Proponents for the Open Availability of Comprehensive City Plans Created Implementation Strategies, Including Appealing to the Council of Europe
On July 19-20 in Chernigiv, the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (EUCCI) organized a seminar titled, “Open Access to the General Plans of Cities: How to Turn Declaration into Reality.” The event made use of the Open Space technique, which is a process specifically, designed to create action plans and turn ideas into reality. The event was attended by over 40 community activists, journalists, bloggers, scientist, and architects from most regions of Ukraine, as well as specialists in spatial planning from the U.S. and from Portugal.
During the event, participants discussed the practice of conducting urban planning processes without public participation, and they shared positive examples for ensuring the availability of general plans of cities. They discussed the possibility of creating an active online community for solving these problems. Present at the event were residents from Mukacheve and Kyiv who are in the process of planning campaigns to mobilize residents to demand active discussions with local authorities.
A group of lawyers at the event who were from different regions of Ukraine developed a plan to hold officials administratively liable if they unlawfully restrict access to comprehensive city plans.
“We must make an example when officials violate the law, ‘On Access to Public Information.’ Officials hide these plans from the public, and there are no consequences for this,” says Serhiy Slynko, member of the Cherkasy Regional Initiatives group, “Parity.”
Another group of activists made plans to resolve the conflict created when the stamp “For Official Use Only” is placed on comprehensive plans by the Design Institute who also must ensure that these documents are available to city councils.
“We have an absurd situation where city council, at the expense of the community, develops the plan for the head of the city planning department, but they limit the access to the document by marking it as “For Official Use Only,” says Taras Sluchyk, a representative of the Institute of Political Education in Ivano-Frankivsk. “We help municipalities exercise their powers and their right to manage their own general plans,” says Volodymyr Feskov, Head of the Transcarpathian Community Center.
Another outcome of the Open Space event is to create the manual, "How to Access the Master Plan of Your City," which will include a series of vides with practical advice for citizens.
Discussion of the possibility of involving the international community also took place. The Monitoring Committee of the Congress on Local and Regional Authorities (CLARE) of the Council of Europe is in the process of updating its report on the state of local democracy in Ukraine. Their report will be presented in Strasbourg in October 2013. Attendees expressed a desire to include the topic of the declassification of comprehensive plans in this report.
“Europe must become aware of the shameful situation in Ukraine where cities conceal from the people in local communities the master plans of their cities. That is why we have decided together to address the members of the Monitoring Committee to highlight the problem in its report,” says Yulia Rashchupkina, a member of EUCCI.
Vladimir Shcherbachenko and Alina Bondar
Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives
099 932 36 73
This activity is part of the project, "Citizen Action Network for the Declassification of Comprehensive City Plans and the Elimination of Corruption in Urban Planning" and supported by the International Renaissance Foundation's Rule of Law Program. This project is implemented by the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives together with regional partners. More information about responses from individual city councils is available athttp://cityplan.in.ua and http://cityplan.in.ua/en.