Analysis and evaluation of the development potentials and limitations of the suburban and rural area of the City of Zagreb


Assistant prof. dr. sc. Vedran Prelogović

Associate prof. dr. sc. Aleksandar Lukić

Collaborators Prof. dr. sc. Nenad Buzjak 
Associate prof. dr. sc. Neven Bočić 
Prof. dr. sc. Dane Pejnović 
Dr. sc. Ivan Šulc
Duration 1. 10. 2015. -  31. 12. 2015.



Numerous studies show that the urban fringes and the immediate hinterland are considered the most dynamic parts of the urban region in terms of development. The urban fringe (periurban, suburban and rural) represents a zone of contact, intertwining, interpenetration and interaction between urban and rural areas in most major European metropolises. In 2007, the Council of Europe defined the periurban area as a zone of transition from purely rural to urban characteristics. In developed European countries, this area is considered an integral and particularly valuable part of the urban-rural continuum, which is therefore of particular importance from the point of view of planning and development. The urban fringe becomes attractive for the location of important city-building functions that connect and integrate urban and rural areas. Roads (e.g. bypasses), railways, airports and many other important transport facilities are built on the urban fringe. High quality transport infrastructure intensifies links between the city and the surrounding countryside, i.e. daily migration. New forms of commerce are also planned and built in the surrounding area. Industry is increasingly present due to the numerous locational advantages. Due to the growing demand for housing, changing housing trends (more greenery, lower population density...) and lower land and real estate prices, the outskirts are often a more desirable place to live than the center. As a result, it is often an area with pronounced demographic dynamics due to population in-migration. The intertwining and competition of different functions (residential, commercial, agricultural, recreational and protective) often puts pressure on the space. At the same time, the often valuable and unique heritage of centuries-old cultural landscapes is being replaced by unifying, city-centered landscapes of service facilities.

Recent studies of Zagreb and its urban regions suggest that processes and trends largely maintain the accepted state of affairs in European cities. However, due to the intensity of demographic, social and economic changes in the transition period and the emergence of new actors in spatial planning and management, more detailed and comprehensive research is needed to shape development goals and policies that recognize the specific values of suburban and rural areas that are administratively part of Zagreb. Namely, administrative boundaries, although necessary, are often inconsiderate of the proper assessment of the uniqueness and specificity of the Zagreb Ring, and each of its settlements and hamlets as development resources. Simplified numerical criteria, either the threshold of population density or the proportion of agricultural population, do not reveal the diverse mosaic of the urban-rural contact space. They can only be used to probe and prepare research.

From the above follows the need for a more detailed study of the entire suburban and rural space of the city of Zagreb. The study included 68 settlements of suburban and rural character, as well as parts of the settlements of the City of Zagreb outside the general urban plan of the City of Zagreb. The analytical part of the study included a wide range of physical-geographical and socio-geographical characteristics of suburban and rural areas of the City of Zagreb. These are: geomorphological, geoecological, demogeographical and socio-economic characteristics, in addition to the analyzed vacation homes and recreational areas. Then, the development of the Zagreb urban region is presented and the system of central settlements is analyzed. The last part of the study analyzes the opinions of local government representatives and gives guidelines for the design of local development policies.


  1. Analiza i vrednovanje razvojnih potencijala i ograničenja suburbanog i ruralnog područja Grada Zagreba, Elaborat, Naručitelj: Grad Zagreb, Gradski ured za strategijsko planiranje i razvoj Grada.   


  1. Buzjak, N., Bočić, N., Butorac, V.,  Šulc, I. (2019): Landscape analysis of the suburban and rural areas of the City of Zagreb (Croatia), Landscape diversity and biodiversity: 18th International Symposium on Problems of Landscape Ecological Research, organizator: Institute of Landscape Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, 23. - 27. 4. 2019. (poster).