Thinking the City as a Plan. What was the Master Planning of Kyiv About For 35 Years?

Thinking the City as a Plan. What was the Master Planning of Kyiv About For 35 Years?

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Oleksandr Anisimov

4Cities Urban Studies


Center's conference room

"Plan is a generator." It is a well-known statement by Le Corbusier, a theoretician and a practitioner of architecture. In fact, it came true in the Soviet Union. Due to the centrally-controlled economy, planners managed to develop cities on a more or less homogeneous basis. They promoted the ideals of an egalitarian socialist society. The city’s Master Plan and its successful implementation consolidated the government’s ideology no worse than parades and festivities. Despite the fact that today the ideology does not play the central role, the Soviet-type planning approaches are still there; and they are still defining the city’s future. The approach is still valid when a planner is treated as a supra-expert in the city’s functioning, while the planning institution is the supreme judge on the plan’s quality. On the other hand, the Master Plan is a steadfast framework for the future. The Plan that used to be related to the state’s property, with the 5-year plans and directive governance is a certain type of thinking shaping the planning discourse. It defines the elements of a city; who shall engage in the discussion of the future; and how the plan shall be put into life.

How has the planning paradigm been changing since the collapse of the Soviet Union? What elements of the urban planning system of Kyiv, centered on the Master Plan, are functioning under the market-oligarchic economy? How can urban planning change agents impact the process without changing the legal framework? Searching for answers to these questions is part of the research project for a Master’s thesis by a student at the 4Cities Urban Studies program coordinated by the Vreije Universiteit Brussel, Universite Libre Bruxelles and Universität Wien.

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Oleksandr Anisimov

Urban researcher, head of an NGO “Understanding Soviet Podil,” ASIUD program alumni from CANactions, student of the Master’s Program 4Cities Urban Studies.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Maryana Mazurak ([email protected]) to receive the materials in advance.


Cover photo: The 1986 Master Plan of Kyiv, main drawing. From the book "Half a Century Through an Architect’s Eye" V.Yezhov, 2001 (“Полвека Глазами архитектора” В. Єжов, 2001)