Green spaces revitalised and new communal facilities created in Máriapócs, Hungary

The Hungarian town of Máriapócs has implemented a ‘green city’ concept to become more environmentally sustainable. The project, supported by EU funding, comprised three main elements: the redevelopment of a public park; the renovation of publicly owned commercial pavilions and their connections to utility infrastructure; and the construction of a farm building with a floor area of over 35 m².

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The redeveloped public park in Máriapócs. ©Máriapócs City Council/Zsolt Bagi (2019) The redeveloped public park in Máriapócs. ©Máriapócs City Council/Zsolt Bagi (2019)

" As a result of this successful project, Máriapócs has become a more attractive, homey and eco-friendly small town. Improving the living conditions of the local population, increasing local community cohesion and revitalising the economy are particularly important goals and the project has greatly contributed to reaching them. "

Bertalan Papp, Mayor of Máriapócs

Almost 570 inhabitants have directly benefited from the project, which has provided them with more than 12 000 m² of new green space. To ensure the security of this space, a camera system was installed.

Other activities included raising awareness of environmental issues and the need for an integrated approach to sustainable development. Events were organised to promote crime prevention, road safety and public security. Work was done to present a positive image of Máriapócs and build human capacity to put the green city concept into practice.

All these activities were designed to garner support for the project and to give residents a sense of ownership of its different features, to encourage them to look after the new assets and use them in an environmentally conscious way.

Closer public-private cooperation

In implementing the project, the municipality’s fundamental purpose was to strengthen long-term cooperation between local authorities and businesses, to enhance coordination of public- and private-sector investment and promote the creation of public-private partnerships. Ensuring that investments are made in a more mutually reinforcing manner should increase their social and economic impact.

By linking these efforts to foster synergies with the renewal of the urban environment, the project combined a contribution to growth with an ecological function. In planning the work, the municipality took account of the need to renovate the green areas and buildings in the most environmentally conscious and climate-friendly fashion possible, while guaranteeing financial sustainability.

Attracting visitors and creating jobs

The authorities’ endeavours have already borne fruit. The revitalised park has helped to strengthen local identity, while the renovation of the commercial pavilions and the construction of the farm building are bolstering the competitiveness of small businesses, thereby generating prosperity and creating jobs.

Furthermore, the recreational opportunities provided through the project and their proximity to the modern town centre have enabled Máriapócs to retain many of its existing residents and attract visitors, and support the growth of religious tourism. This aspect is of particular importance given the town’s status as one of Hungary’s most famous Christian pilgrimage destinations.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Establishing a Green City in Máriapócs” is EUR 837 840 (HUF 259 814 199), with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 837 840 through the “Territorial and Settlement Development” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Development of green urban areas and small-scale environmental protection infrastructure”.

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