Vinnytsia as a case study

Vinnytsia is a city in the southwest of Ukraine on the banks of the Southern Bug River, administrative capital of the homonymic region, the largest city and the most important economic and cultural centre within the historical land of Podolia. The city is located inside the triangle composed by the three first-order Ukrainian cities: Kyiv (199 km), Lviv (200 km) and Odessa (345 km). With approximately 373.000 inhabitants, Vinnytsia occupies the 12th position in the list of the largest cities in Ukraine. After the screening of local media, we decided to focus on the two urban planning conflicts that took place in Vinnytsia quite recently.

The first conflict finished in 2015 burst out due to construction of high-tech style shopping mall “Cloud” in the downtown of Vinnytsia in the direct proximity to the Holy Virgin Roman Catholic Cathedral, local heritage-listed building, a part of Capuchin Monastery dated 1745. Local government explained the construction by the need to hide an unappealing facade of enormous Soviet Ukrtelecom Technology Facility. But local activists and history experts put forward the argument of complete incompatibility of the future mall and existing urban environment in terms of historical value, architectural style, and function.

The second recently finished conflict is related to the renovation of school stadium in Vyshenka residential neighbourhood. In 2013, the municipality signed an investment agreement with the private developer to renovate the school sports infrastructure on a mutually beneficial basis. The developer was obliged to upgrade the school stadium at its own expense, but in return received part of school grounds for construction of high-rise apartment houses. After the public hearings, the officials decided to make amendments to the initial project and to swap places of the new residential construction and a new sports ground. However, local residents and public activists objected the altered project. The following conflict course of the conflict, including bloody clashes and court trail, brought up a set of questions: effectiveness and transparency of urban planning policy; readiness of local administration to the fair dialogue with the community; corrupted coalitions between planning process participants; interference of urban planning and political activities.