Dear Friends,

Season’s greetings from IPR Prague, where we have been busy working on a number of initiatives, including a construction analysis of residential projects, a new tourism strategy for the city, and the opening of the city’s first cycle depot. 

Take a moment to check out our short, but sweet, end-of-year update, be it from your couch or the office!

Best wishes for a peaceful and healthy holiday season and a very happy new year,
The International Team, IPR Prague

Prague unveils new tourism strategy

In cooperation with IPR Prague, the city’s leadership and Prague City Tourism have prepared a new concept for inbound tourism in Prague. The objective is to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the strategic interests of the city and its residents. The concept introduces a new, complex, and sustainable approach to tourism in Prague. It was unanimously approved by the city’s elected representatives in October.

The new tourism concept reacts to the long-term problems associated with the overly congested city center, which has had difficiulty coping with the negative impacts of excessive tourism and so-called touristification. This condition forces out the usual, daily, urban functionality for residents and replaces it with services that focus exclusively on tourism. The new concept aims to change this status quo by putting the quality of life of Prague’s residents first, and emphasizing the cultural heritage and uniqueness that is characteristic to Prague, while creating an environment for tourism that is compatible with normal development in the city.
“Prague’s objective is to create a strategy for sustainable tourism that is considerate to public space and the city’s residents while fitting in with the city’s overall development. One of the chief priorities of this concept is to more widely distribute and spread out tourist traffic across the city, which will help the congested historical center,” says Ondřej Boháč, director of IPR Prague.

You can read the new strategy (in English!) here

IPR Prague releases analysis of residential development projects

IPR Prague has released an analysis of residential development projects in Prague in 2020, finding that the rate of apartment construction in the city is faster now than at any other time in the last 10 years. A total of 137 apartment construction projects are currently underway, including 14,450 new apartment units. It can be expected that roughly 5,500 to 6,000 apartments will be completed each year between 2020 and 2022.

In September 2020, the average price of apartments offered in these development projects was CZK 95,904 per m2 of total floor space, and a new, empty apartment cost an average of CZK 8,455,226 (320,321 EUR). This is roughly 1 million CZK (37,884 EUR) more than in 2019, showing that prices have not fallen despite the pandemic.

“According to the analysis, we are experiencing the most intensive construction boom in the last 10 years, which is, of course, good news. The prices of apartments, however, are not falling, and people must save for an average of 12 years to buy an apartment (without spending money on anything else). That is why we urgently need a new Building Act, to facilitate affordable housing and accelerate the construction process in the future,” says Ondřej Boháč, director of IPR Prague.

You can read more about IPR Prague’s position on the new Building Act later in the newsletter.

More conclusions from the analysis can be found here, and the analysis itself can be accessed here (CZ only).


Prague opens its first cycle depot

Depot.Bike, Prague's first cycle depot, was ceremoniously opened in November. The depot, located in the Florenc section of the city, will facilitate the delivery of goods throughout the city center by cargo bike, and forms part of the city's plan to ease the congestion of public space, reduce traffic, and improve the quality of life for city residents.

Depot.Bike functions as a transfer point for goods that are sent from company warehouses on the city outskirts to the storage containers of individual logistics companies at the depot. From here, couriers pick up the goods, load them onto cargo bikes, and then quickly transport them-- with zero emissions-- to recipients in the city center.  Couriers are able to deliver up to 80 consignments from the depot daily. If the pilot project is successful, city leaders are prepared to introduce restrictions on the entry of trucks into the center of Prague.
Prague's City Council decided to implement the project based on a transport study carried out by IPR Prague.

Thanks to efficient and intensive cooperation between the city and logistics companies, it was possible to complete the project in just three months.

Pilot operations for the depot are planned to last six to eight weeks, during which the operations will be continuously evaluated. Numerous logistics and shipping companies are taking part in the project, including Dachser, DHL Express, DPD, GLS, Messenger, PPL, and Together, these companies will operate a fleet of over 30 electric cargo bikes of various types and technologies.

You can read the full story here.


The new Czech building law and its impact on large cities 

The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament has begun discussing the draft of a new building law for the Czech Republic. Large Czech cities have been most impacted by shortcomings in the current building law.
Approximately 70 percent of all Czechs will live in cities by 2050; today, that number is 55 percent. Cities are and will continue to be the engines of the economy. To this end, the cities of Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen, and Liberec have spent the last year negotiating with the Czech Ministry of Regional Development (MRD) to make critical changes to the existing legislation. Unfortunately, however, the experiences and needs of big cities have not been reflected in the new law.

One of the specific problems of the new building law is the application of “universal” building regulations. Thanks to its own set of building regulations, Prague has been able to create a compact city of short distances. Prague’s building regulations are designed to address the specific problems of the city, associated in particular with the disintegration of the city’s structure and expansion of the city into the countryside.

The new building law, however, treats all municipalities the same, and does not differentiate between, for instance, a village and a large city, even though it is clear that the two need to be planned differently. It does not allow cities to plan in the way they need nor does it support joint planning that crosses over administrative boundaries. Some of these issues could be addressed by the addition of a provision stating that statutory cities can have their own municipal building regulations. In addition, urban planning processes should be governed by cities themselves and not by the state, as has been the case to date. This would streamline the entire process and improve the quality of the built environment.

You can read more about the issues with the new building law and the amendments proposed by the Czech Republic’s largest cities here.


Organizational changes: IPR Prague unifies strategic and land use planning

IPR Prague is in the process of fundamentally changing its organizational structure to create a better connection between strategic and spatial planning. To date, these two sectors have been split into two separate sections, each with its own director.  The new structure will combine the two into the Department for City Development, which will bring better coordination and dynamism to urban planning in the City of Prague. IPR Prague is currently concluding its search for a director to lead this new section.

One example of how the two agendas intersect in practice is in the planning of a new city district such as Bubny or Letňany. Strategic planning helps to provide data on the development and movement of the population, as well as on demographic and economic forecasts. Spatial planning, in turn, focuses on the correct use, or compliance with the spatial regulations of a given territory. Joining the two teams will ensure that high-quality spatial planning tools, such as spatial studies, can be created more smoothly. The new Department for City Development is expected to start operating at the beginning of 2021.

Ondřej Boháč, IPR Prague Director, notes: "The connection of the functions of the Department of Strategy and Policy and the Department of City Planning is a crucial step, which we expect will improve cooperation in the creation of key city documents. The agendas of the two sectors are inextricably linked. Putting them together under one department is therefore a logical step."



The fascinating world of concrete

Check out this long, but fascinating read from The Guardian about concrete.  Yes, we used the words “concrete” and “fascinating” in the same sentence.

Photo credit: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy



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Prague Institute of Planning and Development · Vyšehradská 57 · Prague 12800 · Czech Republic