The third online meeting on the new Master Plan for Kharkiv on 28 May 2022 saw a group of local architects join the discussions led by the Norman Foster Foundation and the City Government of Kharkiv. Mayor of Kharkiv Ihor Terekhov spoke of his vision to transform the city to become a great European city, well developed economically and with its distinct architecture highlighting the city’s history and cultural heritage. Architect Norman Foster underlined that "history, culture, celebrating the past, is all hugely important when planning neighbourhoods and rebuilding a city."
Kharkiv architect Dmitriy Fomenko, head of the local working group of Kharkiv city architects for the master plan, described the city as “a frontier city; a dynamic city with lots of culture as well as economic activities”. He stressed the importance of “the city neighbourhoods preserving their own identities to reflect their unique culture and history."
At the meeting, international and local architects highlighted the need to preserve the historical and cultural framework of the city's heritage. Research and visual materials, guides, manuals, monographs, and albums about the city’s architectural history have been developed by Kharkiv architects; all these materials will provide an important basis for the development of the new city master plan.
Kharkiv architects presented the following recommendations:
- Update and expand the architectural plan of Kharkiv to support preservation of the city’s cultural heritage
- Develop proposals for a revision of the administrative division of the city and for the city “decentralisation” strategy
- Promote compact city development through increased density; preserve the city within its current borders to avoid urban sprawl
- Redesign the city transport network
- Include development of modern low-rise neighbourhoods
- Elaborate the city’s “green and blue” framework
- Consider relocating business facilities from the historical city centre to city fringes, for instance, to the area of the destroyed city market "Barabashova"; use in planning of business facilities experiences of other cities, for instance, of Paris “La Défense”
- Allocate space for alternative burials; preserve the existing cemetery at Pushkinskaya street
- Create a network of pedestrian pathways and art streets in the historic area of the city.
The meeting of the working group of architects was organized by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the city government of Kharkiv and the Norman Foster Foundation, which hosts the UNECE centre of excellence on sustainable housing and smart sustainable cities, as part of the #UN4Kharkiv Initiative. The #UN4Kharkiv Initiative includes 12 UN agencies and is coordinated by UNECE. It was initiated in April 2022, upon request by the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development. The Ministry requested UNECE to provide support with the development of a draft Framework for Plan for the Integrated Rehabilitation of Settlements and Territories of Ukraine, which is expected to be applied by local governments in their reconstruction efforts. UNECE is also supporting a pilot project on the development of a reconstruction plan for the city of Kharkiv, which is expected to become a blueprint for the reconstruction of other Ukrainian cities and towns.
The next meeting of the working group of architects under the #UN4Kharkiv Initiative will focus on the preservation of the city’s cultural heritage.