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Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia

Our organisation type is:: Research institution

We are active in the following Technologies: other

Action type: Research, Studies, Social Science / Elderly

Applications: Home care, Mobility, Social interaction, Work


The Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UPIRS) was founded in 1955. Today, UPIRS remains the central Slovenian research institution in the fields of spatial planning. The researchers at the UPIRS comprise an interdisciplinary group of experts in various areas and disciplines, including architecture, urban landscape planning, geography, sociology, economics, and other areas. As a result, the scope of research (scientific know-how) at the UPIRS is very broad, encompassing fileds, such as:

– Innovative housing solutions and services for the elderly;
– Ageing at home (e.g. home adaptations, innovative care & health services); 
– ICT for the elderly – telehealth and telecare;
– Planning of living environments for the elderly – age-friendly communities;
– Accessibility for the persons with disabilities;
– Social economy/Social entrepreneurship (for the elderly and persons with disabilities);
– Education of the elderly;
– Environmental gerontology;
– Social innovations;
– Welfare state futures in an ageing society;
– Ageing and farm family business ownership succession studies;
– Other demographic studies.

We endeavor to provide inclusive living and working environments that meet the needs and desires of the elderly and functionally impaired people.


UPIRS carries out research and development projects at the local, regional, national, and international levels, and in its projects it emphasizes the direct transfer of findings to everyday life. UPIRS is responsible in Slovenia for elaborating standards, norms, concepts, guidelines, methodologies, technics, technological solutions and planning criteria as well as for the preparation of proposals  for legislation, national strategies, action plans etc. in planning and designing  urban neighbourghoods, renewal of large housing estates, accessibility for the functionally impaired, housing (including housing needs, solutions and residential care for the elderly), etc. Some selected references of UPIRS:

Impacts of Social Innovation – In-depth study of social innovations’ potential for social change (submitted project proposal – in evaluation). 7th framework programme of the EU, SSH.2013.3.2-1 Social Innovation – empowering people, changing societies?

Virtual Tours (submitted project proposal – in evaluation). 7th framework programme of the EU, ICT-2013.5.3 ICT for smart and personalised inclusion, (a) Accessible and intuitive solutions for personalised interfaces to smart environments and innovative services.

A telecare system for the elderly: with particular focus on elderly care in peripherial rural areas in Slovenia. Research (2009−2011) funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.

Demographic change in the Alps: Adaptation strategies to spatial planning and regional development. Research (2009−2012) funded by the Alpine Space Programme, the EU international cooperation programme for the Alps.

Identification of present barriers in the built environment and in major public buildings in Slovenia. Research (2009−2011) funded by the Slovenian Research Agency and Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.

Measures for the realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities to barrier-free access. Research (2008−2009) funded by the Slovenian Research Agency and Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.

Free movements and equal opportunities for all (LivingAll). Research (2007−2009) funded by the 6th framework programme of the EU.

Restate: Restructuring large housing estates in European cities: Good practices and new visions for sustainable neighbourhoods and cities. Research (2002−2006) funded by the 5th framework programme of the EU.

The housing situation of the elderly: analysis of the situation, needs and desires. Research  (1999−2001) funded by the Real estate fund of pension and disability insurance.

Planning and design of the built environment for the benefit of functionally impaired people. Research (1998−2000) funded by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.

Guidelines for the construction of housing for old people with a focus on sheltered housing. Research (1996−1998) funded by Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.

Elderly people in space: recommendations for landscape urban planning. Research (1995−1997) funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.

Residential care for the needs of the elderly residents of the city of Ljubljana. Research (1995−1996) funded by the Municipality of Ljubljana.



Target groups/stakeholders mobilization

UIPRS has a lot of experience in participatory approaches. As the institution authorized by the Slovenian government for the elaboration of standards, norms, etc. in the fields of spatial planning, it is capable of mobilizing a large number of stakeholders and target groups. These may include:

– elderly care institutions (old people’s homes, sheltered housing institutions etc.),

– health centres,

– social care institutions,

– centers for social work,

– disabled people organisations,

– associations of elderly people,

– open university institutions,

– housing agencies,

– pensioners’ housing fund,

– housing management companies,

– private spatial planning and management companies,

– environmental and housing designing companies,

– municipal urban planners,

– public utility providers (e.g. providers of ICT’s etc),

– local administration organisations,

– civil society organisations,

– tenent organisations,

– other non-governmental organisations, etc.

It must be noted that UPIRS, as a neutral research institution, does not formally represent any of the above mentioned groups of stakeholders. In the performance of its activities as a professional organisation, the institute strives to address all relevant stakeholder groups in accordance with the requirements and aims of each particular research project. UPIRS considers the mobilisation of stakeholders as a precondition to designing optimum solutions and ensuring success in the realisation of the aims of the research projects.



In addition to research, UPIRS also  participates actively in Slovenia and abroad t in undergraduate and graduate education as well as  in international exchanges. UPIRS organizes conferences, symposia, consultations, lectures, workshops, courses, and exhibitions. For example, UPIRS has organized  many national and international conferences, such as:

– European Network for Housing Research (ENHR): Housing in an Expanding Europe:  Theory, Policy, Implementation and Participation, Ljubljana, July 2006 (360 participants, 32 countries);

– Final conference of 5th FW EU RESTATE project: Restructuring large scale housing estates in Europe: policies, practice and perspective, Ljubljana, May 2005 (220 participants, 12 countries);

– Housing and Urbanisation: Trends and Perspective. Ljubljana, November 2004.



Through its press, UPIRS publishes research and technical publications as well as the journal Urbani izziv (‘Urban Challenge’), which is, presently, the most comprehensive journal in Central and Eastern Europe in the field of spatial planning (see web: It also boasts of the largest collection of research and technical literature in all fields of spatial planning in Slovenia, which is available to both professionals and the general public at the UPIRS’s library.



UPIRS is an active member of The European Network for Housing Research. (ENHR) consists of more than 20 working groups, including:

− Housing & living conditions of ageing populations

− The residential context of health

− Social housing in Europe: institutional and organisational dynamics

− Welfare policy, homelessness, and social exclusion.

UPIRS is an active member of The International Federation of Housing and Planning(IFHP), which is a world-wide network of professional institutions and individuals of many signatures active in the broad fields of housing, urban development and planning. It seeks to further the gradual evolution of the profession itself and to help provide solutions for specific problems. It is in touch with the latest developments and general policy trends. IFHP provokes discussions between experts, politicians and interest groups while there is still time, i.e. before final decisions have to be made in order to solve certain problems.

UPIRS took  part  in the ESF SCSS Exploratory Workshop entitled Evidence-based environmental design for older people: From initiation to dissemination, enhancing the paradigm of design research (Portsmouth (UK), 20−23 September 2009), which is now growing into the ESF network.

Contact details


Dr. Bostjan Kerbler
Phone: +386 1 420 13 38


Urban Planning Institute of the republic of Slovenia
Trnovski pristan 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana