Creating high-quality and modern public space — as a common issue

Project "Square in front of the printing house"
(within Urban program)

The story of the success of Teple Misto for the ISAR initiative center for promoting the activity and development of the public initiative "Yednannya".

The idea of ​​creating a qualitative and modern public space in front of the printing house in Ivano-Frankivsk arose among the community as a result of dissatisfaction with the state of the abandoned buildings before publishing house in the central part of the city – the street Sichovyh Striltsiv, 78. Among the urgent problems areas were: spontaneous parking, trash, neglected green area, lack of places for recreation for representatives of different age groups. It is also clear that the abandoned area in the city center does not contribute to the formation of a positive tourist image of Ivano-Frankivsk.

The initiative group for the transformation of the square in the person of Ulyana Fedyk and Roman Rudyi appealed for support to Teple Misto platform, as it has the appropriate expert and practical experience in one of its areas of activity — Urban program, which is specifically aimed at attracting residents of Ivano-Frankivsk in the process of qualitative renovation, transformation and use of urban spaces, according to needs and functional purpose.The project "Publishing House Public Space" actualized important issues in practice, such as the activation of the inhabitants and townships of the city, support of grassroots initiatives and raising the level of responsibility of citizens for public spaces between living blocks, improving the quality of participant practices and establishing effective communication mechanisms between city administration, business and the community. So, Teple Misto joined the project "Publishing House Public Space" at the consulting, organizational, and expert level. A grant from the public restaurant Urban Space 100 (one of the projects of Teple Misto) helped to hold a square-themed hackathon. Also, with the support of Teple Misto, an appropriate architectural residence was held, platform representatives joined to diagnose location problems and assess their potential as a public space.

The aim of the project "Publishing House Public Space" is to transform the area near the printing house into an attractive and comfortable public space. This is important because of the location of the square – in walking distance from important points of attraction and transit, such as the railway station, the central square and the central pedestrian street (Nezalezhnosti street), the transport highway (street Sichovyh Striltsiv), a number of commercial institutions, offices, etc.

The project is implemented in several stages. The start was the hackathon in May 2016, which was held by the initiative group and Teple Misto platform. Then they worked on ideas for space development, animated the location with means of tactical urbanization – they created and equipped street furniture. And in July 2016, a concept of public space near the printing house was developed. It was the result of a 11-day architectural residence "Pavilion 78" (operated in a specially-made pavilion in front of the printing house), which united the city's residents, representatives of city authorities, business, urban development specialists and as direct participants of a dozen architects and urbanists from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk; the curator of the residence is an architect and urbanist from Kharkiv, Yaroslav Yakovlev.

For understanding the issues and potential of space during the residence, they conducted a historical and social study – they worked with documents, since opening of the printing press in 1964. Also, the social profile of the location was analyzed, that allowed to identify the groups of potential users of the future public space and their activities, explore the thoughts and wishes of the towns, the inhabitants of surrounding houses in particular, as well as owners of local businesses.The results of analytical work became the basis of the concept of public space in front of the printing house. Its accents: expanding the pedestrian space (Nezalezhnosti Street) and the green zone, functioning of the printing house and the area in front of it in an inextricable connection, the filling of the square with dynamic and static elements (street furniture, terrace, bicycle parking, etc.). Possible scenarios of space usage have been simulated: daily activities (walks, etc.), artistic events (evening cinema shows, performances, concerts), gaming events, etc.

It is possible to consider not only the development of the concept of the park, but also in the broader, city-wide context of changing the attitude of the community to this location. Thanks to the events that took place there during the spring-summer of 2016 (lectures, workshops, art-parties, etc.), the city's residents began to identify the area before the printing house as a full-fledged place where you can talk and relax, and have an active and interesting activities, including joining various initiatives.

After creating the concept and beginning work on the space project, it turned out that the first floor of the printing house was rented by a network of supermarkets and there are plans to equip a parking area for cars in front of the building. As a result of the long three-way talks between the Ivano-Frankivsk city mayor, supermarket’s board and the Teple Misto platform (which were representing the community's position), a memorandum on the joint implementation of the project for the improvement of the "Publishing House Public Space" was signed. According to the agreement, the supermarket has the right to organize temporary parking for the period before April 21, 2017, before the reorganization of the territory into modern public space begins.

Currently, the second stage of the "Publishing House Public Space" initiative, which involves the development and approval of an architectural project of public space, based on the earlier concept. The final phase will be the implementation of this project during 2017-2018. For Ivano-Frankivsk it is actually a precedent for implementing "bottom-up" community-based urban initiatives, as  an example of a combination of modern forms of urban culture and new visual aesthetics, the emergence of new approaches to design, the formation and use of public spaces.

The project "Publishing House Public Space" is being implemented by the Ivano-Frankivsk community together with Teple Misto platform with the support of the Executive Committee of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council, the Workshops of the city (Lviv), the international cooperation office of GIZ, Comixans, "Restoratsia Kukhnya",the network “23 Restaurants”, Sunlight, Pylypets Bikepark, Western woodwork company, “Ivano-Frankivsk AutoDor” and a number of patrons.

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