Urban Vision Lutsk: conclusions of the workshop

Publication date

Last week, as part of the Urban Vision Lutsk project, an open workshop was held with the participation of urbanists and residents of Lutsk.

The participants worked in three groups: "Urban Mobility", "Culture", and "Public Spaces". Everyone had the opportunity to speak out and share their observations about the city's districts and thoughts on how to improve them. The workshop was moderated by a team of architects and urbanists from the Urban Reform Office.

Today, we are ready to share the first conclusions developed during the workshop.

Group I - "Urban mobility"

The team of the first group explored movement in the city: mobility, transport and pedestrian networks. The workshop participants included: people who work with the city council; local NGOs involved in the development of street infrastructure; active bicycle users; and passersby who accidentally learned about the event. 

The workflow was divided into two parts. In the first part, urbanists and local residents examined the existing spaces in the city. They also confirmed the hypotheses of why these spaces are looking the way we see them now. 

During the second part of the workshop, the participants thought about improvements in mobility, what should be reorganized or added to make it more comfortable for pedestrians, cyclists, and other residents.

The main idea that the first group worked on was to create a network of pedestrian streets and connect the existing pedestrian street to this network, improving walking accessibility to the central park. The possibility of building bicycle and pedestrian bridges across the Styr River was actively discussed: on the one hand, to connect the old town with the village of Rovantsi along the existing rampart, which is the remains of a 14th century bridge, and on the other hand, to connect Naberezhna Street with the other bank.

Much has been said about the fact that Lutsk is compact and consists of short distances. Therefore, the popular concept of a 15-minute city is appropriate here as nowhere else. More services in the development neighborhood, connected infrastructure (bicycle paths, parking spaces, rent) and well-designed streets for a better life in the city.

I am always happy to take part in such events, as they give us the opportunity to confirm or refute hypotheses about the development of certain parts of the city. Being in the context sometimes makes it easier to take important project decisions. Communication with local residents helps us in our work and gives us a broader understanding of the situation in the city. Local architects shared the city's plans for future street reconstruction. We will take this information into account when the team is working on the city study,"

— says Anna Lytovka, the group's coordinator, an architect and urbanist.

Group II - "Culture"

Participants shared what culture is already present in Lutsk and what is missing. The team of the second group identified the following cultural centers: a gallery in the city center, various old buildings in the historic part, and expressed a desire to interact with them more. One of the artists noted that the city has no concept of cultural management and highlighted the problem of age hierarchy among artists - the lack of communication between the older and younger generations. 

The citizens of Lutsk have a demand for non-standard cultural formats, namely open cinemas, new venues, and festivals. They want to increase the number of cultural events in the city.

Many people see the potential of the central park as a location for events, so that its large territory is fully utilized. The citizens of Lutsk support the use of green spaces in the city as public spaces and consider the combination of "nature - culture - life" to be successful.

At the workshop, participants focused on the central part of the city, but also emphasized the importance of decentralizing culture. This could be realized by placing a House of Culture in each neighborhood, which would be open to all age groups and include multidisciplinary events. According to the team, it is worth rethinking the House of Culture as an outdated form, perhaps creating new forms, such as cultural hubs.   

The residents of Lutsk want to explore the city's still-unknown monuments, so as not to focus only on the Lutsk Castle.

Group III - "Public Spaces"

According to our observations, this group was the most active, and we felt a great need for new public spaces and a desire to work on their creation. The most popular locations for spending free time among the residents of Lutsk are the central park of culture and recreation named after Lesia Ukrainka, Volia Avenue, and Lesia Ukrainka Street.

Interestingly, residents of Lutsk do not consider some smaller squares comfortable for leisure. This is because of the problems that these spaces have, in particular, the lack of street lighting makes it impossible to use them comfortably. The green area and new benches quickly become neglected because, in the absence of lighting, they are filled with loud parties and become dangerous for a quiet rest. Gradually, residents stop using these spaces. First, in the evening due to lack of or poor lighting, and then during the day due to damaged infrastructure.

The citizens of Lutsk also lack sports activities, which are impossible without open sports grounds - basketball, volleyball, football, and skate parks. The spaces that exist in the city are paid, private, and closed to the public. There is also a lack of infrastructure for outdoor water sports, such as kayak, boat, and catamaran rental centers.

Participants in the third group talked about two local rivers, the Sapalaivka and the Styr, and their different functions in the context of urban recreation. Residents associate the Styr River and the park next to it with noisy and active recreation. On the contrary, they want to leave Sapalaivka as a zone of quiet leisure, a space for yoga, tea drinking, solitude, and nature observation. The residents of Lutsk emphasized the inviolability of nature from the construction of children's or sports grounds. This is because of the presence of plants and animals listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. But nature can become a place for events like yoga. Currently, yoga is held in an inconvenient and too noisy location - in a park.

The residents of Lutsk are concerned that the city has two rivers, but no equipped embankment. The Styr River has well-equipped beaches. But neither Sapalaivka nor Styr has a waterfront, as in Dnipro or Ternopil. Although there is all the potential for this.

Residents of the Rovantsi village, which is located on the opposite bank of the Styr River, do not have easy and quick access to Lutsk. To get to the city by car, they have to make a long detour, causing traffic jams. A bridge over the Styr River could be a solution to this problem. Such a solution would make it possible not only to move quickly but also to share access to public spaces, cultural events, and leisure activities.

The issue of inclusiveness is also important to the citizens of Lutsk. Among all the requests, we identified an increase in the inclusiveness of public spaces. There are a lot of stairs and drops in Lutsk, and there are not enough ramps.

As a conclusion, the third group came up with the concept of a green circle of public spaces and routes between them, which would go through Sapalaivka, the Styr River, Lesia Ukrainka Street, and end at City Park. We also found out that the old town should be included in the green circle, building connections so that it would not be isolated.

What's next?

  • Now the Urban Reform team is processing the ideas and materials that they developed together with the citizens of Lutsk during the workshop.
  • All the ideas will be used to develop a master plan and a comprehensive study of the city.
  • The next meetings of the architects with the citizens will be dedicated to discussing the hypotheses of the city's development in more detail. Follow the news and take part in creating a comfortable Lutsk.
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