The Ukrainian Puzzle

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.