Which of your public domains gets renewed in Budapest? – Part 1.
32 developmental projects are supported in Budapest, each district gets at least one, index.hu reports.
The general assembly of the capital voted about the results of TÉR_KÖZ competition of 2016, in which the districts of Budapest could apply for urban development actions. The aim of the competition was to establish new public domains, buildings that are open for everyone, and enhance public life. In the case of public domains, pedestrian, cyclist-friendly and smooth, barrier-free design has a vital role. 32 projects received support out of 42.
• Óbuda, Rákosmente and Csepel got the biggest part: all three districts gain half a billion forints of support.
• Erzsébetváros and Soroksár receive the least (about 60 million).
• Among the projects, the revitalization of the Holdudvar park in Óbuda gets the highest amount of money, 449 million forints.
• Kispest gets the short end of the stick, as out of the four suggestions only one is supported by the competition, and even that only with a decreased amount.
Let us take a look at the details of each district’s plans.
The municipality of Budavár would like to renew the Batthyány square. This issue has been at stake for 7 years, and – according to the description – they still stick to this plan. The point is to create pedestrian squares accommodating to the sight of the monuments, to decrease the area of the bus round, and to make the edges of the square more permeable. Car traffic would be banned from the area of the church, the motorway would be raised to the level of the pavement on Fő street’s relevant section, and the “sunken” baroque buildings would be freed from the ditches surrounding them.
If a really good plan comes true, the neighborhood can only win by that. The estimated cost is HUF 1 billion, and TÉR_KÖZ would provide 270 million of it.
The district has another project – which is rather modest – in which a new lounge would be built in the place of the already existing waiting room in the Horváth-kert, and which – despite the heavy criticism – received the whole support of HUF 2 million. We keep thinking about the difference between a lounge and a waiting room.
There are many green areas in this district, but there are not too many parks and playgrounds. This is what the renovation project of Adyliget park would solve, which is about developing the territories near the roundabout of Nagykovácsi street. Playground, roller-skate park, picnic spot and public toilet will be constructed, and the sports ground will also be renewed. The project got a slightly decreased support (235 million forints instead of 254), because the judges claimed that the educational path and the runway would not be viable near a main road. They are probably right about that.
As mentioned above, one of Óbuda’s projects is the revitalization of the Holdudvar park, which gets the highest support of all the projects with its 449 million forints. The park itself is on a spot known by many, but it is still hidden: it is a green area surrounded by ten-story buildings, near the tram terminus at Bécsi street and Vörösvári street. The district would upgrade this area significantly, into which – due to the professionalism of the Óbuda-Békásmegyer City Development Ltd. – they would involve the local people, just like in the case of many other projects in Óbuda.
Nine meetings were held with the help of the greatly experienced New Direction group, and – according to the final plan – there will be a playground, a slide park, outdoor fitness park, table tennis and chess table, runway, promenade, stage and a public garden.
The renewal of Derű street park, not far from Flórián square, is not so costly: it gets 90 million forints. It is a much smaller territory, but there will be a sports ground, a playground, a runway, and an agility park for dogs. Three occasions were organized for planning.
Szilas park: The areas near Szilas-creek, at the “gates” of Káposztásmegyer, are under continuous improvement by the municipality. BMX track construction and green area advancement are in progress, and it is supported by the competition with 200 million forints.
Szigeti József boardwalk is a typical street for walking into the residential complex, but it is filled with parking cars. With 50 million forints of support from the project, a part of the street would get pedestrian function and would be renovated.
With the help of TÉR_KÖZ program, one of the most dismal parts of the district, namely Podmaniczky square (also known as the metro station of Arany János street) would be renovated. Unfortunately, there are no blueprints about it, but according to the plans, the trolley round would be placed to Bajcsy-Zsilinszky street, and the streets around the square would be raised to the level of pedestrians, the cartridge plants – or bushes used as trash bins – would be replaced by trees, and this afforested public plaza would serve as a place for public events.
A bicycle storage could be established in one of the empty stores, but there was no full agreement on this element among the judges – maybe for a reason. It is difficult to judge it without the actual plans, but the renovation can certainly be a step forward. Another question also comes up: what opportunities do the demanded 500 million forints decreased to 300 million give?
Terézváros applied with the renovation of the Jókai square, for which it got a decreased (from 266 million to 200 million) support. Nobody knows what it will be sufficient for. The plan is to open the relatively closed middle part towards the edges of the square to make the green area look less like a “slum”.
The idea is good, but the judges claim that it is impossible to make big changes without harming the parking opportunities, and the bicycle traffic is also left unresolved, so we are waiting for the plans to accommodate.
One of Erzsébetváros’ winning projects is a relatively minor interference: the Kisdiófa Public Garden that opened in the autumn of 2016 and was operated by the Contemporary Architect Center will have one of its walls greened, and the outbuilding will be renovated from a support of 39 million forints. As a local parcel gardener I think that the public garden works well even without this, but an eye-catching fence or green wall will improve the street-view of Kisdiófa street: the current iron fence is depressing and gives the street a “city entrance” feeling from the outside.
The other suggestion of the district also gained support, though less than demanded, 25 million forints altogether: in this project, the municipality would construct a new place in Nagydiófa street where the city advancement projects could be socialized. If the place could really be used for this purpose, it would be a great step forward in the public life of the district, where – coming out from the shadow of the Hunvald-era – people do not really understand what socialization means.
Józsefváros would continue the Europe’s Inner City program related to the area of Palotanegyed with its third phase. A project related to a larger territory would come true again: along with the renovation of the rest of the Bródy Sándor street, Szentkirályi street, Puskin street and Rökk Szilárd street, a 12-story block would get a renovated facade, and the identity-enhancing programs of the Civils for Palotanegyed Association would continue.
As the demanded 500 million was decreased to 300 million by the capital, they have to decrease these standards as well. The street renewals were criticized, and not without a reason: without the significant decrease of parking lots, the functions of the streets will not increase even if a very beautiful type of blocks is used to build the pavement only one and a half meters wide.
The other project of the district is the landscaping of the dead end of Bláthy Ottó street from Vajda Péter street’s side, initiated by the residents. This part of the street – which belongs to Tisztviselőtelep – is an unused sea of concrete right now, and its need for greening was rightly recognized by the locals.
A new public park and a territory suitable for events and barbecue parties would be constructed with 40 million forints of support. If the locals would truly exploit it, it would be a great step towards the meaningful usage of this area.
It is the second time when Ferencváros tries to get support for the renovation of the Bakáts square, after they declined the idea of an underground garage being constructed under the square. They did not get the whole sum (250 million instead of 500), so Bakáts street and the public creative center in one of the square’s buildings will still be missing from the project, but at least the square can be renewed: a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly design can be expected instead of a parking lot.
The renewal of Újhegyi boardwalk could continue in Kőbánya, which already has its first phase completed, and the locals use it with satisfaction.
Green areas would be renewed in this part, new street furniture and “stations” would be constructed, but the judges recommend only a part of the planned project, so they decreased the support from 489 million to 200 million.
In Újbuda, Gazdagréti square would be renovated: stairs would be replaced with ramps, plants would be planted and cycling traffic would be smoothed. The district wanted a service pavilion as well, but it seems that the judges did not appreciate that too much, as they suggested a decreased support, and the district could get only 140 million.
translated by Gergely Lajtai-Szabó