Lake Milada

Civitas Secures Second Place by Committing to the Community in an International Competition

The Lake Milada International Landscape, Urban and Architectural Design Competition, was hosted by Palivový kombinát Ústí, s.p. (PKU) in the Czech Republic in 2021. PKU is a state-owned enterprise tasked with the remediation and reclamation of former lignite coal mines in the Czech Republic, and with the revitalization of the affected landscapes and communities. 

Through more than a year of intense planning and design, and complex collaboration with a global team that Civitas co-led with 4ct during a global pandemic, we were able to develop a masterplan for the revitalization of the community encompassing Lake Milada. We are incredibly proud that our submission won the competition’s second prize.

Despite population decline in recent decades, Lake Milada has a rich history in mining, farming and other industries, so we could easily forsee the potential to draw people from all over the region, the country, and the continent; and we know tourism can be a powerful economic driver. But for long-term sustainability and success, we also knew we needed to develop a plan that was focused on the goal of creating better, more livable communities first with better access to Lake Milada. Then, with a strong, locally focused foundation, tourism could follow more organically.

Our submittal covered everything from the architectural details of structures, a detailed grading and planting strategy, all the way up to the kind of governmental transitions and policies that would be required over the long term. We advised on the formation of regional state enterprise ownership and management to the formation of local clusters that would empower local residents, stakeholders, and experts to have a say in their community’s development. And, knowing that residents would want quiet places to be in nature, we were very strategic about where and how we designed access to the lake, in order to balance residents’ daily use versus weekend recreation and tourism.

We also recommended ways to integrate retail shops—for example, paddleboard shops on the lake front—with specific places and processes to manufacture the products being sold. This integrated approach would leverage the long-established manufacturing base in the region and create jobs for local residents, while also bringing a sense of branding to the towns that could ultimately become known as sources of unique locally manufactured products. This kind of strategic vision helps to bolster a community’s long-term resilience by giving local residents a sense of purpose and pride, and a livelihood.

Lake Milada, Most Basin, Czech Republic

Master planning, Landscape design