Sykhiv: from Microraion to Macrohistory

The aim of this theme is to produce a socio-cultural, ethnographic study that complements the historical dimension of the Lviv Interactive Project. The Sykhiv theme focuses on the emergence and life of a city suburb, Sykhivskyy masyv, providing a kind of "thick description" of its functioning, uses and symbolic meanings.

In relation to Lviv, Sykhiv emerges as the "representative Other" in full contrast to the historical center and the celebrated past of the city. With its visible layers of historical change, the suburb embodies the recent past. Historical urban transformations mark its landscape crudely: Sykhiv, the former Polish village was almost fully demolished by socialist industrialization in the 1960s yet some parts of the village are still visible today. The superimposed district exemplifies the microraion, the basic spatial unit of the socialist city under Soviet urbanism. However, the new Sykhiv remained an unfinished urban project, a failed attempt to create the Soviet urban ideal. Instead, it was appropriated and transformed in the early 1990s by its own residents and became a field of contestation and "privatization". Today Sykhiv is a dynamic neighborhood in the expanding city and its case illustrates well the strange trajectories of urban development in this region.

This ethnographic study of Sykhiv focuses on the multiple interactions between people and urban spaces that are revealed through everyday practices and personal experiences of the city. The research methods involve ethnographic and survey research aimed at collecting contextual and macro-structural data (such as demographic, socio-economic, linguistic, ethnic, health, and migration information); in-depth interviews; narrative descriptions of events, archival research into maps and graphic representations, including urbanization and construction plans; visual analysis of photographs and films; and the analysis of diaries and personal travel narratives.