The manner in which the Rog Centre has been developed provides a great example of highly community-based, participatory planning of a major public investment. The vision, mission and future programmes of the Rog Centre have been elaborated in close partnership with users and stakeholders through the RogLab pilot project. In 2018, the RogLab team’s development model for the Rog Centre won the EUROCITIES Innovative Award handed out by the Eurocities network.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, the City of Ljubljana took part in Second Chance, a 3-year research project to evaluate the initial plans for the site. This project involved over 300 stakeholders and led to a new vision for the Rog Centre. Since 2012, this new vision has been tested and refined by more than 6,000 users and partners of RogLab, which was set up as a small-scale pilot project. Based on this field work, we have been continuously testing possible organisational, business and user models of the future Rog Centre before the upgraded vision and planned programme for the Rog Centre was submitted for review and approval by 40 stakeholders in 2019.

In May 2021, the City of Ljubljana established the Rog Centre, a new creative centre that is currently carrying out this development process in association with various stakeholders. In the first phase of its existence, the new public institute is focused on implementing the programme and coordinating it with the complex process entailed in renovating a listed building. In the autumn of 2021, a list of equipment was prepared with proposed uses of the shared production labs being identified in partnership with 52 stakeholders that had responded to an open call for proposals or a direct invitation.

Prior to its opening in 2023, the Rog Centre will use participatory methods of including the general public in its activities, concentrating on the following challenges: participatory governance and a participatory budget; the inclusion of creatives from the migrant and refugee population, drafting a set of gender equality recommendations; developing tools that support the cross-sectoral creation of socially beneficial products; the layout of the Rog Centre’s park; establishing the criteria to ensure the organisation’s sustainable development. The Rog Centre has established six working groups tasked with producing practical solutions for implementation in 2022 and 2023.