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'Green & Blue DNA' Dnieper River Park, Kiev, Ukraine

Client: Kiev Municipality
Team: Marko&Placemakers

The Dnieper River Park is an idea that instantly creates something greater than the sum of the existing and often disconnected present realities. Dnieper River Park is an idea based on green and blue urbanism giving the citizens of Kiev the opportunity to start thinking about its river and adjoining land in a coherent and aspirational way. It’s a once a generation opportunity for Kiev to start to fix some of the things that are not working on the greater scale as well as to enable a sustainable transformation of the strategic relationships between larger social, natural, civic and economic ecologies.

Driven by the demands of 21st century living and working our approach suggests a new mind-set, in which the transformation and reintegration with the Dnieper River is seen as a catalyst for change - as prototype for a new relationship, a smarter relationship. Fifteen years from now, people arriving into Kiev will see the city’s Dnieper River and its slopes not as an obstacle to be overcome, but as world class destinations to discover. Whilst initially meaning many different things to many different people, as repository of vast and historically accumulated human experience and endeavors – the Dnieper River Park as big idea will ultimately converge with the future of Kiev as the centre of community life and enterprise.The delivery of the Dnieper River Park as a strong recognizable brand equaling other world famous riverfronts and parks will require radically different way of thinking than that which formed Kiev in the 19th and 20th century . Our approach to this challenge in the millennial shift from the 20th century based economies and their spatial/urban demands and in the age of limited public resources focuses empowering another important resource that all cities have in common – its people. We believe that the global magnetism of a successful Kiev will stem in the future not only from its infrastructure, but also from the energy it draws from those who live and work in it, and so sustain it. Humanity delights in and finds inspiration in their rivers, but increasingly asks more of them than was delivered in the past.

Many of the necessary elements for the ambitious Dnieper River Park project are already in place, and others await only the community’s decision to pursue them. Clearly, one of the key issues in current circumstances is one of credibility and of inclusive participation of people in the process of change. In recognition, our proposal is built on the notion of fluid urbanism involving psychological to physical transformation through time. In this context we see the Euro 2012 sporting event as a unique opportunity to involve the citizens and visitors of Kiev with the beginning of making the Dnieper River Park a reality. We see this as the start of a process of empowerment of people of all ages and backgrounds as individuals whilst also strengthening the community confidence and participation in aspirational and delivery orientated thinking.