This week is not an ordinary week for me. Just as Londoners were leaving the city for their Bank holiday destinations, I took a plane to Kiev...
I will be spending the week in the Ukranian capital, working with a group of young international city scholars and architects to come up with a development strategy for a derelict industrial site in the heart of the city.
The centerpiece of the site is a building that pre-dates the 1917 revolution and housed one of the first breweries in the city. Today the building is preserved as an example of the city’s industrial heritage.
The task at hand is by no means easy. Nothing has happened on the site since 2004 when the brewery moved out and there are significant limitations to what can be done. The factory’s structure is in a state of severe disrepair, the ownership of the site and the building is fragmented, and the regulatory regime is confusing. And to make issues even more complex, it appears that local government has no intention of playing an active part in shaping the future of the site.
I am not sure we will solve this extremely complicated case within a week, but I came here precisely for the challenge of it. Taking my self out of the comfort of the Centre for Cities office and working with a diverse group of experts in a very different institutional environment has already been a steep learning curve. And I hope I will come out of this week with fresh ideas on what we can do to address the needs of some of the UK’s cities with strong industrial legacies. Watch this space for more updates from Kiev.
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