The Hegyvidék Council has received a valuable award in the Community Development category of a competition held by the Association for Urban Development. The award, depicting intertwining ceramic hands, was presented to Mayor Zoltán Pokorni on 6 July 2021.
At the award ceremony held at the Magnet House, the association's president, Dávid Szebeni, called it a niche initiative to hold a competition for municipal projects developed in 2020. Recognizing exemplary initiatives provides an opportunity for professionals to learn about the country's ongoing municipal development efforts and to draw inspiration from the most innovative projects, said Mr Szebeni.
Dr Krisztián Tas, a board member with decades of experience in the day-to-day tasks of urban development, spoke of the need to change the investment-centric approach. Construction projects are obviously a spectacle, but expenses of maintenance far exceed the initial costs during the decades of use. It is best if an approach focusing on services, i.e., long-term use, is taken already at the planning table. This ensures that developments are integrated into the life of communities. Because a community is more than its population: it is held together by the daily internal cohesion of a thousand invisible threads based on local patriotism.
According to the jury, which included researchers from the University of Szeged, the award winners mainly included innovative and people-centred projects. A non-exhaustive list includes the BP Fatár application for smart devices, providing a detailed, publicly available, inventory of the capital's flora and parks. Several of the capital's districts have been recognised for apps coordinating volunteer work offered by residents. These include virtual spaces where the elderly can find help with shopping and collecting prescribed medication, while young people can find help with some of their tougher homework. Rewarded projects also included a modern infrastructure development to serve traditional fairs and initiatives for organizing an economically viable community in an ethnically diverse disadvantaged township.
In praising the Hegyvidék Council's Programme for a Bee Friendly District, the jury was particularly impressed by the success of networking and public involvement. The Hegyvidék Council’s Green Office has implemented a successful local solution to the global challenges of biodiversity loss and pollinator decline. The sustainability of the results is ensured through school educational programmes, organizing walks for a wide range of the population, a nature trail, community beekeeping, and many other elements.
Receiving the award, Mayor Zoltán Pokorni stressed that despite bee pasturages and their mowing becoming a current political issue often featured in daily news, this programme was not borne out of sheer luck but of years of ongoing work. While it takes some getting used to the wild boars that regularly show up in the winter, the squirrels of the district are easy to live with, and the insects feared for their stings are just becoming our friends with the help of the newly awarded programme. It is through a variety of ways of passing on knowledge and shaping attitudes that we can come to see pollinators as useful and indispensable dwellers in the Hegyvidék area.