Stockholm on the Move

Ideas, visions and challenges for a city in transition

NUT Cambodia

– Regional Urban Forum

    After the NUT program in Indonesia and Myanmar, Färgfabriken got the opportunity and resources to implement a program also in Cambodia, in cooperation with HEINRICH BÖLL STIFTUNG. The purpose is to create a network in the region for exchanges in culture, architecture, urban planning and issues related to human rights.

    Cambodia has been one of the world's poorest countries, but GDP has now risen for a number of years, though in rural areas poverty remains high. Respect for human rights has long been a problem in the country.

    Due to the political situation in which many organizations working on human rights issues have been harassed by the authorities, Färgfabriken chose to organize a first NUT as a regional conference in Bangkok, Thailand on March 23-24, 2018, with participants from Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand. A second meeting took place in the idyllic coastal town of Kep in Cambodia in November 16-17, 2018. Both times, several representatives of Cambodian human rights organizations, as well as architects and organizations with experience of working processes involving citizens and civil society, participated. Due to the sensitive situation in the country and given the participants, we have chosen not to post names and pictures of the participants.

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    Below a few quotes from participants in workshop and seminar in Kep, Cambodia:

    "Trash treatment is an example of a specific issue that could be used to integrate architecture and urban problems. Lessons learned are to include problems of flooding, access to housing areas and transport roads in trash treatment plans. Advocacy to build infrastructure. Training of residents in trash handling and on land titles. Note that people follow rules only if the rules are convenient for them so any system of trash disposal should be practical and easily accessible. Inform about various kinds of trash. Trash can be reused e g in crafts. This can also generate income. The Initiative should come from the community or else it will not work. Try to set up a pilot project to inspire others. One organization had already developed a trash report app. All trash that cannot be recycled should be collected and NGOs can help arrange that with City Hall and a collection company. Architects can design solutions such as trash bins and access paths. Build with local materiel instead of imported and make sure it is not toxic but is down breakable. Artists can help by illustrating trash handling.”

    "Common interests were urban housing rights and involving residents in arts as a tool in urban planning. It was noted that poor communities are victims of excess trash from wealthier communities and construction. Severe lack of public space in poorer areas. NGOs should identify issues while architects could work on improvements, e. g, on public space. Form teams with artists, architects and NGOs to work together. Artists can also be tasked to convey urban issues to the public. The teams can raise issues and bring them to the public and explain them, but are not necessarily the problem solvers.

    Involve artists in social issues, including writers and photographers to connect people through cultural programs which also contain social issues. Youth and children should be included. Art can deliver reminders of the cultural heritage and history of the city To encourage the three A:s (artists, architects, activists) to engage together why not arrange a fair! But individual persuasion is also necessary.”

    "Our questions on NUT are;
    - How we can connect with each other except at meetings. We should implement a more real and integrated form of practical collaboration to discuss answer some questions that have been put during and after NUT with our partners and friends in the network.

    - In which part of the South East Asian region could we share knowledge and create a sustainable platform concerned with working and creating something together from different disciplines in our region or perhaps with the NUT network?"

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    Yangon Downside Up! By New Urban Topologies

    This program featured multiple sites and discussions, a workshop, street fair and partnerships with some of the cities most exciting and influential organizations like Doh Eain, Bikes in Yangon, and more.
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    Guests from Phnom Penh came to Yangon to share their own experiences working in an ever changing city, and joned New Urban Topologies for an exciting series of discussions, meals, activities and presentations. Let’s Change Yangon for the better with the interest of citizens at its core!

    Car-free Bank Street Fair: Re-imagining Yangon's Streets

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    Doh Eain, the Yangon Heritage Trust and New Urban Topologies present:
    Car-Free Bank Street Fair: Reimagining Yangon's Streets is a half day fair on December 9 to engage residents, street users and the broader Yangon community in re-imagining Bank Street and explore urban issues and solutions more broadly. Guests could join fun activities to promote open and welcoming city streets for public use! The program featured exhibitions, skate boarding performances, BMX performances, biking, street art, creative urban design workshops, a giant chess game, table tennis and much more! In anticipation of ongoing redesign activities of Bank Street, various new lay-out designs and prototypes for urban furniture was also presented.

    Supported by the Heritage Kempinski Hotel and Fargfabriken

    Read more about this in Myanmar Times.


    The Ukrainian Puzzle is a three-year project by Färgfabriken, within the program New Urban Topologies, and local partners in Ukraine, comprising seminars in four cities; Kharkiv, Ternopil, Poltava and Odessa resulting in a travelling exhibition to three of these cities. The touring exhibition was created at the initiative of our Ukrainian partners. Consisting of video films, still pictures and numerous notes and records from the four seminars, the Ukrainian Puzzle exhibition aimed to document the lessons learned from the whole program and to propose guidelines for a future discussion of urban issues. The travelling exhibition was complemented by workshops and events about urban issues of special local interest.
    The Ukrainian Puzzle has crystallized a number of key issues relevant to urban development in Ukraine, concerning transparency and communication between authorities and civil society as well ass competence building and networking within civil society.
    There are differences between the cities, and particularly between the eastern and western part of the country. But urban issues are similar throughout the country as are the solutions
    argued by young people. Changed attitudes within the administration will be a slow process, but the willingness to at least lend an ear to the views of civil society has improved. The relations with civil society now range all the way from listening without cooperating via considering civil society proposals to approving them but without contributing to their budget.

    A considerable number of civil society organizations dealing with urban and democratic issues have been established during the past three years, sometimes as a direct result of New Urban Topoogies/The Ukrainian Puzzle. The Puzzle exhibition itself has further strengthened the network between Ukrainian sister organizations, and an informal national network has emerged.


    The Ukrainian Puzzle

    - New Urban Topologies in Odessa, September 2016


    Vasilisa Shchogoleva and Bohdan Volynskyi from Critical Thinking introduces the Odessa sessions.

     "The Ukrainian Puzzle" is a series of NUT seminars in Ukraine, focusing not only on the specific cities but also aiming at portraying the situation in a large country with a complicated history and geopolitical situation, connecting people and ideas across between the east, west, north and south (Kharkiv, Ternopil, Poltava, Odessa). Focusing on issues like citizen dialogue and participatory urban planning "The Ukrainian Puzzle" promotes dialogue between organisations, activists, artists, politicians and citizens, and finds new connections between different cities of Ukraine.

    At the end of September 2016 New Urban Topologies went to the south of Ukraine, to Odessa, to continue the investigations gathered under the concept “Ukrainian Puzzle”, in order to develop new topics and challenges and to sum up ideas for a possible future travelling exhibition. Odessa became a meeting place for both new and former NUT-participants from Kharkiv, Kiev, Poltava, Ternopil and Odessa, joined by friends and colleagues from Sweden, Bosnia, Moldova and Romania.

    The new participants, who had applied to participate in the program with their own projects or issues, defined this year’s discussion topics. Among them Kiev architect and urbanist Roman Pomazan, from the project Urban Sustain Architecture  and UrbanLab who proposed an important and lively topic for discussion: education, specifically within architecture and urbanism. He described the main problems and challenges in this field, and presented steps that have been taken by him and his colleagues in the direction of creation a new program for urban education in Ukraine. Joe Plommer, originally from London, but since almost one year living and working in Kharkiv, raised the topic of engaging citizens through media. Joe is working closely with the initiative Kharkiv Observer . Through this English-language website citizens as well as foreigners who live in or visit the city are able to get information on cultural, educational, political, business and social events, but the site also presents opinions and discussions on current events, as one of the few alternative and independent media resources in the city.

    Plans and discussions for a potential exhibition on the Ukrainian Puzzle run like a red thread through the Odessa-NUT, with valuable insights from participants in earlier NUT Ukraine-sessions. The organisations Changing Ternopil, City Lab, Poltava and Critical Thinking in Kharkiv will continue working with developing ideas and activities in their respecitve cities.

    The working group sessions in Odessa were hosted by the ImpactHUB Odessa which has became a strong anchor in the city for young entrepreneurs, creative people and public forums.


In addition to the seminars and work sessions, public lectures were held at the Green Theatre, a young initiative in Odessa that converted an abandoned park in the city centre into an active public space for movie-screening, lectures and concerts. Senada Demirovic from ADA, Mostar (Bosnia-Hercegovina) gave a talk on how to create a cultural institution in the divided city of Mostar, and Vladimir Us from Oberliht, in Chisinau (Moldova) inspired the audience by talking about his experiences with socially engaged art in Moldova and how it can help to bring change to society. 

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    The city of Odessa was opened to the participants by Dimitriy Shamatazhyi from the history and photography project Architecture of Odessa, during a walking excursion around one of the oldest streets of Odessa, Marazlievskaya street. The organization Architecture of Odessa works to preserve the historical heritage of Odessa through photography. During the excursion we discovered that Odessa is a harbour not only in real sense, but also in a metaphorical, since it is a city built by people from all over the world since the very beginning. Somehow it makes us understand that Ukraine is slowly regaining influence into the big picture of the international world, through its people who live and work inside and outside the country. 

    The Ukrainian partner-organisations and Färgfabriken are continuing to work on the ideas for the future of the project - NUT*UP!

    New Urban Topologies – Yangon del II

    Yangon is in a state of flux with incredible futures and paths open to it. As the economic and cultural capital with 35% of all urban dwellers of Myanmar it is expanding rapidly as new migrants, capital, and ideas flow into, through, and around the city. While much is yet to be decided, the city’s inhabitants have decisions to make with generational impacts. “What type of city do we want and how can we get it?"

    New Urban Topologies was a three-day seminar held in Yangon May 4-6, 2015. The seminar facilitated the free exchange of creative ideas and innovative approaches to the future of urban development in Yangon and further explored the issues of public participation and communication between all stakeholders in the urban planning process. Designed to be part of a process in Myanmar and globally, the seminar and follow-up aims to perform ‘democratic acupuncture’ on the bodies of the city – its body politic, planning organs, physical infrastruktur, public spaces, and transport networks.

    For further reading, download a report from the seminars. 

    The short movie gives you an overview of the NUT project in Yangon.


    VAL - the Water Ring of Kaliningrad

    – In between culture, city and water

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    Färgfabriken’s international program Baltic Dimensions proceeds in October 2015 with the urban space of Kaliningrad, Russia. The aim of the project is to highlight a connection between culture and water through the Val, the Water Ring of Kaliningrad.

    With this project, we aim to bring understanding of this route as an entity. We want to highlight it as a valuable non-renewable, cultural and historical asset. The existing characteristics of the route, we believe, allow for cultural institutions to take the lead in this process. We believe that the cultural community can take conceptual ownership of this route and spread appreciation of it to the inhabitants of the city. It is the cultural community which can fill this role, at this early stage, when the splendour of the route is not yet obvious to all, and before the physical appearance is pretty. In this project we would like to initiate a conversation about its historical value, its role in the old and contemporary city identity, its unique natural characteristics in relation both to the water, man-made and natural terrain, planting and wildlife. We wish to discuss its potential to unite different parts of the city in a coherent and comprehensive manner. And not least of all, we want to raise consciousness and appreciation of its significance and beauty to all.

    Place: Kaliningrad, Russia
    When: 15 - 17 October 2015
    Moscow Partners: Green Design Society and Curator Sonya Guimon
    Kaliningrad Partners: Kaliningrad Zoo and Art Vorota

    For further information of the project see our online magazine.

    New Urban Topologies – Poltava

    – Focusing on strengthening civil society, the fight against corruption and visions of the future of Ukrainian cities.

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    After NUT programs in Kharkiv (2013) and Ternopil (2014) Färgfabriken returned to Ukraine at the end of September 2015 with a NUT program in Poltava.

    Poltava, the third city after Kharkiv and Ternopil in the program “Ukrainian Puzzle” hosted a NUT project in late September 2015. Communication between the authorities and civil society, as well as the effects of corruption were overriding themes, along with strengthening the internal network between civil society organizations active in urban issues.

    Despite difficulties with regard to communication and public transparency there have been encouraging developments. Our partners in Kharkiv have registered their own NGO, Critical Thinking while our Ternopil partner, Changing Ternopil, noted better relations and growing cooperation with the city authorities. City Lab in Poltava recently accomplished a popular biking project. Crowd funding for urban CSO projects have taken off in Franko-Ivanovsk etc.

    One of Färgfabriken’s oldest partner organizations, Oberliht in Chisinau, has assumed regional importance and came to Poltava to share their experiences. Of the Kiev based NGOs one is working with children and another one admirably with projects in the war torn Donbas area.

    Strengthening civil society to fill local gaps where the authorities can’t or won’t reach out attracted great interest; the approach should be to identify common interests and present concrete proposals, not just criticising.

    On the other hand, critical art expressions and mobile information booths or vans would serve the purpose of exploring the thoughts, desires and visions of all urban stakeholders. Social media were favoured as a tool to strengthen civil society.

    Last but not least, the participants in Poltava called for increased international exchange. To satisfy this in a modest way Färgfabriken has invited four participants from Kiev. Kharkiv, Ternopil and Poltava for a study and capacity building visit to Sweden during the last week of November.

    The “Ukrainian Puzzle” is taking shape!

    New Urban Topologies – Yangon

    – Democratic acupuncture through art and urban planing.

    • Performance by Kolatt

      Performance by Kolatt

      New Urban Topologies project in Yangon in Myanmar May 4-6 2015.

      Yangon is in a quick state of flux with new investment, rapid construction and migration into the city. At the same time there are valuables to safeguard; the historical heritage and the environmental assets that the lakes, the river and the greenery represent. Infrastructure and public transportation is under strain. It all has to do with the identity of Yangon, with the pride in a sense of belonging among the citizens, about creating a better life in a liveable city.

      By examples and experiences from abroad and from inside Myanmar, New Urban Topologies wants to promote better mutual understanding and a holistic view of the urban future, adding art and architecture to technology and keeping ears and eyes open to the actual needs and wishes of those who inhabit the city.

      Färgfabriken’s international program, New Urban Topologies is an initiative that rose from such questions. For example, those that challenge the lack of methods for dialogue between the cities’ different voices and interests. The program brings together different experiences and attitudes, which help us interpret our cities. The results vary from city to city. The essential idea here is to create possible communications between the cities’ policy makers and grass roots organisations. Activists, culture workers, city planners and architects often represent these groups. Until today, New Urban Topologies has operated in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia. The work was primarily carried out in cities in nascent democratic development which face extensive challenges, like endangered public spaces, a lack of transparency and significant environmental issues.


      New Urban Topologies – Ternopil

      – Strengthening of domestic civil society networks and shaping models for communication between civil society and authorities.

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      New Urban Topologies (NUT) is a dialogue project that in principle inspires a democratic and participatory process about urban planning. During the fall 2013 New Urban Topologies visited Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. The 19th to 21st of Novmeber 2014 New Urban Topologies visits Ternopil for a follow-up on the discussion in Kharkiv 2013. 

      Three issues topped the agenda at the New Urban Topologies program in Ternopil; after Kharkiv the second “NUT city” in Ukraine. The priority themes were Capacity building for civil society organizations in the art, architecture and urbanism sector, Strengthening of domestic civil society networks and Shaping models for communication between civil society and authorities. In addition, participants investigated the contents, identity and values of the city of Ternopil. The NUT program took place November 19-21 2014 in cooperation with the local organization Changing Ternopil and its founder Oleg Mushyi. Partners from NUT Kharkiv were present along with NGO activists from Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk. These presented “best practice” examples of local projects to an audience consisting of activists, students and municipal officials. Changing Ternopil’s internet advertisement of the NUT workshop noted 2 500 hits which shows the attraction that urban issues hold for the young in Ukraine.

      City issues
      Ternopil is seen a city of knowledge and education. It has universities with more than 40 000 students, several publishing houses and book stores. There is a large theatre and several museums. Yet, many of the older generation stick to a concept of Ternopil as an industrial city although most of the once great factories have closed or have little production. This creates a divide in visions for the city, especially since politicians and senior officials are mostly of the older generation. The workshop participants put forward a lot of suggestions on how to improve their city. They wanted Ternopil to grow from the inside rather than by construction of satellite towns, by taking advantage of the large, now unused industrial areas. Ternopil has a great physical advantage in being built around an attractive lake; arrangements should be developed to make the lake a public space during all seasons. There was a need felt for an independent urban center for communication between the citizens and the municipal leaders. Many argued that much could be gained by creating synergies between writers, publishers, libraries, book stores and the art scene in the city.

      National issues
      The workshop participants agreed that capacity building for and improved networking between civil society organizations as well as ideas on models to promote transparent communication and consultation between CSOs and authorities should be implemented all over Ukraine. In order to follow-up on the “Ternopil wish list” the next NUT in Ukraine, to take place in Poltava in late September 2015, will focus on these issues, not forgetting the fight against corruption.

      For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

      New Urban Topologies Kharkiv 

      – Destruction, Diversity & Communication


      New Urban Topologies: Kharkiv – Destruction, Diversity & Communication from Färgfabriken on Vimeo.

      “The older generation is educating the younger, but in the end I’m not sure who’s going to teach who.” Says Vladimir Bysov who's being interviewed in the film. This film was made during New Urban Topologies in Kharkiv. It's describing the historical development of the city, current situation and possible future solutions - all investigated during the workshop.

      Färgfabriken’s international program New Urban Topologies brings together architects, academics, artists, and officialls from Sweden, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. The objective is to create conditions for dialogue regarding geographical, cultural and sociological conditions and to investigates how we can redesign and reformulate our common urban environment.New Urban Topologies was carried out in Kharkiv October 23 – 25, 2013.

      Download a Russian version of the article here.

      Kharkiv in the Ukraine is a city looking for a new direction. The city, devastated during World war II, has since grown in leaps, from few inhabitants after the war, to 1,5 mill. at present time. The population growth is manifested in large tenement building areas, increasingly as towers, encircling the city in rings expanding from decade to decade. Since the transformation from a command economy to capitalism, Ukraine is experiencing a replacement of old and sometimes historical buildings by modern condos or office buildings, at times built on speculation and remaining more or less empty because of excessive price levels. At the same time, quite central areas of summer cottages, “datchas” on very small plots of land, are being renovated or demolished and replaced by modern one-family villas. While improving the housing standards in the city these two phenomena contribute to creating segregation between the economic elite and the ordinary citizens.

      Also, there is a need to preserve and restore the rather few remaining pre-revolutionary buildings as well as examples of constructivist architecture from the USSR era. Another issue of concern is new buildings – allowed by authorities because investors hold considerable means of influence - that block city views and street perspectives. Furthermore remaining heavy bureaucracy from the Soviet times, exacerbated by widespread corruption and deep mistrust of the authorities by the citizenry and of civil society by the government impede communications and transparency with regard to the transformation of the city.

      Such were the issues that New Urban Topologies in Kharkiv, October 23 – 25 2013, set out to grapple with. New Urban Topologies participants in Kharkiv were of different generations and different walks of life; academics, practitioners, artists, activists and students. International participants from Beirut, Mostar and Minsk also contributed with their experiences, which led to many fruitful exchanges between the cities. Kharkiv shares a sad history of destruction by war with Beirut, Mostar and Minsk. In the two former cities armed conflict erupted because of ethno-religious differences. Kharkiv, also a city of many ethnicities, possesses potential assets in terms of multiculturalism. Another core area for improvement is consultation and communication between the administration, the professionals and the citizenry, a remnant of the fact that Kharkiv, Minsk, Mostar and Riga have emerged from authorita¬rian systems of government. One reason for the difficulties in this regard in the Ukraine is the juxtaposition of political forces which tend to lead to a stalemate in government action. On the positive side, all four cities are now at a stage of reconstruction, revitalization and reconciliation and can draw on each other’s current experiences.

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      Vasylysa Shchogoleva, is an important key figure for New Urban Topologies in Kharkiv, she studies her last year at the architectural faculty in Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

      Tell us a little bit about your background?

      Besides the university I'm also involved in “Architectural Adventures”, which is a collaboration between students, graduates in architecture and people from other related fields. The main aim of “Architectural Adventures” is to raise architectural awareness and culture among its users and creators (architects and designers).

      What are your experiences from New Urban Topologies in Kharkiv?

      New Urban Topologies became a possibility for collaboration with people whom I never met and those who I only knew by their professional skills, but never have succeeded to cooperate with before. During New Urban Topologies we got an opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences about our city, where we live our everyday life. Thanks to the excursions where we walked around together with the international participants, who were in Kharkiv for the first time, we were also able to see our city from a different perspective.

      Can you tell us a little bit about the outcome of New Urban Topologies in Kharkiv?

      New Urban Topologies brought an opportunity for dialog. This was strongly necessary for locals, who walk the same streets every day, visit the same cafes, rarely leave their own district. However, they have never talked about such topic as “Kharkiv” before and about the spaces that they actually share. Final discussion also highlighted some important key needs that are in the air among people in our city today: dialog between people of different professions and ages; dialog between government and citizens; Kharkiv's entirety vision; professional critiques and reviews of changes that take place in Kharkiv; alternative proposals for the future of Kharkiv.

      Why are these transboundary meetings important in Kharkiv?

      It is important because it creates an open dialog in which alternative views of the city can be created in collaboration with people who live in the city but have different backgrounds. It helps us understand what our cities are about and what perspectives we could create for the development and prosperity. That seems to be possible when we all start to share our ideas, knowledge and experience. When dialog becomes international we can learn faster, through other experiences and through others outcomes.

       Download a pdf with more information about the project here.


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