Organizer: Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro
Collaborators: Sponge Collaborative

The Morača River is central to the unique geographical identity of Montenegro and the city of Podgorica in particular. The river traverses through various characteristic landscape zones, originating in the northern mountains, chiseling its way through the canyons of Zeta plains before draining into Lake Skadar. The landscape morphology of each of these zones are distinctive and the river system is a repository of the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. We take inspiration from the unique geology of the region, characterized by sheer cliffs, meadows & fields dotted with huge rocks, and pebble beaches that have a strong connection to the visual memory of the local residents. Our vision recognizes the natural charm and wilderness of the river while identifying sites that trigger the potential of Podgorica as a cultural, economic, and sustainable capital city.
Podgorica’s relationship with Morača River is substantial and it is apparent in the way the urban fabric has evolved over the years. The river cuts through the heart of the urban core, and a majority of the public and private institutions, cultural landmarks and historic neighborhoods have a direct presence on the river edge. We envision a strategic rejuvenation framework for the Morača River that goes beyond enhancing the immediate river edge and to catalyze positive transformations that the city strives for. The framework proposes three strategic goals that would help the city plan and implement the rejuvenation of Morača River in an integrated manner. Each of the goals address critical themes that are significant to bring about a holistic approach towards rejuvenation of the river.
- GOAL 1: FOSTERING LOCAL CULTURE & IDENTITY embraces the connection between Morača River and the region’s identity, natural and cultural heritage by establishing strong ecological and experiential linkages with the urban fabric.
- GOAL 2: NURTURING A HEALTHIER, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE FUTURE propels communities along the river edge towards a better future in the age of climate change and advocates for a harmonious coexistence with natural systems.
- GOAL 3: STIMULATING INNOVATION unlocks the future potential of the river edge to accommodate new paradigms of 21st century urban living and supporting new economies and innovation. 
The Framework prescribes a ‘Catalogue of Actions’ for each of the strategic goals that are to be implemented by the city and the various stakeholders in order to achieve a goal. Further, the framework identifies a catalytic urban project under each of the strategic goals. The catalytic projects are significant investments to accelerate the rejuvenation framework and at the same time help propel the strategic goals beyond the river edges to stimulate the transformation of Podgorica. Following the rejuvenation of the river, the strategic goals can be scaled up to a city wide framework that will transform Podgorica into an innovative hub, cultural center, and a sustainable city.
Visual Credit: Missing Picture