Town Hall Event in Novo Mesto

January 2023

On the 17th of January 2023, the municipality of Novo Mesto held a their Town Hall Event as part of their Pilot’s co-creation activities. The event was organsied at the Janez Trdina Cultural Center. The goal of this pilot is to revitalise the area in Češča vas with new recreational areas in nature and encourage physical activity with development of an offer and services for a healthy lifestyle as well as recreation activities for vulnerable groups in the society.

Novo Mesto’s pilot team presented an overview of the project and an update on the implementation of the different Visionary Solutions. The aim of this VARCITIES’s pilot is to use state-of-the-art technology as an incentive and support to a healthy lifestyle in the sports and recreation centre in Češča vas, which will be a complete unit presenting a coexistence of nature, recreational and top-quality sports facilities.

During this event, a special focus was given to the state-of-the-art digital technology developed by VARCITIES to facilitate each pilot project, with detailed presentation on the Health & Wellbeing digital platform and the HoloLens augmented reality headsets. The participants had the opportunity to test the HoloLens AR headsets and were positively surprised by the possibility of intertwining the real and virtual worlds.

Pilot Manager Peter Geršič pointed out that the area of Češča vas is an ideal environment that allows spending time in nature and performing sports activities on areas surrounded by greenery and forest, which is a great advantage compared to other cities and we can be proud and exploit natural resources. The Sports Recreation Centre in Češča vas will include a park for motoric activities, a place for gatherings and picnics, an equestrian center, a multi-purpose hall, an indoor swimming pool and a camp site with the main purpose to encourage movement in nature and a healthy lifestyle not just competition-oriented exercise.

Novo Mesto’s Pilot has a strong digital component: information technologies will support the entire operation of the centre. The facilities of the sports and recreation centre will be managed through a common platform, which will include a system for managing communication with the users and for collecting and managing data collected through Internet of Things sensors installed throughout the centre. The sensors for tracking and detecting the movement of visitors will allow for an overview of the flow of people. Public screens installed in the centre will display real-time data on climate parameters and air quality, as well as programme schedules and other activities taking place. A central website with an overview of the offer, occupancy of facilities and activities taking place in the centre, a reservation system for all facilities and a platform for managing data and visitors is under construction. All the clubs and societies that will carry out activities in the centre will be posted on the website so that the users will have the opportunity to join their programmes through the reservation system. A digital twin which is a digital copy of the centre where the visitors will be able to explore the centre’s facilities with the help of an avatar is also being prepared. Furthermore, with the GoNature game for smartphones the visitors will have an overview of the offer and the facilities of the sports centre, the history of Novo Mesto and obtain useful information about Natura 2000.

The Health & Wellbeing digital platform was also presented at the event. The platform will show the movement trend that is the result of different sports activities in the centre. The HoloLens augmented reality glasses were also presented, the product that allows us to display and interact with real scenes with information and virtual objects in real time. The participants were able to test the use of the glasses and were surprised by the possibility of intertwining the real and virtual worlds.

At the core of VARCITIES, we believe that nature-based solutions are inevitably unique and context-specific. This is why the co-creation process together with local communities is an important aspect of our Project and it represents a key moment of participation.