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Maribor is the centre of the Podravje region of north-eastern Slovenia. With a population of around 110,000, Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city.
Maribor Has many great assets: fantastic geography at a crossroads between four great European capitals; a proud industrial heritage; easy access to wonderful places for hiking, skiing and cycling; relatively affordable living costs; great climate; a vibrant creative scene; productive agriculture, horticulture and forests; and the Drava river.
Unfortunately, Maribor has also seen a gradual decline in economic vibrancy and quality of life for many years. Unemployment and poverty levels are above the national average, while wages are below. The average age of Maribor residents is higher and increasing faster than the rest of Slovenia. Many citizens don’t feel like they could, or should, take the lead in improving the city.
Our goal is to reverse these trends and make Maribor a truly magnificent city that young people are moving to, with vibrant high-value jobs for all, sought out by visitors who stay a while, and one of Europe’s first cities to achieve climate-neutrality. The mission is to make Maribor into one of the best possible places to live, work and visit in Europe and achieve climate neutrality by 2030.
For example. Maribor could be a regional centre for regenerative food. The Podravje region around Maribor has the most farms in Slovenia. However, fragmentation, inefficiency, and low innovation means that local agricultural value chains have high transaction costs and poorly meet demand from the urban area. Intensive farming practices still prevail, with associated high environmental costs, degradation of water resources, and climate vulnerability.
To the west fo Maribro, in the Pohorje hills, there are significant forest and timber resources. These resources are not yet widely utilised for production of high-value wood products or bio-materials; nor is residual biomass harnessed efficiently as a clean energy source. Revitalising Maribor’s industrial heritage to create a vibrant 21st century bioeconomy is another major opportunity.
As well as biomass energy resources, Maribor has established hydro-power assets on each side of the city and significant solar power generation potential. Nevertheless, the city still remains largely dependent on fossil-fuels for heating buildings and mobility. A community-led transformation of energy and mobility systems could create much cleaner and fairer systems that help to grow local prosperity. In 2022 Maribor also committed to the EU Mission for Climate Neutral cities by 2030.
In recent times Maribor has been successful in creating a series of actions and gaining EU recognition in the area of circular economy. This however has yet to come together into a really systemic portfolio of transformative circular economy actions.
The central city has many attractive buildings, and recent progress has been made with the refurbishment of these, along with public spaces, but progress remains patchy and the combined effect is a central city that is still far from being a destination that is highly competitive with other cities in the region.
We continue to work to turn assets into opportunity and to make Maribor Magnificent.