Welcome to Zenica

Zenica is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an administrative and economic center of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Zenica-Doboj Canton. It is located in the Bosna river valley, about 70 km (43 mi) north of Sarajevo. The city is known for its Ironworks Zenica factory but also as a significant university center. According to the 2013 census, the settlement of Zenica itself counts 70,553 citizens and the administrative area 110,663

Zenica has nine national monuments. The football club Čelik is a landmark of the city, and it also has one of the tallest buildings in Bosnia and Herzegovina—Lamela.

The ZENICA Regeneration Agenda, from an AGORA perspective

The urban area of Zenica is mainly characterized by mixed use, residential core in the south and industrial zone in the north. The industrial zone is dominated by Arcelor Mittal plants. Residential zones are located on and around the outskirts of the city.

The Urban Regeneration Agenda of City of Zenica represents a document created through a co-creation process through active participation of a wide group of stakeholders within the AGORA project. The aim of the Agenda is to define concrete actions for chosen areas which will lead to their reactivation. However, co-creation process can be replicated and applied on other underused objects owned and operated by the city but also it can be a new approach to improve existing processes.

The city has a significant number of previously built but unused buildings that have been empty for many years. By changing the purpose of buildings, at least for those owned by the city, it is possible to compensate for the lack of construction land in the urban part of the city, but also to preserve the memory of places from earlier times.

City of Zenica has chosen the second thematic cluster within the Agora project “unused/underused commercial buildings” because it owns and manages different premises, and buildings.

A map of the AGORA areas in Zenica

Check out some Zenica Landmarks

More on Annex B - the pilot project

City of Zenica has chosen an abandoned construction in the Business district of Zenica which used to be a technical control building in a former steel plant Željezara Zenica. The building consists of two parts – Annex A and Annex B. Annex A has been renovated and put in operation back in 2009. Annex B has been abandoned and unused for many years.

Concerning the Annex B building, there will be total of 43 spaces created, out of which 35 for new business spaces for companies on 3 floors, meeting and educational room with 20 seats, 2 mini kitchens and training centre for work on CNC machines and robotics. Pilot project will provide home to new start- ups and give them access to advanced technologies and networking opportunities. This building is also envisaged as catalyst of ICT technologies for unemployed, students and NGO’s.  

Zenica - an anatomy

The Business district is located only a few kilometers from the city center. Within the past five years the city administration has invested significant financial resources in new infrastructure which has generated new investments and increased number of companies and employees. This zone is a home to 126 companies which are hiring close to 2.000 people. About 40 companies are using entrepreneurial infrastructure built by the city and operated by Local development agency ZEDA. Pilot action building is actually leaning on the building of TechnoPark, used by ZEDA agency and 20 start-up companies.

Join us and take a walk through the neighborhood with the local AGORA team!

Annex B - the vision for promoting local entrepreneurship

The adaptation of the Annex B will expand the current capacities available to start-up companies with a focus on ICT sector. Also, ZEDA will organize new in-house trainings at the request of companies, through managing of new robotics and CNC centres and thus expand the scope of its activities at the local level. Future tenants of the Annex B will rent office at subsided prices which will be sufficient for covering operational cost enabling long term financial sustainability.

The strategy

Creating sustainable community spaces

Cooperating with the local administration and the economic council, as well as constant coordination with the private sector to include their suggestions in the yearly plans is part of the strategy. This involves a constant dialogue and visits to the local communities, obtaining input and ideas from their side, finding what are the most important for their local communities. A participatory approach that has added a unique layer to the project, leading to the preparation of a list of projects and activities, which need to be completed in the next year.


The project also developed a cooperation with the educational sector, with official education institutions. This multi-faceted approach to cooperation continues to develop and include a wider array of citizens groups, from non-governmental organizations and citizens to local communities and the private and public sector.
As a method, in Zenica, mainly  working together through workshops was selected. It allowed  NGOs, educational institutions, the private sector, and citizens, to exchange opinions, ideas, suggestions, and jointly decide which projects, were identified and discussed. 
Through such a process and lengthy analyses, three projects were deemed as most important, one of them being Annex B

Jakuta Imsirevic from the Department for Ecology and Communcal Affairs discusses the AGORA trategy in Zenica, the challenges faced by the project and it’s successes.

Economic, social, cultural goals

City of Zenica still has a high percentage of formally unemployed people. Within the past five years, the city administration has increased investment in entrepreneurial infrastructure as well as subsidies for start-up companies. This has resulted in increased number of registered business (craft and companies) which seek for adequate spaces to run their business. The Ultimate goal is to create new business premises for SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and initiate development of IT and digital sector in the City.

There will be total 43 spaces created, among of which 35 for new business spaces for companies on 3 floors, meeting and educational room with 20 seats, 2 mini kitchens and training center for work on computer numerical control (CNC) machines and robotics.There is a high demand for offices at subsidized prices in the existing Techno Park.

The Pilot action will provide home to new start-ups and give them access to advanced technologies and networking opportunities. This building is also envisaged as catalyst of ICT technologies for unemployed, students and NGO’s.

The Objectives of the Pilot Action are:

-The creation of a favorable business environment through the development of the business support infrastructure

-The Improvement of the level of ICT knowledge of the current and future entrepreneurs, students and employees.

There is a high demand for entrepreneurial infrastructure with subsidized prices as well a need for improvement of the level of ICT knowledge across all sectors. Through the Agora project, the city has reached out and communicated with all relevant stakeholders which will enable sustainability of the pilot action in the long run.

Let's talk impact

A participatory approach

The main success of the project is that it included, as part of the process, various relevant  stakeholders. This includes NGO’s, other institutions, educational institutions, private sector, citizens etc. Their input, suggestions, and opinions will be included in the Urban regeneration agenda, and how the projct can be implemented in the future.

Other areas of impact include:

An improvement of the  entrepreneurial infrastructure

The creation of increased capacity and new premises available for start –up companies

The creation of new jobs, particularly in the ICT

The creation of a diversified economy: the building will serve as catalyst and increase the number of companies within the ICT sector

The creation of advanced technologies: centres for robotics and CNC machines will provide new content on local level and stimulate young people interests for technologies


Meet the Local Actors

The project did help create synergies and promote mutual collaboration between various stakeholders, including the following:

The Mechanical Faculty Zenica

The Polytechnic Faculty Zenica

The Public company for spatial planning

The University of Zenica

The Zeda Agency

The Association of employers of Zenica

The NGO REaktiv

The NGO Ze Forge

Aksa ltd and Empress ltd

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