Maribor – Slovenia

Maribor is the second most important center and second largest city in Slovenia. It has about 114.000 inhabitants who live sweetly embraced by the surrounding wine growing hills and mount Mariborsko Pohorje.

Located close to the Slovenian border with Austria and the Drava River, as well as lying at the center of five natural geographic regions, Maribor is the capital of Štajerska, the Slovenian Styria.

In 1975 the University of Maribor was founded and this has helped the city to become an even more popular, vibrant, and modern city. Today, Maribor is a trans-regional financial, educational, trade, and cultural center.


Map of the NBS demo sites area

River Pekrski

Demo site 1 before NBS installation

NBS to be implemented: green corridor

Demo site 2 before NBS installation

NBS to be implemented: riparian cycling route

Demo site 3 before NBS installation

NBS to be implemented: pocket garden

Demo site 4 before NBS installation

NBS to be implemented: blue infrastructure

Demo site 5 before NBS installation

NBS to be implemented: urban mobile forest

Maribor demonstration will experiment with biophilic urban spatial design

Nature Based Solutions to be implemented

Maribor demo will establish a biophilic-designed network of nature-based spaces throughout the waterway of river Pekrski, creating a seemingly free-flowing continuity of natural environments leading to a climate resilient neighborhood. Biophilic design is a concept to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. A regenerative sustainability approach based on biophilic design patterns can improve air quality and climate resilience in the long term, while providing greater health, social cohesion, and well-being for residents.
Several interventions will be implemented:

  • green corridor
  • riparian cycling route
  • pocket gardens
  • blue infrastructure
  • An urban mobile forest with species targeting particular pollutants movable to different areas, where pollution in each moment is most prevalent.

Demo site characteristics and challenges

The City of Maribor is naturally divided by river Drava into two riverbanks. Intense build-up of residential neighborhoods and industrial complexes during 1960s, 70s and 80s has significantly reduced the green areas in the right bank making it less resilient and unfriendly for inhabitants of neighboring districts, causing life-quality imbalances between both parts of the city and resulting in misused, unused and underused areas.
Further degradation of green urban environment and unplanned sporadic overgrowing is causing increased flood risks and spilling into downstream districts, leaving the green areas unattended and uncared for. Eventually, they have become treated as degraded and derelict exploitation objects for individual conveniences (illegal landfilling, artificial impoundments, burning areas, traffic shortcuts, etc.), which is partially based on lack of knowledge and education that would generate respectful use by citizens. The project for the regeneration of the riparian linear park alongside Pekrski potok (i.e. Pekrski brook) was developed through a participatory process co- designed with citizens and co-developed with different experts. The entire intervention is divided in five sections, each section implementing different NBS. The section chosen for UPSURGE is particularly burdensome for air quality due to individual houses with independent furnaces and heating solutions (primary source of air pollution) and due to the high number of surrounding residents, pollution from exhausts (secondary air pollution source).

Foreseen outcome of the NBS implementation

Maribor will implement several connected NBS for the recovery of an urban waterway to unify blue–green infrastructure, presenting the benefits of the transition to a regenerative economy and holistic thinking. Expected outcomes will be:

  • Establishment of a 500 meters long green corridor with targeted air quality and climate regulation species demarcating the existing stream and grey infrastructure, equipped with bilateral tree planting and several natural spaces for active living, well-being and citizens’ engagement.
  • A pocket park equipped as a meditation garden to rest and improve the well-being of citizens.
  • A pocket park equipped with a moveable urban forest.
  • A “tree nursery” pocket park where trees will grow for further targeted transplants around the city to fight pollution.
  • Regulation of critical 100 meters of stream banks, which will increase the retention capacity of the water body for cases of instant floods during downpours (e.g. willow twigs will be implemented complementary and prior to UPSURGE project demo execution).
  • Redesigned spatial planning approach for the city of Maribor, based on the biophilic-oriented solutions and connectivity of green spaces throughout the city.