Residents Themselves of Severodonetsk Will Create a Development Plan for their City Park
Thanks to a new, specially created program called UplanIT, residents of Severodonetsk are able to develop a detailed vision and plan for the development of their own city park.
This work is part of the project "Information Technology (IT) Innovations for Designing Cities. Step 1: Severodonetsk." Implementation began in this Luhansk oblast on the eve of New Year's celebrations.
The implementation of the project will be accomplished through the cooperative efforts of two NGOs -- the Severodonetsk Development Agency and the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (in Luhansk).
"The active involvement of citizens in processes of spatial planning is good. UplanIT helps prevent, in particular, the lack of experience that citizens typically have when trying to visualize their own ideas about how an actual space should look. In addition, citizens will now have practical tools for presenting information in a graphical format that will facilitate acceptance and discussion of development projects," said the Project Manager, Helen Nizhelska. "UplanIT is a solution for this problem and contributes to strengthening the public influence on decision-making about planning issues."
A test case of the UplanIT program will be carried out for the project by developing Gorky Park -- an iconic facility in Severodonetsk. Questions about how to refine this place are particularly relevant for residents. After all, this park is still considered one of the best assets of the community. Today, however, this park of "culture and recreation" is a pitiful sight. Changing the existing situation is a priority for the residents Severodonetsk.
In December 2013, two separate focus groups were conducted – one among the public and one among government representatives. During the events, all showed a willingness to cooperate with each other, to take the initiative, and engage in productive dialogues.
"To be honest, we were a bit worried that it would be possible to find common ground between the public and local authorities. Following the focus groups, these doubts were gone. Both the authorities and activists in Severodonetsk approached the work with a spirit of respect and cooperation. This is a great start for project," said Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, both an expert for the project and the Head of the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives.
Implementation of this initiative is made possible through the project, "Democratization, Human Rights, and Civil Society Development in Ukraine." It is implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ukraine and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
Elena Nizhelska, Project Manager
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