MÚSES+ Veľký Šariš


The construction of the R4 – the northern bypass of Prešov – brought a challenging situation. Although it relieves the traffic in the surrounding areas, it has also caused unintended negative impacts on nature. The municipal management of Veľký Šariš city has therefore initiated a project on the Local Territorial System of Ecological Stability (MÚSES) with added social value (+).

In the framework of this project, the city obtained the strategic document MÚSES+. The document offers a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of the environment and concrete proposals for a more environmentally friendly and sustainable planning of the landscape, urban design, tourism,… of the city as a whole.

Veľký Šariš is the first city in Slovakia to have an MÚSES document linked to other disciplines and developed in a participatory way, i.e. with public involvement. The project team communicated directly with approximately 300 people, but the project activities were seen by an estimated more than two thousand locals.

About the project and the role of Spolka

The project focuses primarily on nature (MÚSES) and above that also on spatial development, tourism and the experiences and needs of the locals (+).

The project took place in 2022. Initially, civic associations Take naše, huba and Spolka worked on it. In addition, the project and the authoring of the document involved: the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Informatics (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra), GIS Services, Veľký Šariš city, selected representatives of public authorities, private and third sector, active locals, professional public from the region, tourism actors and last but not least the general public living in the area of Veľký Šariš and Kanaš.

We have talked in more detail about the development of the document, for example at the PARTICIPATION 2.0 conference. Watch the trailer. You can watch the full presentation online (in the Slovak language).

Using a bespoke methodology, Spolka delivered

– internal participation of the interdisciplinary team:
Project management, meeting facilitation, minutes, online and offline tools for focused collaborative work, workshops for interprofessional alignment, methodology in making recommendations for future development, project management,

– communication between the local municipality, the expert team and the professional and lay public:
facilitation of meetings with the municipality, creation and facilitation of visioning workshops, regular information flow,

Participation of active local and stakeholder groups: workshop to discuss ideas for the future development of the city's environment with interest groups at round Tables. © Spolka
– participation of the professional and lay public in the development of the evaluation and recommendations for the development of the city's environment:
a questionnaire, mapping survey, exhibition, series of meetings with the professional and lay public at “Round Tables,” interviews at a total of 6 mobile exhibition object “Cycloriksha” activities and gathering feedback on the document,

Participation of the general public during the cultural event of the season-opening ceremony at the local castle. © Spolka
– overall design and communication strategy of the project:
visual identity, information posters and leaflets, articles in local newspapers, radio and online communication channels of the city, exhibition

– editorial work and responsibility for the overall quality of the final strategy document,

 © Spolka
– caring atmosphere of the project.

Public participation at the "Cycloriksha": during the launch of the MÚSES+ project at Šariš Castle, we also thought about the care and involvement of different age groups. © Spolka

About the document MÚSES+

The MUSES+ document was produced in November 2022 through work that brought together a number of disciplines together with landscape ecology. Given the comprehensive approach to the issue of sustainable urban development and the creation of the MÚSES+, which includes urban planning, tourism, society and participation in addition to ecology and landscape, it was necessary to divide the document into two supporting parts to maintain clarity and readability:

Download the full version of the interactive MÚSES+ document (in the Slovak language.


The MÚSES methodology was followed as a priority when designing the project and compiling the content and structure of the document. There was a very limited time available to complete the document, approximately 10 months. At the same time, the project was developed in a participatory manner – throughout the entire duration of the project, within the limits of this time constraint, both the professional and lay public were involved in the content development. The work was divided into three main stages, according to the three parts of the document:

The work is a practical basis, especially for people who are responsible for urban design, landscape design and environment design in Veľký Šariš. The results of the project enable a more precise approach to long-term sustainable development. The means for this are the recommendations that the document makes for specific projects and activities. These can be financed from the city's environmental compensation for the construction of the expressway. The project focuses primarily on nature but does not neglect tourism, spatial development and people's experiences with the environment and the development of the city and the region. It takes into account their needs and requirements.

In addition, the document can be a source of information, for example, for experts in the field of ecology and the environment, natural resource management (agriculture, forestry and water management), people who are interested in this issue from the ranks of the professional and lay public or people living in the city.


The project team interacted directly with approximately 300 people, but the project activities were seen by an estimated more than two thousand locals.

The involvement of the general public was at first through a questionnaire and a feeling map. All MÚSES+ teams were involved in their development. These activities aimed to create an opportunity for those who usually do not have the time or space to present their opinion actively (e.g. during a workshop) to have their say. Locals could fill in the questionnaire and feelings map and send it through the local monthly newspaper Veľkošarišan or online. There was low participation in the surveys. As this was not a representative survey and the material was used to define questions for further activities with the public, this level of involvement was acceptable.

Another form of involvement was the “Cycloriksha” - a mobile exhibition object with information about the project pulled by a bicycle - the experts of the project toured cultural events with it, walked through the streets of the city and exhibited it in the local library. With its use, the team gave updates on the milestones while collecting people's reactions and suggestions. At the final exhibition, it displayed in a simplified and visually appealing form all available information about the project, what it contains, what process it is going through and what has happened so far. It also included the collection of feedback through a comment map of the first draft of the document.

The most beneficial in terms of content were the moderated discussions, which were regularly attended by about 40 people from local authorities, the business sector, non-profit organizations, tourism, services and others. The basis for the debates were the results of the questionnaire, the feeling map and the results of the Cycloriksha activities. Round Tables 1.0 were held in June. Through them, we got to know each other's perceptions, demands and ideas about the development of the environment of the city and the surrounding area. The outcome was a prioritization of activities, topics and areas that those involved and those participating have in their competencies and also which they think the document should contain. In August, Round Tables 2.0 were held – the output was feedback on the first technical outputs of the project, as well as on the incorporation of previous participatory activities (including Tables 1.0) and a draft course of comments. In October, Round Tables 3.0 took place – presentation and commenting on the first draft of the MESES+ document, with emphasis on city and larger area concepts. Thus, people had an influence on the draft before it was professionally finalised.

To improve the clarity of the project and its outputs, a communication and awareness strategy was also developed. Within this strategy, a unique visual language for the project was developed, as well as an information and media campaign. For communication, the team drew on the Easy to Read and Gender Correct Language methodologies and training (Cviková et al. 2014).


Team and funding

doc. RNDr. Peter Mederly, PhD. – principal researcher, Landscape team
MSc. Simeon Vaňo, PhD. – researcher, Landscape team
Ing. arch. Pavol Mészáros, PhD. – researcher, Urbanism team
MgA. Viktória Mravčáková – researcher, Urbanism team, part: public spaces\ Mgr. Eva Kocanová– researcher, Tourism team
Ing. Soňa Kožárová – researcher, Tourism team
Daniela Surmiková – researcher, Tourism team
Mgr. Lýdia Grešáková – researcher, team Co-creation
Ing. arch., Ing. Katarína Onderková – researcher, team Co-creation

Peter Beňo (urbanism), Ondrej Bodnár (map system tablano), RNDr. Matej Dudáš, PhD. (botany), prof. RNDr. Juraj Hreško, PhD. (geomorphology and geology), Mgr. et Mgr. art. Barbora Krejčová (design and communication), Lukáš Lengyel (language proofreading), Mgr. et Mgr. Zuzana Révészová (sociological research), Mgr. Michal Ševčík, PhD. (data analysis, GIS), Zuzana Tabačková, MA (co-creation), Jakub Tkáčik (urbanism), doc. RNDr. Marcel Uhrin, PhD. (zoology).

The project was financed from the budget of the City of Veľký Šariš as part of the environmental compensation for the construction of the R4 – the northern bypass of Prešov in the cadastre of the city. Project website.