10 urban solutions of 2021: the most interesting city projects
Underwater Park in Mariupol, open underground rivers, new street furniture, and blocked streets: what happened this year.
What is the problem?
Cities need total reformatting. Adapted for fast pace and cars, with many areas inordinate to people and a few green areas, they don't meet the demands of modern society. We have too few public and pedestrian spaces for social interaction. Architects, designers, and urban planners in 2021 figured out how to attract citizens and how to make the city more comfortable. Let's look at the best solutions.
What is the solution?
We continue to clean the capital. Kyiv, Wash!
With small steps, attracting more and more people to his initiative, Kyiv resident Vit Onoprienko became a real city savior, the face of Kyiv, Wash, an assistant to public utilities, with which he at first didn't find common ground, and a local celebrity. Volunteers of Kyiv, Wash! clean the city walls from graffiti and advertisements and try to improve the appearance of the buildings on their own.
We're conducting "urban" excavations
This year, the Pochaina River in Kyiv has gradually been released from the collector. The project provides for the river to be "removed" from the collector and freed from (attention) 900 tons of concrete! The new park will stretch from Bandera Avenue to Natalka Park. It's a cool solution, which should create a park ring around several areas of the city in the long run. And, by the way, it is now being realized!
We put futuristic traffic lights for people who "don't notice" the red
Unusual traffic lights have appeared in Irpin, Kyiv region. They're difficult not to notice not only in the dark, but also during the day, and even in bright sunlight. The traffic lights are equipped with LED consoles and are fully illuminated with the support where they're held; they're best seen in heavy rain, fog and snow, and yet they look like something from the future. Our verdict is: it's a cool solution!
We're turning forgotten green areas into popular public spaces
Activists in Dnipro did just that and decided to reincarnate the green corridor in the city center on their own. Now it's a place where people can walk, relax with families and just shorten their journey and instead of walking down a noisy street or being pushed in a bus, walk to a beautiful park. Activists have already cleared the area of rubbish, found architects who have created a green zone project, and intend to scale up their idea next year. How? Read here.
We open more pedestrian streets
More precisely, we take away space from cars. Kharkiv architect Oleh Drozdov once called the capital of Ukraine "a city built for officials traveling in a motorcade" and he was right. The city center is not suitable for pleasant walking, and the Kyiv authorities have begun to correct the situation. We have been moving to this decision for 5 long years, since 2016, when the idea first occurred. In 2021, we got a pedestrian and uncrowded space between Bessarabka and Arena City; now traffic is blocked.
It's important to note: in 2021 we decided to return to the wooden past
Starting in 2025, all new buildings in the Dutch capital will have to consist of at least 20% wood or other biomaterials. The use of wood has also been approved in New York (in houses up to 26 meters high), and in France, all new public buildings in the country must be built with at least half of the wood from 2022. The fact is that one of the advantages of wood as a building material is its ability to capture more carbon from the atmosphere and accumulate it in the walls of the building. In addition, its use will reduce dependence on steel and concrete, the production of which produces a lot of carbon dioxide. The move will reduce carbon emissions in the capital by about 220,000 tons a year. Nitrogen emissions are also expected to be significantly reduced.
We started to install beautiful street furniture
By placing more interesting constructions on the street instead of the usual benches, we get small public spaces. For example, skateboarders use the new bench on Politekhnichna Street in Kyiv as a ramp and passers-by as a place to relax. This is a multifunctional space that looks aesthetically pleasing and is environmentally friendly. The trend of arranging furniture on the street was called "chair-bombing." The idea is to put street furniture on an empty piece of asphalt, filling the space with life. Furniture on the streets creates free mobile areas for communication and recreation of citizens, as well as tourists, which feed the city life and trade. And thanks to this initiative, the city is enriched with new infrastructure. This method is common, for example, in New York with portable chairs everywhere. What's more, they became a landmark!
A branch of Pandora Planet opened in Kharkiv
After the reconstruction, the square at 77 Plekhansvska Street in Kharkiv became similar to the magical Na'vi forest from Avatar. The sculptures are illuminated by various lights and at dusk look like a fragment from a fairy tale. Between the trees an illumination flashes that mimics the starry sky. Such solutions are a good way to diversify the city, make it more interesting and newer for both its residents and tourists.
We built a stylized park "underwater" to attract tourists
Hurov Jubilee Park in Mariupol was decorated with a unique effect using dynamic laser lighting. Horizontal laser beams penetrate the steam rising from the nozzles and create an unforgettable effect as if you're at the bottom of the sea and see the sea waves swaying below you. Those who walk in the park feel as if they're walking underwater. The designers decided to decorate the park in this way to remind us: Mariupol is a seaside city, and the stylized park is one of the reasons to visit it.
More about water: cities with rivers will have more affordable housing
This concept was proposed in Amsterdam: a new residential complex was built on the river. The Schoonschip district of Amsterdam includes 46 detached water houses with a capacity of about 100 inhabitants. The houses are heated from the heat of the river by special pumps and built from eco-friendly materials. They're comfortable and cozy, and when water covers 70% of the planet, the increase of humanity can make them a very popular niche in the architecture of the future.