a socialist regime was in the best position to truly put the charter into practice: “In the capitalist West, these progressive principles, most precisely expressed in the Athens Charter, came to the fore through the realization of small, isolated dwelling agglomerations. The systematic implementation of these principles on a large scale is however in contradiction with the social order of capitalism and is not in fact possible to realize in a capitalist economy. It is evident that these principles for organizing the city may only really be applied under socialism. Under the conditions of socialism, this organization is in fact qualitatively different, richer in content and fuller.”72 Minic added that the Soviet Union had made some progress in translating the principles of the Athens Charter into a socialist context, but crucially, he noted that the solutions its practitioners had devised were not yet adequate.73 Yugoslavia, in other words, would be the first state in the world to explore the full potential of the Athens Charter to create a better city.
According to the planning team, the organization of the city into functional zones was essential. Somborski argued that you could discern how a society functioned by looking at a land-use map: “The truest picture of a people’s way of life and social organization throughout their development,” he stated, “is given by the organizational layout of the city and the use of urban spaces.”74 Consequently, the city’s territory would be divided into areas designated as housing, industry and supply, green space, special surfaces, hospitals, agriculture, and transportation. The planners eschewed a strict division of functions, adopting the more flexible concept of a “dominant function.” Thus, housing settlements would also include areas of light industry, administration, and sanitary and sporting facilities.75 The ability of workers to live close to their place of employment, in turn, lessened the burden on the transportation net-work and shortened workers’ commutes. The obvious exception was heavy industry, of which there was to be little in Belgrade in any case, strictly sep-arated from housing areas. Another important organizational concept was the use of “nested socio-spatial scales.”76 Particular buildings and amenities would be designated as being of significance at the scale of the state, of the city as a whole, of the district (rejon)—a territorial unit defined by population size that was clearly borrowed from the Soviet model, or of the neighborhood (micro-rejon), and grouped into centers serving the relevant catchment area. While citizens of Belgrade might have to travel across town to satisfy more in-frequent needs, such as visiting a museum or applying for a passport, the plan would ensure that they would be able to do everyday business close to home.77