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Arhitektura i urbanizam
2017, iss. 45, pp. 15-27
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
published on: 12/01/2018
doi: 10.5937/a-u0-14278
Creative Commons License 4.0
Geothermal energy use in terms of a more balanced & sustainable urban-rural development of Southeast Serbia, with focus on Nis region
aTU Graz, Faculty of architecture, Austrija
bUniveristy of Niš, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture



The surrounding of Nis has been known for various geothermal manifestations (see Figure 3 and 4). The city itself has direct use of Nis Spa, where a couple of sites have been used for balneology and where heating systems have been installed. However, other local resources in Nis surrounding are little known. Also, Sokobanja has a long history of thermal waters 'use throughout its rich history, from the Antiquity throughout the middle ages and Turkish rule. This is also present in towns of Bela Palanka and Svrljig in South-East Serbian region surrounding Nis. These resources can be used for supplying the cities and villages with heat in the future. More importantly, communities in local towns in the region can be supported by more proficient use of geothermal potentials, as this idea supports the alleviated concentration of inhabitants in the region. It supports local renewable energy sources and a greater ration between potentials and actual use of geothermal sources, which tends to be very low in Serbian cities and rural places. In this paper, these resources are going to be presented, for the community in Serbia to have an insight and to be reminded of its potentials and significance for regional development and local resource utilization. Built heritage and urban-architectural wholes in some of these towns and in the villages, are neglected and geothermal resources in their vicinity underused. A more organized use of geothermal potentials can lead to their regenerations. It can support the idea of a more balanced rural-urban development of the region of Nis. However, geothermal energy can also be beneficial for future regional energy planning and cooperation between towns and villages in South-Eastern Serbian regions like Nis region. And this can be an important strategy in regional planning and energy planning for the future, once the economic crisis would stop to prevail in Serbia. The authors of this paper point out to the long-term planning opportunity of Nis region, once geothermal energy is made more accessible and the constraints, being mostly of financial nature, however of societal nature, are minimized. The problem of the equilibrium between the city and its surrounding rural places can be made through the local resource's utilization, such as geothermal, where this can be applicable or in combination with other renewable sources available at the locale (solar, biomass etc.). It is of great importance that the regions in Serbia cooperate in terms of geothermal energy planning. Various studies in Vojvodina are beneficial for Nis region. On the example of Reykjavik in Iceland, one can draw lessons on urban sprawl that has been influenced by the abundance of energy despite the clean energy utilization. Nis as a city is characterized by urban sprawling and environmental burden created by fossil fuel use and this can be further mitigated by utilizing geothermal and more importantly, strategic rural-urban planning with the existing geothermal resources. A change for the individual user still must make a 'break-through' for renewable energy to 'pay off'. In terms of geothermal application in rural places, there is a question of densities of the end users, that still should be tackled as a problem in the future of urban planning for the Nis region. As recommendations of this paper, a new initiative for achieving long-term planning goals is suggested, involving more profound geothermal energy utilization in the region of Nis as one of the possible generators for sustaining the urban-rural development of the region in the long run. Next thing to do would be to do long-term research involving multidisciplinary teams and to come closer to developing maps of geothermal potentials and their connection to urban and spatial planning of the region in the future. This is important for achieving a contra-weight to the existing inert energy situation and to the common global city strategy in planning cities such as Nis.


geothermal energy; historical development; sustainable rural-urban environment; local energy resources; planning


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