09:53 09.11.2021

Urban planning reform bill in its current form neutralizes achievements of decentralization – expert

3 min read

KYIV. Nov 9 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Bill No. 5655 on the reform of urban planning, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on July 1 at first reading, in its current form levels out the achievements of decentralization, representatives of the professional community said at a press conference entitled "Urban planning reform. Has the government heard architects?" at Interfax-Ukraine.

"By developing architecture, we are developing civil society as a whole. We are convinced that the formation of harmonious and stimulating laws requires a dialogue between the architectural community and the authorities - the Verkhovna Rada, the Ministry of Regional Development," Oleksandr Chizhevsky, the President of the National Union of Architects of Ukraine.

The deputy chairman of the architectural chamber of the union, Hanna Kiriy, said that since the adoption of the bill at first reading, a systemic struggle has been waged "not only for the rights of architects, but above all for the rights of people to a safe, high-quality and comfortable space in our cities."

She noted that there are two systemic problems that lead to chaotic urban development, namely, the lack of involvement of people and communities in making decisions about how their cities will look, as well as the imbalance of the system in favor of developers.

"And what is the so-called urban planning reform doing? Bill No. 5655 aggravates these problems. It further squeezes the rights of communities, and reduces responsibility for developers with the greatest resources," Kiriy said.

The architect and urbanist, the chief architect of Lviv (2015-2019), Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development (2019-2020) Yulian Chaplynsky noted that, while working on the bill on urban planning reform, it was necessary not only to single out the stakeholders, but also to clearly define, who exactly represents their interests.

"The digitization of all the processes offered by No. 5655 is an absolute plus. But the sphere of architecture and procedure are not the same thing. Bill No. 5655 is not about cities, not about communities, not about the quality of architecture. And the previous system of urban planning control and supervision assumed that local authorities issue town planning conditions and restrictions, and not permits. Now this process is further aggravated, because "town planning conditions and restrictions are being simplified", cities and communities will continue to receive dubious architecture with incomprehensible facades," Chaplynsky said.

At the same time, according to him, residents demand a high-quality environment, first of all, from the mayor, but the local authorities, within the framework of the forthcoming reform, will be able to control only two parameters: the maximum height and density of the building site.

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