Gregor Macedoni , Source: Municipality of Novo mesto

Novo mesto offers a great living and working environment

Novo mesto offers a great living and working environment

Interview with Gregor Macedoni, Mayor of Novo mesto, Slovenia

Gregor Macedoni was born in 1973 in Novo mesto where he attended both primary and secondary grammar school. He studied at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Ljubljana.

During his study years he participated actively in the student organization and he graduated with honours in 1997. Later on, he completed his postgraduate study of economy in Ljubljana.

Mr Macedoni began his first term of office as the mayor of the Municipality of Novo mesto at the end of 2014 and at the end of 2018 he was re-elected. His aim is to transform Novo mesto into a municipality where it is pleasant to live, work, study and entertain oneself.

Novo mesto is the seventh largest town in Slovenia. Photo by Novo mesto Municipality

Mayor Macedoni, please describe the picturesque municipality of Novo mesto in a few sentences.

Novo mesto offers a great living and working environment. It is located in the centre of south-eastern Slovenia, halfway between Ljubljana and Zagreb. The town is known for its rich archaeological heritage, dating back to the Iron Age situlas.

Today, Novo mesto is the capital of the Slovenian export economy and the most dynamic municipality in Slovenia. Besides successful companies, the recognisable symbols of our town are the Krka river, the renovated town centre with its cathedral chapter, the green hills of Gorjanci, and the wine-growing region with scattered vineyard cottages.

One of the main aims of Novo mesto is to become a “smart city”. Not only are you hard at work preparing the Development Strategy of the Municipality of Novo mesto up to 2030, but the municipality is also developing numerous projects in this regard. Could you please tell us more about the most significant of them?

In cooperation with other municipalities and some breakthrough Slovenian companies, we are developing an innovative project called Smart City. At this point, this is mainly about collecting and analysing data from different Internet of Things sensors or about remote control.

We have made the first two steps in developing a “smart city”, enhancing our competence in data collection and data analysis in order to achieve better decision-making and more efficient resource management. Our projects include air quality analysis, monitoring of parking space availability, energy efficiency and remote resource management (energy, water, etc.), the measurement of both vehicle speed and traffic density, remote lighting control, and smart lighting, among other things.

Sustainable mobility is a crucial element of the development of the municipality. What new good practices are you planning to implement in this field?

As part of the quest for more sustainable mobility, we are implementing different measures to reduce the pollution caused by everyday traffic. We are expanding our network of cycling routes by upgrading the existing tracks and building new ones.

Two years ago, we started the bike rental system GoNm, which has become very popular with the residents, so we want to expand the system every year by adding new stations and new electric bikes. There are eleven public charging stations for electric cars in Novo mesto, as we are striving to encourage the use of electric vehicles by our residents.

Additionally, an electric minibus will be available for getting around the renovated town centre, we are developing a car sharing system, and we have set up a free transport system for the elderly and the disabled. Our pupils have accepted the walk-to-school “bus” project, “Pešbus”, which includes all the schools of Novo mesto, very well.

We promote sustainable mobility even more widely, as we are among the initiators of the revitalisation of the railway connection between Ljubljana and Zagreb. Our efforts in this area have not gone unnoticed; we were the 3rd best municipality in the field of e-mobility at the E-mobility Conference awards in 2019.

One year ago, the Novo mesto Olympic Centre opened its doors. How has this huge investment changed the look of the city?

The Novo mesto Olympic Centre developed out of the former velodrome, and today it offers both a velodrome track for cyclists and the only athletics hall with a circular track in line with all the standards of the International Athletics Association. It is a unique facility in Slovenia and the wider region, as there are no comparable facilities within a 500 km radius (Vienna−Milan−Belgrade).

In the first year of operation, we were able to see the potential of this acquisition; both national and foreign athletes are excited about the training conditions, and some of the biggest competitions were organised on the cycling tracks, both national and international. We have even more ambitious plans for the facility, as we want to upgrade it with the first swimming pool complex in Novo mesto in the near future.

Another success in 2019 was the award for the developmentally most propulsive municipality in Slovenia. How can Novo mesto serve as an example to other municipalities throughout the country?

The award for the most propulsive municipality confirmed to us that we are on the right track. The conscious decision to no longer miss out on opportunities in development, but to create opportunities ourselves, has triggered an ambitious cycle of investments that we are still successfully pursuing.

What are your main goals and what are you planning to develop in the near future to make Novo mesto a better place to live in?

In our 2030 Development Strategy, we have set out a vision for a smart, sustainable, inclusive municipality, with the systems of the broader local community working for the benefit of the residents. This is the mission we will continue to pursue, but there are certain challenges ahead.

We will continue to strive for improvement in regional road connections, and the project of improvements in hydraulics; we can demonstrate a concrete start to regulating housing policy; we intend to upgrade the Novo mesto Olympic Centre with a swimming pool complex; we are continuing to develop the town centre and the village centres to make them more attractive and convenient, and soon we will be able to stroll across the Krka river on new modern footbridges.

How would you evaluate the necessity of a portal that brings together the best practices of European municipalities and aims to keep the citizens informed about the latest developments in local policies, such as How can our platform be useful to your administration?

Sharing good practice is one of the best ways to further development. Local communities across Europe have similar challenges, experiences, solutions and opportunities to collaborate. I believe that web portal will enhance networking and collaboration, so that together we can build an environment of better quality for the residents of our municipalities to live in.

To find out more about Novo mesto, visit the profile of the municipality.



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