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ReStart Ukraine
Organisation : ReStart Ukraine NGO , Ukraine

ReStart Ukraine is a multidisciplinary platform of Ukrainian and foreign experts united around rethinking the cities and municipalities' future in Ukraine during and after the war. This action started early in March 2022 once the Russian invasion happened and is an ongoing urban living lab aiming at supporting Ukrainian cities and municipalities in their innovative recovery based on local knowledge and global expertise.

As of September 2022, the team has already developed an analytical platform, an algorithm for urban recovery, and a showcase pilot project for unoccupied city recovery. All three are helpful for scaling up the recovery action nationwide.

EU Green Deal Policy Areas Addressed
Building and renovating
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Guarantee equal access to information & digital services
  • Support open data standards
Context
Transformative action

Since February 24th, 2022, Ukraine lives in a state of a full-scale ongoing war, where millions of people were displaced, and lost places to live. Cities did as well as – they changed dramatically, uncovering the huge damage caused by the Russian army.

Under these circumstances ReStart Ukraine emerged as a response to the ongoing urban crisis, filtering all the ongoing events through a prism of future development trajectories and recovery. The war together with previous imperfections and topped with future uncertainties, shaped the context of the next steps in the Ukrainian recovery. 

EU Candidacy of Ukraine allows future compliance with EU legislation such as The New European Green Deal as a cornerstone to relaunch the postwar recovery.

ReStart Ukraine has taken the path of an analytical approach, shaping the ecosystem of interdisciplinary experts, and working around a selected pilot city providing an optional view to conservative rebuilding.

In Action
First results

ReStart Ukraine appeared on the basis of Kyiv-based Zvidsy Agency some few weeks after the war started. The project united 15 people from various backgrounds  – urban planning, architecture, ecology, GIS, sociology, and design – around one common goal: to create a new vision for Ukrainian recovery as opposed to a potential Soviet-style rebuild.

Additionally, a volunteering announcement form on the website has brought an additional 300 experts and companies from 30+ countries. A part of this task force was involved in the further ReStart Ukraine action.

The action was to apply various urban and social innovations to a context of pilot city recovery with further potential scaling up of the approach. After 5 months of work, ReStart Ukraine has presented three key tools as the results:

  • a pilot project of Chernihiv city describing the potential trajectory of a fast recovery and future sustainable growth;

  • a data platform, where various datasets can be collected, and analysed, and decisions for the local urban planning can be produced from there;

  • a practical algorithm, which can be used as a baseline for other cities and municipalities' recovery.

The project was supported in the early phase by Bosch Foundation, UNDP Ukraine, Essex University, St.Gallen University, and various architecture/urban planning project offices in the EU.

ReStart Ukraine appeared in the top media, such as Forbes Ukraine, Politico, Foreign Policy, and Telegraph Media.

Here is what our partners think about us:

Artem Hlushchenko, Chief Architect of the Chernihiv region

ReStart Ukraine is an example of a civic society representative, which is very in line with the contemporary urban planning methods and approaches and is able to connect this knowledge to the new reality we are living in now in Ukraine. Chernihiv region being adjacent to the Russian border is a highly volatile area, which needs in future innovative and flexible approaches for resilience and people’s safety and prosperity.’

Serhii Bezborod’ko, local rban NGO EcoCity leader:

Since the last 5-8 years we advocated the sustainable and green city development, which was never actuallly a top priority. Today, reinforced with the ReStart Ukraine ideas and approach, we see how together with local administration and business we are able to make a change in the city.’  

A contact with the local business assosiation was established and further actions are ahead.

Integration

ReStart Ukraine is one of the earliest NGO initiatives in the country's analysis and recovery planning. Its goal now is to provide a holistic spatial recovery for the damaged cities and municipalities going beyond simple fast recovery needed for the stabilisation.

The integration is happening on various levels:

National level: ReStart Ukraine participated in the development of the Lugano plan as a member of the regional development working group. First project drafts were presented to Ministries of Infrastructure, Regional Development, Digital Transformation.

International level: ReStart Ukraine communicated and integrated into the activities on recovery of UNDP, UN-Habitat, GIZ, and other technical support organisations providing ideas on the localisation of the standard recovery protocols.

Local level: Together with Chernihiv City, ReStart Ukraine developed a testing approach on possible recovery based on sustainable development principles and a future Local Green Deal.

Results
Starting condition. Pilot city

During the first 7 months of the war, ReStart Ukraine provided critical and essential tools and results needed for further replication and scaling within the recovery process.

Key achievements:

Impact

As the situation is very volatile and dynamic with the war in Ukraine, we in ReStart Ukraine are very pragmatic as to future steps and impact, making it as practical and needed as possible. Now, during the first Fast Recovery phase many actions aim to normalise normal conditions of living.

Our work, however, is needed to look further into the future to ensure a sustainable, green, inclusive recovery. Within this scope we try to focus on potential impact. For us it consists out of three components at the moment:

1. Further development of the Chernihiv recovery plan together with key internal and external stakeholders. We position our product as a way to include NGOs, businesses, and local administration to have more balanced city development considering environmental aspects, social equality, and green production. Our goal is to communicate this vision to international partners so they also require such an approach for the recovery of Chernihiv.

2. Mobilisation of numerous foreign experts around systematic and organised professional help for Ukrainian cities and municipalities in their recovery plans and strategies.

3. Advocating the approach through various Ministries in order to scale up and multiply the recovery approach to 4500+ settlements damaged by the war.

Challenges and lessons learned
Further steps

During our work we understood several critical outcomes needed to be considered for further work or for the similar cases:

1. In the postwar recovery different time phases should have different principles. Thus, at some point Fast Recovery should be changed by system planning;

2. NGOs can play a critical role, when local administrations are solving emergency problems. The sense of trust available between these two can be the source of synergy in the city;

3. Competition; by picking cities to recover with different teams without defining guiding principles and common rules is counterproductive in the long run.

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Contact

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
Fax: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 19

E-mail: info@sustainablecities.eu
Website: www.sustainablecities.eu

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