POGON is the direct result of the advocacy and activism of the organizations focused on finding the solution to the problem of insufficient infrastructure for independent cultural activities in Zagreb.
It was initiated by the coalition of NGOs consisting of two national networks; one independent culture network – Clubture Network, and the other made up of youth organizations – Croatian Youth Network, the local collaborative platform Zagreb – Cultural Capital of Europe 3000, and three independent cultural clubs: Močvara, Attack!, and MaMa. The coalition initiated a comprehensive advocacy process in early 2005, few months before the local elections. For the first time, the needs of independent culture and youth in Zagreb were clearly articulated, publicly discussed, and defined in a policy document signed by the future political decision-makers. In parallel with public discussions, media activities and protest actions, the coalition organized a series of events, Operation:City, which every year focused on a different specific issue important for the urban development of a modern city. Through various formats and forms of artistic expression, Operation:City temporarily occupied various abandoned locations and, among other things, promoted the idea of a cultural centre which Pogon was modelled after. The first Operation:City was held in one of the few remaining former factory sites that had not fallen prey to commercialization (the industrial site of Badel-Gorica). Over the period of ten days the space was temporarily occupied by over 50 programmes from more than 30 independent cultural organizations, drawing over 15,000 visitors. On the occasion, the city mayor promised to save the space for public use and use it as a cultural and youth centre.
Since 2009, under the management of Emina Višnić and the entire team, Pogon has grown into an important venue for the production and presentation of art and culture, not only for the independent cultural scene, but also for the entire cultural landscape of the city.