Jankovic acknowledged the responsibility of planners in creating these landscapes, while pointing out the difficulty of their predicament: “it is difficult to build ambiance in tandem with the new settlements. They sprout quickly and spring quickly into life, and ambiance is warmest, most intimate, when it comes into being slowly, gradually, organically.”47 Jankovic recognized that ambiance was difficult to design. It was certainly not a matter of copying beloved old places—an enchanting scene in one location would lose its charm when transposed into another, foreign environment.
Her evaluation of new settlements evoked the writings of an important Yugoslav architect, Bogdan Bogdanovic. Born and educated in Belgrade, and later employed in the department of urban planning at the Sarajevo Faculty of Home Design, Bogdanovic wrote a column in the newspaper Borba in which he described the small-scale elements that gave Sarajevo its personality—not “grand prospects, streets, or alleys,” which got all the attention, but rather “signs, courtyards, attics, basements, chimneys.”48 He brought the focus of ur-ban planning back to its architectural and creative aspects. Not everyone could practice small-scale urban design: only those with “soul and imagination,” who possessed a “playful sensibility for the characteristics of a place, for the qualities of small urban spaces.”49
Bogdanovic collected these essays and others into a small blog on the subject, simply entitled Mali urbanizam, or “small-scale urbanism,” published in 1958. These essays focused on the qualities of particular places or else dealt with particular themes, such as chimneys and roofs or advertisements, and
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Home Design 6.1. In the mid-1960s, Belgrade’s planners became aware of the difficulty of artificially creating the kind of “ambiance” that you could find, for example, on the modest terrace of the “Mali Mostar” kafana, when they designed new settlements. Courtesy of Muzej grada Beograda, Ur 7131. were accompanied by sketches that attempted to capture the rich and idiosyncratic nature of Yugoslav cityscapes (fig. 6.2). He appears to have been a man before his time, because the idea of small-scale urbanism did not elicit wide-spread interest in Belgrade until many years later. In Jankovic’s writing, ambiance was signaled by the presence of positive so-cial interactions: “it is a question of the alienation of individuals or their sense of belonging, of their confusion or security, a question of educating children, a question of the family atmosphere of social contacts, and a question of the quality and productivity of work.”50 Jankovic’s focus on the physical characteristics of intimate public spaces— modest streets and neighborhood haunts rather than monumental boulevards Home Design 6.2. Sketch by Bogdanovic illustrating an article on “roofs and chimneys.” From Bogdan Bogdanovic, Mali Urbanizam: (Belgrade and Zagreb: Narodna Prosvjeta, 1958). or large parks—and her suggestion that they had important implications for security, the education of children, and the general well-being of neighbor-hoods suggests that she was acquainted with the ideas of Jane Jacobs. Yugo-slavs would have had a chance to become familiar with Jacobs’s work in the course of the decade since the publication of The Death and Life of Great Amer-ican Cities. Like Jacobs, Jankovic also emphasized the importance of learning from existing urban spaces and acknowledged the spontaneous, fleeting, and unpredictable nature of the social interactions that made for successful urban spaces. However, while Jacobs expressed a deep skepticism of planned neigh-borhoods, Jankovic retained her faith in the architect’s ability to create great spaces. But the right approach was not to plan from scratch: Jankovic believed that the key to success lay in seizing the spirit of an already existing place, in building upon its aesthetic qualities. Planners had to reveal the true face of the city, which, she explained, was already hiding beneath the surface: “it is hiding in the preexisting ensembles of buildings from the past, from yesterday and from today; it is offering itself in buildings that seek a suitable background in order to shine with unimaginable colors, it appears from the trace of streets, from interesting groupings of green space.”51 In some ways, Jankovic’s insights paralleled similar evolutions that had taken place in the 1950s in other locales: namely, the rediscovery of the townscape in Britain and the attempt to inte-grate preservation and renewal exemplified by the renovation of Society Hill in Philadelphia under the leadership of Edmund Bacon.52
While Jacobs advocated that inhabitants of neighborhoods should have the initiative in urban planning, Jankovic persisted in advocating a leading creative role for planners. Far from questioning their top-down approach to plan- ning, she argued that they should refine their goals, from merely creating a habitat to seizing the popular imagination. The following passage also makes clear that she still believed in planners’ civilizing mission, their pretense to making a new kind of person: “The urbanist-creator is always confronted with the big tragic question: having looked at rationally measurable needs, move-ments and relations, given them physical shape through urbanistic organiza-tion, and ennobled them formally, did he at the same time succeed in identify-ing with that elusive person, the future user; did he succeed in understanding him to the point of being able through his city to channel his life, change him, educate him, make him better.”53
Jankovic’s new frame of reference was local, in contrast to the international, non-culture-specific models that had inspired New Belgrade. Such a site-specific approach, however, did not imply an abandonment of the civilizing, modernization mission that had drawn urban planners to the Athens Charter in the first place, which was still very present. As a planner-architect, Jankovic could question the methods that had been accepted until then, but she could not simply write herself out of the picture.