Community building in Yekaterinburg

Activating public space in Solnechniy

International workshop that took place in Yekaterinburg in October 2017 over the course of seven days. During the week approximately 75 local and international participants worked in small teams on several urban design cases provided by local developers.

The focus of our group was to bring more public activities to Solnechniy, one of the new suburbs of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city. Our team provided a participatory approach that was awarded with the first prize of our workshop case.

During the workshop we spoke to three residents of Solnechniy about community activities they organized in the past and their dreams how to continue those in the future. Results were captured in two short videos.

The former land use of Solnechniy was a kolchoz, a communal farm during the Soviet Union. The collective is managed according to the principles of socialist self-management, democracy, and openness, with active participation of the members. In practice these values were not pursued and present-day the term often has a negative association among Russians.

In our plan we reintroduced not the concept but the values of the kolchoz as a base to build a community upon. A foundation is laid were people are encouraged to self-organize and participate in community activities.

As a result we designed a temporary system of routes with points of interest where residents are enabled to organize activities themselves. These loops make use of currently undeveloped land and follow the path of development as the neighborhood expands. Initial developments can be temporary that later can be integrated into the permanent structure. This creates a strong base for future development.

How the routes and new neighborhoods could develop over time with ‘a’ being the current situation, ‘b’ after the first loop is realized with new community spaces, ‘c’ where the second loop is planned, ‘d’ and ‘e’ when further developments are done, and the final image showing possible future loops.

Impressions of temporary activities that could take place with input from the residents.

Team: Angelina Arzhevitina, Kate Popova, Paulina Kirienko, Maria Avtaeva, Mariana Fiuza
Location: Yekaterinburg, Russia
Date: October 2017
Organizers: School of Chief Architect Yekaterinburg, ISOCARP Young Planning Professionals programme