In progress

Open Call: UREHERIT Urban Forums in Zhytomyr for participants and team leads

This public open call is for architects, urbanists, urban activists, visual artists, local residents and architecture students or other interested parties that would like to contribute to the urban rejuvenation and heritage protection in Ukraine by participating in a series of participatory “Urban Forums” in the city of Zhytomyr on 28-29.09.2024 and 4-5.10.2024.
“Urban Forums” are hackathon-like two-day events focused on solving specific spatial issues and breathing new life into urban territories. The Forums involve bringing together diverse local stakeholders - municipal politicians, architects, developers, entrepreneurs, representatives of state agencies and the local community – in order to discuss local contested spatial issues, build trust between stakeholders, and come up with concrete joint proposals for improving the common living environment. Such Forums are relatively fast-paced and „huddly“ events, usually involving long nights, continuous rapid prototyping and visualization.
The final product of a Forum can vary – sketches and drawings in presentation format, a brief for an architectural/urban planning competition, a Youtube video recording or a series of radio shows – but in any case, it is an exercise in imagining and visualizing possible development scenarios for a particular territory. Urban Forums are first of all a platform for open and public discussions on values and vision of a place.
In Estonia, Urban Forums appeared in 2009, and since then the 17 Forums have been organized in seven different Estonian cities and municipalities, most recently in June 2022 in Tallinn Old Town.
In the case of the two Urban Forums in Zhytomyr, the focus will be on the vision for the city in the context of post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. Both forums will have 5 teams with about 6-8 participants each.
The Forums will focus on two distinct areas in the city: the area surrounding the building of the “Kosmos” cinema, and the Sokolovskyi Quarry. The Urban Forums will be organized by the Estonian Association of Architects and NGO Ro3kvit Urban Coalition for Ukraine in cooperation with the city of Zhytomyr. The Forums are funded by the European Union as a part of an international cultural project titled “UREHERIT”.

We are looking for architects, urbanists, urban activists, visual artists, Zhytomyr locals, architecture students or anyone who’s interested that would serve as participants and team leads for each Urban Forum and are inspired to try out this inclusive method for urban planning. In addition, for every team, we are looking for someone with visualization skills that can do magic with pen and paper, computer renderings or even collage.

Participation in the Urban Forum is voluntary and participants’ possible expenses are not reimbursed, but there are options to find funding for participating. Please note that in the application form! But participants will get a weekend full of great discussions, new professional contacts and a say in the future of the city and its neighborhoods.

The application must be submitted by 30.07 at 23.59 Ukranian time. The application must contain a short motivation letter explaining why you want to participate in the Urban Forums in Zhytomyr. Participants will be selected and assigned to their teams by a committee of experts.


Urban Forum 01 - “Kosmos” cinema, 28-29 September 2024

The first Urban Forum will focus on the building and the area surrounding the “Kosmos” cinema in South-East Zhytomyr.

The cinema was built in 1988. For a cinema of its era, the “Kosmos” cinema had the unusual luxury of having two halls with the seating capacity of 200 and 700 people. Interestingly, films were not the only feature in the cinema's entertainment portfolio - discos and festive events such as weddings, anniversaries, etc. were also held here. The cinema operated in the building until 2006, but now it is empty and serves as a cause for a number of problems associated with this area of the city.

At the Forum we will develop future scenarios for this building and its surrounding area, looking at it through the lens of various user groups, accessibility, possible functions and historic background. We will explore the roles that the building may still have in the community, its architectural value in the context of modern Ukraine and discuss its role in improving the safety and social cohesion in the district.

Urban Forum 02 - Sokolovskyi quarry, 4-5 October 2024

The second Urban Forum will focus on Sokolovskyi Quarry in North-West Zhytomyr.

The Sokolovskyi quarry entered its current state as a result of flooding of a granite extraction site some 25 years ago. This peculiar artificial granite “bowl” appeared in the landscape as a result of intrusive human exploitation with the use of explosives and mining equipment. The quarry is apx. 100-110 meters deep and occupies an area of about 70,000 square meters with a diameter of more than 500 m. Into its depth spirals a road that was used to bring granite to the surface. Today the whole quarry is underwater, however the near-by factory that used to process its granite still operates.

The Sokolovskyi quarry is located at the edge of the city and is beloved by the locals for its lush natural surroundings. The main entrances into the site are from the Hranitna St, Cheska Kroshnya St and Truda St (from the side of the Vilsky Path). Locals and divers from the surrounding towns also use the quarry as a bathing and diving place all year round. What attracts divers to this particular quarry is its depth, clarity of its water and multi-level underwater landscape. The perimeter of the quarry is sandy and features rocks that are often used for jumping into the water.

Although used for recreation, the quarry currently lacks any kind of infrastructure and is therefore unsafe. Several user groups - water sports enthusiasts (divers), hikers, families with children and groups of young people wanting to have a good time at the beach - are all interested in the area, but have different and often conflicting interests.

At the Urban Forum we will look at the Sokolovskyi quarry through the lens of its various user groups and develop possible futures for it, exploring if this peculiar quasi-natural landscape can serve as a place of healing.

About UREHERIT project:
«UREHERIT. Architects for heritage in Ukraine: recreating identity and memory» - is a three-year-long European cultural project which aims to build competence in the fields of heritage protection, regeneration of culturally meaningful sites and projects in Ukraine. The project addresses heritage as a resource for sustainable cultural, social, environmental, and economic recovery, while solving challenges of preservation, re-definition and highlighting the national and local cultural identity in Ukraine. The broader goal of the project is to encourage the local communities of Ukraine to build a new, democratic, and sustainable Ukraine with a unique yet European cultural DNA. Within UREHERIT a total of four Urban Forums will take place in Ukraine in the period between 2024-2025, with the first two Forums serving as pilots.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author (s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EACEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.