Stockholm on the Move

Ideas, visions and challenges for a city in transition

The Ukrainian Puzzle

- New Urban Topologies in Odessa, September 2016


 presentation

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.

ImpactHub
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.

greentheatre


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. 


architecture tour
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

VAL web

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

    Kharkivvimeothumb 

    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.

    Kharkiv 520 web


    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.

     

    New Urban Topologies – Alexandria III

    – Sustainability, security, recycling and the specific needs of children and women.

    alexIII web1

    New Urban Topologies (NUT) is a dialogue project that in principle inspires a democratic and participatory process about urban planning. During more than three years, Färgfabriken-Center for Contemporary Art and The Swedish Institute in Alexandria, SwedAlex in collaboration with Alexandria University, brought together official decision-makers from Alexandria Urban Planning office, experts, architects, students, activist, academics, researchers and others from the civil society. Furthermore the workshops have always brought together participants from Stockholm, Sweden, Balkan and from MENA region.

    From the 29–30th of September 2014 Färgfabriken in conjunction with the Swedish Institute Alexandria and its Egyptian partners Gudran and Alexandria University carried out an extensive session on the neighborhood of Kafr Ashri within the New Urban Topologies (NUT) program. In focusing on this specific case study Färgfabriken continued its previous work in engaging municipal representatives, architects, urban planners, scholars, students, activists and ordinary citizens from Alexandria in a common dialogue that is now directed towards concrete results and actions.

    The participatory planning process that was initiated by Färgfabriken during the previous NUT sessions in 2011 and 2013 has not only led to a new dialogue between different stakeholders in the city but also to concrete initiatives by the cultural organization Gudran and the municipality in the residential area Kafr Ashri, a site chosen as a case study in 2013. The university has furthermore continued the process by mapping the neighborhood and its needs. This third NUT session built upon these initiatives.

    The aim was to move the dialogue towards the stage where concrete small scale actions could be discussed and prepared for a quick implementation. A site visit to Kafr Ashri and a seminar on the needs and history of the neighborhood was complemented with lectures on successful examples of public participation and interventions in Beirut, Cairo, Riadh and Doetinchem that has led to effective results.

    The theme of the following workshop was “Developing Kafr Ashri from an economic, social/cultural and environmental perspective”. Each group was designated to suggest one project or more at one of the unused open spaces in the area with a particular focus on women and children. The overall theme was chosen on the basis of previous NUT sessions and the ideas and needs raised by the inhabitants of Kafr Ashri .

    In the previous session of NUT Alexandria Kafr Ashri’s community representative Adel El Said stressed that the inhabitants have seen students of architecture and activists coming in before, but that nothing has occurred that has changed their situation. He urged that the NUT participants must listen to what the inhabitants have to say – if they do he promised they will do everything to help make change happen, but if the people of Kafr Ashri are given false promises their trust in authorities and outsiders will disappear.

    With this in mind the organizers set out guidelines to make the final recommendations easily and quickly implementable. Of vital importance was to foresee sustainable alternatives that could be realized in times of insufficient government capacities. The result was eight pragmatic suggestions for future interventions, among them a new pedestrian bridge over the Mahmoudia Canal, a new public market space under the neighboring over path and modern recycling handicraft classes. These design solutions will be an important part of the holistic action plan for Kafr Ashri that all stakeholders consider necessary.

    As with the previous sessions, Alexandria III was documented. This will result in a film produced by Gudran and an interview series appearing on Färgfabriken’s website. Participants in the third NUT session were also interviewed for an article on Alexandria’s development in Arkitekten, the journal of the Swedish Association of Architects. An episode of the Swedish podcast Staden discusses the history and current challenges for Alexandria and Färgfabriken’s initiatives at the site.

    Please read the interviews – This feeling of Belonging – made by Rebecka Gordan in relation to NUT Alexandria II. 

    Please listen to the podcast STADEN where Rebecka Gordan talks about her experience from NUT Alexandria III.

    Here you can see the film produced by Gudran.

     

    The world is being urbanised at breakneck speed. Exploring our cities from different perspectives is a growing need and allows us to keep pace with this development. Especially relevant in this regard, is the linking of diverse questions of democracy, allied to economic and social segregation within cities’ physical structures. 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. Until today, New Urban Topologies 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 that have a shortage of democratic development and face extensive challenges, like endangered public spaces, a lack of transparency and significant environmental questions. New Urban Topologies are always looking for new ways to formulate societies and the city. Methods of thinking that have contributed to the birth of these new projects, are Baltic Dimensions and Patchwork of Narratives. It is the contact with people and ideas that inspire and develop these projects.

    Upcoming cities

    Previous cities

    NUT Odessa 520

    Odessa

    September 2016

    "The Ukranian Puzzle" - about dialogue and participatory urban planning. Finds connections between organisations, activists, artists, politicians and citizens. 

    burma okt15 web

    Yangon

    Nov 2015

    A follow up on the visit in May to promote better mutual understanding and a holistic view. 

    Poltava poster 520px

    Poltava

    Sep 2015

    Focusing on strengthening civil society, the fight against corruption and visions for the future.

    kaliningrad poster 520px

    Kaliningrad

    Oct 2015

    A connection between culture and water through the Val, the Water Ring of Kaliningrad

    yangon affisch

    Yangon

    May 2015

    Democratic acupuncture through art and urban planing.

    Ternopil web poster

    Ternopil

    Nov 2014

    Strengthening of civil society networks and models for communication with authorities.

    Kafr Ashri web

    Alexandria III

    2014

    Sustainability, security, recycling and the specific needs of children and women.

    kharkiv 512

    Kharkiv

    2013

    "The older teach the younger, but in the end I'm not sure who actually learns something."

    Alexandria2 512

    Alexandria II

    2013

    Digital communications were vital in the political changes -what comes after?

    mostar 512

    Mostar

    2012

    This disputed area is in the middle of change. How to make this into a place that unites and creates spaces for all of Mostars inhabitants?

    Jakarta

    Jakarta, Yogykarta, Surabaya

    2012

    Discussions about disaster prevention and walkable and bicycle friendly cities.

    amman 520

    Amman

    2012

    Amman is currently going through changes that affect the growth, urban form and socioeconomic dimensions of the city.

    NUT sthlm

    Stockholm

    2011

    Exchange of experiences and identify problematic and successful aspects of the city of Stockholm

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    Alexandria I

    2011

    Barely a year after the revolution, artists, architects and students met in Alexandria to discuss the city's history, idenity and potential. 

    Skopje

    2011

    The city of Skopje is a mix of a lot of different styles and cultures. In later years, the central parts have gone though big changes.

    chisinau web poster

    Chișinău

    2010

    In co-operation with the artistic institutes of Oberliht and Gallery Ў, Färgfabriken created a space for intense talks about urban development.

    minsk web poster

    Minsk

    2010

    City parks threatened by big constructions and anonymous module suburbs emerging at breakneck-speed. 

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