45 Ideas for Ukrainian Cities — and every other city in the world — New Book
At long last, this book has been sent to the printers here in Kyiv and is available for pre-order. It has been hard but rewarding work curating and writing but soon we will bring these good, urban ideas to light in the hope of inspiring positive urban change in Ukrainian cities and towns — and everywhere else in the world.
In January 2022 I said to my Ukrainian publisher CANactions that I was worried about whatever Marshall Plan was on the way for Ukraine and I wanted to do something to get something out to pave the way for good urban ideas as Ukrainian cities and towns rethink, redesign and rebuild.
The idea for this book was born. My publisher Bogdan said, “this will be the first book about post-war reconstruction in Europe in the 21st Century” and with that ringing in my ears, off I went. I asked a long list of friends and colleagues in urbanism to contribute an idea for this anthology. 32 experts from 15 countries stepped up to the plate and sent in their contribution. A list of the authors and the topics is at the end of this article.
The drums of war are deafening but if you listen carefully, you can hear the sounds of a nation persistently rebuilding and redesigning — planning a better future. I have been in Ukraine for more than nine months since June 2022, mostly working with my NGO Bikes4Ukraine.org (FINANCIAL DONATIONS NEEDED!!!) and I have constantly been amazed at how these resilient Ukrainians just keep on carrying on. Planting trees, fixing sidewalks, rebuilding bridges — all with continued threats of military aggression from the invaders. Just this morning I was rocked awake by the sound of incoming missiles being shot down over my neighbourhood.
It is important in so many ways that the first book about post-war reconstruction in Europe in the 21st century is not a corporate business model to make money but rather a collection of important, passionate urban ideas for promoting a healthy, sustainable future for the proud, resilient citizens of Ukrainian cities and towns.
Collaboration is the spirit of this book. A long list of great urban ideas for Ukrainian cities and towns, written by a group of thirty-two international experts. This is not a “we know better” book — this is a team effort. Good ideas know no borders and urban citizens everywhere deserve the same quality of life and influence on the development of their cities. A list of the contributing authors and topics is at the end of this article.
There are choices to be made as Ukraine rebuilds and we hope that those choices are modern and progressive. Let this book serve as a life-sized counterweight to the massive corporate plans for rebuilding that are forming in closed meeting rooms filled with men in suits as we speak.
We hope to inspire the current generation of urban Ukrainians — and future generations — about what is possible regarding the urban change that they expect and deserve. These ideas are universal — fit for implementation in every city in the world — but this is Ukraine’s opportunity to emerge from the destruction of war and become a guiding light in urban thinking — for their citizens first and the rest of us afterwards. It is our sincere hope that Ukrainian cities and towns become the urban leaders the world needs.
As of today the book is available for pre-orders on CANactions website — and sales are accelerating, even after a few hours. We expect the book to be printed and ready around 11–13 October. The book will be printed in Ukrainian first — we are working on an English version. So if you don’t read Ukrainian, buy a copy for a Ukrainian friend.
It is one of my life’s great honours to be in Ukraine, helping as best I can as the defence of the nation continues. Ukrainians are a constant inspiration to me with their defiance in the face of invasion, their resilience and their sense of community.
I hope our book will help place the focus on rebuilding firmly on the people of Ukrainian cities — not developers and corrupt politicians. These cities and towns belong to the citizens. The rebuilding of Ukraine starts and ends with citizen engagement.
Andy Singer, USA — Cartoonist — Urbanism Cartoons
Anni Sinnemäki, Finland — Vice-Mayor of Helsinki — Inspiration from Helsinki
Dr. Bianca Hermansen, Denmark — Democratic Design
Brent Toderian, Canada — Successful Tall Building Planning
Carl Honoré, Canada/UK — Slow Cities
Carlos Cadena Gaitan, Colombia — Lessons from Medellin: from social challenges to urban innovations
Chris Turner, Canada — The Carbon-Free Role Model the World Needs
Christine Lee, Taiwan — Designing Play Spaces for, with and by Children
David Sim, Sweden — Soft Cities — the gentle dream of the European city
Daria Lisich, Ukraine — Poet
Donald Shoup, USA — Rebuilding Ukraine without Parking Requirements
Giacomo Biraghi, Italy — Implementation of a New UN Habitat Headquarters in Kyiv
Jason M. Henderson, USA — Save the Trams and Trolleybuses
Jean-Louis Rocheron, France — The Road to Trust
Jordi Galí, Catalonia — Building a Cargo Bike Nation
Lyana Mytsko, Ukraine — Create Social Space with Common Values
Lykke Leonardsen, Denmark — Resilience and Climate Adaptation Policy
Maxym Badyornij & Stripe Architects, Ukraine — Self-Made Odesa
Melinda Zsolt, Hungary — Energy transition, Renewable Energy and Energy Democracy
Meredith Glazer, Netherlands — Redefining Urban Planning by Reclaiming Streets
Michael Cholod, Canada — Digitalising Transitional Justice
Ole Kassow & Pernille Vedersø Bussone, Denmark — Would Your Grandmother Thrive?
Orest Oleskiv, Ukraine — Spatial Planning for our Urban Future
Pärtel-Peeter Pere, Estonia — The Timeless Relevance of Urban Density
Pekka Tahkola, Finland — Designing Cities for Winter Cycling
Petro Obukhov, Ukraine — Uniform Digital Services — and Transparency
Philippe Crist, France — Empathy and Regeneration
Romain Loubiere, France — The Urban Revolution of Paris — an inspiration for Ukrainian Cities
Sam Goater, USA — Maximizing Efficiency in Reconstruction
Steven Fleming, Australia — Thoughts of an Architect Who Became a Bicycle Planner
Vadym Denysenko & Mariia Gryshchenko, Ukraine — Participatory Democracy
Mikael Colville-Andersen, Denmark — Author & Curator — Back to the Future with Food Security, Noise Pollution, Tackle the Deep-Rooted Scourge of Corruption, Remove or Reduce Outdoor Advertising, Limit the Influence of Developers and Beware of Starchitects, Build on What You Have, Unleash the Power of Temporary Urbanism, Russian Urban Planning — Go Fuck Yourself, Techno-rationality not Techno-optimism, New Urban Roles — City Architects and Design Officers, Greening a City, Embrace Sustainable Materials in Construction, The Power of Citizen Engagement, Bring Back the Bikes.