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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity — Life of A Designer

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity

Visnja Nikolic

Vesna Frkanec, Ivana Sinobad, and Visnja Nikolic, ages: 28-30
Belgrade, Serbia
“We had the desire to pursue our own vision and ideas.”

Former Occupation: landscape architects / planners
New Career: Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), “FILTER”
Environmental and spatial improvement organization “FILTER” is a voluntary, non-government and non-profit organization, founded in February of 2010. The aims of the organization are the improvement of the environment through encouraging sustainable development and high standards in planning and design of urban and rural areas of Serbia through interdisciplinary approach in the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning, spatial planning, environmental protection, art and culture.

Kids enjoy on the warm, playful concrete cow developed by FILTER

How long have you been unemployed in the traditional market?
All three of us are in a different situation. Some of us have been unemployed for a couple of months; others have been changing jobs and struggling with finding a professionally and financially satisfying position. Ivana, for example, is employed but is looking for more inspiring and professionally challenging opportunities.

Why did you choose your current career path to explore?
There was more than one reason why we decided to start an NGO. On the one hand the situation on the job market, which was tough in Serbia even before the crisis and has even worsened now, has left us in tough positions, either without a steady job or with an unsatisfying one. On the other hand we had the desire to pursue our own vision and ideas. Working in a studio or in a public institution, rarely gets the opportunity to express your ideas for new projects and to address the topics you find important. In our country there are numerous problems which fall into our field of expertise, but these problems are overlooked in the market dictated by investors and real estate laws. These are the problems we want to point out and try to help solve and an NGO is in our opinion, the best way to do that.

Would you have chosen this career if traditional market path was still an option?
The lack of employment opportunities was a catalyst that pushed us to take the necessary steps and start this organization. The idea would have still been there, it would just probably have taken us longer to make the decision.

What’s been the most challenging factor thus far?
A few challenges we face consist of understanding the terminology and the procedures from the legislative point of view, finding training for NGO management and funding, and other useful trainings for beginners such as how to write project proposals.

Future goals/aspirations:
We are very determined and motivated so we have a ambitious list that includes:

  • Promotion of the principle of sustainable development and contemporary trends in landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning and spatial planning;
  • Identifying the problems and participating in finding solutions for the devastated and endangered natural, rural and urban environments through specific projects and workshops;
  • Enhancing the ‘image of the’ city by encouragement of the reconstruction of endangered and devastated localities in urban public spaces;
  • Encouraging implementation of high standards and recognition of professional, scientific and artistic aspects and values of planning;
  • Promotion of modern trends in shaping and design of urban and rural landscapes;
  • Promotion of environmental principles in architecture, landscape architecture and planning;
  • Popularization, protection and promotion of architectural and natural heritage;
  • Educating and informing citizens in order to raise awareness, and the activate local community initiatives for the improvement of the living space

Related Link on the Recovery in Architecture:

Featured Graph by – http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

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About Sirobe Carstafhnur


  1. James says:

    Excellent Article!! This is great posititve and uplifting news! GO MISSISSIPPI!!! And the south…and Serbia :) Keep it up guys and best of luck for the future!


  2. Phillip Rogers says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. It opens my eyes to fact that people majoring in engineering used to have a guaranteed job after graduation, but because of the economy nothing is guaranteed anymore.

  3. Stacy says:

    great article. it’s always uplifting to hear how people make the most of what could be a negative situation. gotta stay positive! good luck and great site!

  4. Ms T says:

    great article about a great friend of mine who has taken what could have been a potentially devastating situation, and turned it into an opportunity to follow a life long dream! Just goes to show that losing your job is not always a bad thing…especially when you have the foresight, determination, and guts required to start your own business…in this economy, it is really the only way to know that you will have some type of job security…you are never safe these days in the workforce. I am very proud of Joseph and anyone else who takes the bulls by the horns, and does not let the state of the economy determine their future…kudos Jo, and I KNOW that you will be a success, and I wish the best of luck to others in the same situation.

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