Nin (HR)


Project scale L - urban + architecture

Location  Ždrijac settlement, Nin, Croatia

Population 2,750 inhabitants

Strategic site 200 ha - Project site 36 ha 

Site proposed by Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning, Croatia

Actors involved City of Nin, Nin Tourist Board

Owner of the site Private and public owners

Commission after competition Urban development plan, workshops

Team representative Architect - urbanist

More Information

How can the site contribute to a productive city?

The morphology of the ground on which the city-island formed in the shallow lagoon contributes to the unusual imagery and distinguishes Nin as a city with one of the three salt ponds on the eastern Adriatic coast that have been in operation since ancient times. The rich historical heritage, the proximity of large tourist resorts and the city of Zadar, resulted in the fact that the population of Nin (2,750 inhabitants in winter) explodes fivefold in the summer months (14,000 in the summer), which is a record number in Croatia. This scenario brings a number of problems to the functioning of everyday life. Programming of the development and planning of new public public spaces are burdened by seasonal (tourist) population. The basic task of future urban development is to create a balance between the productive (4 summer months) and the unproductive part of the year. To be "more productive" for Nin means re-utilizing the city's public and private accomodation and facilities created under the pressure of seasonal tourism in the winter period as well. In Ždrijac resort - the strategic site perimeter - the problems identified at the city level are strongly perceived, making it a suitable site for exploring new trends in development.

City strategy

The development strategy of the City of Nin 2016-2020 states: 'The City of Nin aims to develop a sustainable year-round tourism, based on: marine tourism (sun and sea), culture tourism (3000-year-old history), health tourism (medicinal mud), sport and recreational tourism (bicycling, kite surfing, wind surfing) and industrial tourism (saltworks, birdwatching). The reality is that in the following years the economic growth of Nin will be based on tourism, so one of the directions of future development of this core activity must be its adjustment to the contemporary needs as well as finding new programs to improve the tourist offer. The proclaimed goal of reaching all-year tourism is difficult to achieve without stronger support of the local population. Until now, the tourism was based on landscape and historical features that needs to be complemented by new products that will broaden the base of potential users. Residents of the city need to generate these new offers.

Site definition

Because of its exceptional location (between the long sandy beach that has become a kite-flying oasis, ancient saltworks, an old town with a series of cultural sights and brick factories that are part of the industrial heritage) the Ždrijac resort in Nin has the potential to become a place where programs initiated by local population with the aim of year-round activity of urban urban life and events can come to life. These new programs should also improve existing tourist offer. In the resort there is a large number of holiday houses and flats so that this part of the town is overcrowded in the summer with almost no permanent residents in the winter. The built part of the resort is characterized by dense construction on small lots. With each newly built holiday home, there are less reasons for a tourist to visit Ždrijac. Investments in communal infrastructure are adapted to seasonal use, and good quality public space is practically non-existent.

How is production inserted in the urban diversity programme?

Providing only seasonal accommodation facilities, as a support to 'tourist' environment (natural and cultural sights, beaches ...) creates a monofunctional housing ghetto within the city area. In the winter when the surrounding activators disappear and tourists leave, these parts of the city turn into dormitories. Small towns (villages) do not have urban power or social potential to resist the six months of hibernation. Summer modes of community motivated by profit completely disappear in winter. But small towns can be an appropriate place to explore and plan different sustainability models that we can call the summer strategy for winter life. Planning of all areas in the resort (public spaces, social standard buildings, infrastructure and recreational areas, catering facilities, including private houses for tourism) must have a clear off-season use.
Planning of reusable (and thus more productive) spaces, both public and private, can enrich the off-season life in the resort and encourage residents to create a different social and business infrastructure. The task is to create projects following contemporary (innovative) planning methods that will reinterpret the hybrid character of the resort in the program sense, and maintain the vitality of the settlement (the city), which is the basic precondition for sustainable development. If these activities make a small shift towards creating a different city, all actors can be satisfied.


Historical part of the city - omnipresence of water
The beach during Winter


Project site - streetscape during Winter
Project site during Winter - Western perimeter

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