Urban Renewal In Kyiv’s City Center: Past And Future
Kyiv is an ancient city that probably existed as early as the 5th century. The city became the capital of Kyivan Rus and has held the status of the capital of Ukraine for almost 30 years. This year, Kyiv made the top 20 list of the best cities for remote work and the top 100 of the world’s greenest cities. Certainly, the rankings speak for themselves that the city’s infrastructure is developing and is reaching a higher level.
In recent years, Kyiv has been changing and developing without losing its charm. Of course, renovations and city beautification have recently started, and you can see how the center is being transformed. The summer lockdown wasn’t lazy and leisurely, especially for utility workers and builders, as it was the best time to repair the center without closing it. Three historical streets – Zolotovoritska, Pokrovska, and Pushkinska – were rebuilt during the summer quarantine. According to Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the concrete base of Pokrovska Street, which was last repaired more than 30 years ago, was completely replaced with cobblestones, restoring the street to its historical appearance. On other central streets, apart from standard renovation, bike lanes were added. Thus, more and more streets in Kyiv’s downtown are becoming modern and comfortable. A special place for Kyivans and visitors of the city is Peizazhna Alley, a green island in the very heart of Kyiv, and one more place that has been under renovation since 2020. Workers finished the first stage of reconstruction in August and will continue the next ones in 2021.
It is also planned to repair Paton Bridge, a 1,543-meter-long bridge across the Dnipro River in Kyiv and the world’s first all-welded bridge. Contractors are planning to start renovating Paton Bridge just as soon as the weather conditions will be more or less stable, so as of now they have just ordered the necessary materials. The vendors plan to expand the road and add a bicycle lane, too. Besides more and more new renovations, Kyiv’s improvement inspectors have been watching over the city’s overall infrastructure. For example, they made 4,050 claims only during this January and created almost 250 administrative protocols for landscaping violations. Likewise, from the end of 2019, the process started to demolish kiosks, booths, and other street structures. During 2020, more than 147 street kiosks were removed around Kyiv.
The city authorities have big plans for 2021. The Kyivdormostproekt Institute is developing a project for the overhaul of Khreshchatyk Street from Evropeiska to Bessarabska Square. The deputy chairman of Kyiv City State Administration Oleksandr Gustelev said that they would complete the reconstruction of Peizazhna Alley; the capital repair of Stepan Bandera Avenue; and continue construction of the Podolsk Bridge, Kiltseva (Ring) Road, Bohatyrska Street, and Obolonskyi Avenue.
Another important aspect is arranging cycling infrastructure on the city’s main street. There are several options. First, bike lanes on the roadway; and second, bike paths on the sidewalk. To date, no final decision has been made. Not only car owners and pedestrians have opposing views on this issue, but even the cycling community members do not have a single vision. Therefore, this issue is still opened.
There are big plans for investing in Kyiv’s development. Citizens and visitors will definitely appreciate the new view of beloved places; the only thing is to not stretch it out for years or leave awful holes and trash after the repairs. All in all, as Winston Churchill said, we shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.