Given the economic context, during the period between 1944 and 1947 Dobrovic focused on the development of a central concept for Belgrade’s future. A brief published by the UIS in 1946, Obnova i izgradnje Beograda (The renewal and reconstruction of Belgrade), captures some of his early ideas on how Belgrade should be organized and how it should look. Rather than a comprehen-sive proposal for the reconstruction of the city, it contained a series of studies
Home Design 2.2. Dobrovic’s plan for Kalemegdarf Park. A stadium .for sports and mass rallies would be integrated into the remnants of the fortifications oh the lower plane, closest to the riverbanks. Dobrovic proposed placing buildings of Balkan-wide importance on the higher plane: the future building of the national assem-bly of Yugoslavia, a pantheon, and a museum commemorating the National Liberation War (as the Titoist regime called the Second World War). From Nikola Dobrovic, Obnova i izgradnje Beograda (Belgrade: Urbanisticki Institut, 1946). on how to transform specific sites, most of them public spaces or buildings. He focused on the compositional qualities of these spaces, privileging grandiose, sweeping perspectives converging on monumental buildings. His study also comprised plans for a sports complex, recommendations for reorganizing transportation, a consideration of various urban problems, sketches for housing developments, and a proposed land-use plan. Dobrovic was mostly preoccupied with creating symbolic spaces that would worthily represent the state to its citizens and the world.10
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Dobrovic’s approach to urban planning, which focused on creating visual relationships between monumental public buildings, is further suggested by the Skica regulacije Beograda na levoj obali Save (Regulatory sketch for the Left Bank of the Sava) he produced in 1946, which outlined a design for a new city on the floodplains across the Sava River from Belgrade. He proposed a half-star design, its spokes reaching out from a new central train station toward the old city. At the end of the spokes, which were broad avenues designed for automobiles, were located important government buildings and bridges linking the two riverbanks. As Blagojevic has pointed out, the plan’s apparent classical fan design was deceptive, because it did not actually structure the space. In-stead, buildings were situated freely in parkland, in a typically modernist arrangement. 11 Dobrovic’s design not only created a radically modern new dis-trict but also showed careful consideration of its relationship to the old city. One of the spokes extended through the center, to a new federal parliament building, located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, and then extended visually across the Sava to Kalemegdan fortress, in the old city. 12 One of the proposals in The Renewal and Reconstruction of Belgrade, the recon-struction of the Terazije terraces into a monumental staircase cascading from the old city toward the Sava, was aimed at providing a majestic panorama of this “New Belgrade.”13
Home Design 2.3. View of Kalemegdan from the left bank of the Sava River. From Nikola Dobrovic, Obnova i izgradnje Beograda (Belgrade: Urbanisticki Institut, 1946).
Home Design 2.4. Belgrade, Zemun, and the floodplains across the Sava River that would become New Belgrade. From Milivoje Kovacevic et al., eds., Novi Beograd: New Town (Belgrade: Direction for the Construction of Novi Beograd, 1961).
When the competition to design New Belgrade and the presidency finally concluded in the summer of 1947, Yugoslavia had officially ended its period of reconstruction and had launched into its first five-year plan. The five-year plan was an approach to economic modernization through rapid industri-alization based on the model of central planning imported from the Soviet Union. Indeed, the constitution adopted in 1946 declared that “the state directs economic life and development through a general economic plan relying on the state and cooperative sector and exercising general control over the pri-vate sector in the economy.” The five-year plan aimed to double the national income in comparison with its prewar level and to develop Yugoslavia’s eco-nomic and military might by focusing investment on industrialization. 15 This meant that investment in consumer and social goods, including housing, was subordinated to the greater goal of rapid industrialization. Boris Kidric, the country’s economic ideologist, summarized the regime’s approach in 1948 by stating that producing consumer goods today would jeopardize the ability of Yugoslavs to enjoy wealth in the future.16 This would be equivalent to eating the goose before it laid the golden egg. Yugoslavia’s prioritization of capital in-vestment over consumer goods was identical to that being pursued in Eastern Europe’s other newly socialist states at this time.