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Environment and Infrastructure in Slovakia

The Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram in East Euro­pean Stud­ies at the Uni­versi­ty of Re­gens­burg and LMU Mu­nich organ­izes an annu­al sum­mer school in East­ern Eu­rope for its stu­dents. From Sep­tem­ber 18 to 26, 2022, the 17th and 18th co­horts worked on the topics of envi­ron­ment and infra­struc­ture at the sum­mer school in Slo­vakia.


The stu­dents visit­ed the hy­droe­lectric power plant in Gabčíkovo-Nagy­maros with Igor Matečný (Co­meni­us Uni­versi­ty Brati­slava). Peter Paulík (Slo­vak Tech­nical Uni­versi­ty of Brati­slava) led a guid­ed tour about the bridg­es of Brati­slava and their con­struc­tion meth­ods in Slo­vakia. In addi­tion, in a lec­ture at the Goe­the-Institut Brati­slava on "Ex­plor­ing Pre­sent Fu­ture," urban plan­ner Mi­lota Si­do­rová intro­duced vari­ous as­pects of urban de­sign, such as the social con­se­quences of cli­mate change and what urban de­sign for a di­verse socie­ty should look like.

Banská Štiavnica and the High Tatras

The students’ next destination was the old mining town of Banská Štiavnica. There the students of the Elite Graduate Program "East European Studies" learned about the changing de­mands on infra­struc­ture over time and the struc­tural change from indus­try to tour­ism taking place at the same time.

The last desti­nation of the sum­mer school was the High Ta­tras. There, tourist guide Ivana Figo­vá gave a knowledge­able guid­ed tour with a view to the ten­sion be­tween nature con­serva­tion and tour­ism. This can be expe­rienced very well in the High Ta­tras. On the one hand, the moun­tains are a na­tional park and habi­tat for vari­ous ani­mal and plant spe­cies. This uniqueness has at­tract­ed peo­ple since the nine­teenth centu­ry. The pres­ence of ho­tels, winter sports facili­ties and roads has irrev­oca­bly changed its na­ture. In Figo­vá’s words, "we have to make the deci­sion: Na­tional Park or amusement park."

Social Infrastructure

A spe­cial attrac­tion of the sum­mer school was its com­posi­tion. With their dif­ferent disci­pli­nary back­grounds, inter­ests, lan­guage skills and life expe­rienc­es, the stu­dents were able to dis­cuss these and other topics con­tro­ver­sially and make new dis­cover­ies in the pro­cess. Espe­cially in in­for­mal set­tings, new con­nec­tions emerged that would prob­ably never have come into being with­out this sum­mer school – and this, too, is a kind of infra­struc­ture that shapes ac­tion.


Text: Johannes Nüßer, Elite Graduate Program "East European Studies"