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Industrial enterprises in Kostiantynivka are stopping working. The whole factories disappear, and later – any mentions of them in the urban landscape disappear too. Today, out of more than ten industrial giants, glass, chemical and metallurgical, only a few of their shops still operate. As a result, there is an huge abandoned area in the central part of the city.

photo by Svitlana Kolodiy

A huge area between the historical part of the city and the new one built in the Soviet times is gradually becoming an exclusion zone. You can rarely meet people here. Among those industrial buildings which still remain to this day, the majority has been abandoned for so long that they turned into ruins. In some places neglected and abandoned by humans, nature has already started coming back, creating a multi-layered landscape.

photo by Svitlana Kolodiy

You can see the remnants of mosaic inscription that reads ‘Lenin’s ideas are immortal’. There is a huge wasteland in front of it, which states the fact of the plant’s death The territory of the former giant ‘Avtosklo’ plant. Only a few administrative buildings left (you can see those on the left side of the photo)


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... this zone is not only a geographical center, but also the center of attention, although most people physically avoid it.






When Andriy Shulyar and I as part of the METAMISTO_SHID team arrived in Kostyantynivka in February 4-8, 2017 in order to explore the city, of course, we went straight there, to the abandoned area in the central part of the city. We were fortunate enough to have an excursion that was conducted by a local activist David, who feels connections with ruins of his hometown. Having already had a great interest in such chalanging and no less interesting places, we felt connected with this urban landscape and instantly fell for it. Almost 7 months after this visit, the METACITY_ EAST team returns to Kostyantynivka to start experimenting and to transform, together with the locals, the location in this vast abandoned area selected during our exploring. The abandoned building, from the roof of which we looked at the industrial zone and the area for transformation itself, no longer exists. The ‘tower’ that we went up and stood fascinated and a little bit scared by the remnants of the industrial past, disappeared.

It looks like in this city the ruins disappear from the urban landscape rather than from the people’s minds.

top photo: on the roof of the engineering building of the Avtosklo plant. February 2017. Photo by Svitlana Kolodiy foort photo: around the ruins of the engineering building of the Avtosklo plant. September 2017. Photo by Anastasiya Parafenyuk

Indeed, everyone we talked to in the city during our exploration spoke about this post-industrial area of the city, even when we were inquiring about completely different issues. Rather predictable for a monocity, many people still dream of getting the former industrial glory back (mostly older generation), while others, on the contrary, want to get rid of it as something unpleasant. But there are those of the locals who see this as a city feature. Mostly it is young people who were born after the plants started declining.

here are some of the candid reactions we received during the interviews in February: - what distinguishes your city from others? - closed plants ‘I admire the giant plants and I am afraid of them at the same time’ ‘I want to get rid of scary plants that do not work’ ‘I am proud of the Khimik (‘chemist’) plant, Stekolny (‘glass) plant’ ‘I want to develop the destroyed industrial zone, to create a platform for festivals there’

At the end of our exploring we had the impression that this post-industrial zone of the city is not only a geographical center of Kostiantynivka, but also the center of attention, although most people physically avoid it. Among those who are interested in it we met photographers, directors, and journalists. They challenged themselves to rethink the past and industrial heritage of the city. Volodymyr Berezin conducts an excursion for the tourists in this part of the city under the title ‘Communism Dump’, local artists create murals on the remnants of the buildings, and the young director David Gasparyan makes short films. chemical plant. near the sulfuric acid shop. Author’s photo, February 2017

amid the ruin of ÂŤAvtoskloÂť view on the territory from roof of engineering building

ruin of administration building

postcard with «Avtosko» plant from 1970

These locals are doing an extremely important job. In times of crisis, when there are no resources for significant urban transformations, it is important to focus on the ‘narrative approach’. During such work the valuable, the collective and the individual manifests itself. Our four-day exploration of Kostyantynivka in February helped us determine the most suitable places for the experiment. Among those (see below) was the territory near the former railway bridge at the Schmidt street. Working with it, which starting from September 23 turned into the real experiment on the site, is important not only for rethinking the industrial past of a huge area, but also for connecting the exclusion zone with the whole city. Its special location, interest of the locals and existing anthropogenic and natural elements make it what it is. Such conclusions were based on communicating with the locals and the SWOT analysis of 10 potential locations, and were also supported by further spatial analysis of the city and analysis of the ‘weather map’. According to the results of SWOT analysis, we have formed a list of 7 locations: 1. the territory near the former railway bridge in the Schmidt street 2. summer playground and fountain in the Yuvileynyy (‘Jubilee’) park 3. former Sputnik cinema

4. ‘Khimik’ (‘Chemist’) park 5. the site near the Children and Youth Sports School 6. School #5 with the park and the tank 7. Koshovy Children’s Library with the territory in front of the library

A spatial analysis of the city showed that the

weak infrastructure widens and complicates the gap between two parts of the city. Two automobile bridges on two sides of the exclusion zone connect two parts of the city. Using public transport, according to the locals, isn’t comfortable, as it stops working early in the evening. The bridges do not have any sidewalks for pedestrians, and besides, the bridges would be very uncomfortable to use, as they are far

city is devided into two parts historical part of the city and the part built in the Soviet times, where the modern city centre is

there is an exclusion zone w between the two parts there are only a few working glass, chemical and metallu were there before. That’s the abandoned zone in the cen

there’s a railroad and the remnants of the tram lines along the exclusion zone the tram lines that ones connected all the plants with some distant parts of the city are partly dismantled. The appearing trams once signalled about the emergence of the city and now their disappearing signals about the opposite.

automobile connection of th the spatial gap between two complicated by the weak in city is scarce, it is connected bridges.

with a few working shops

g shops left among a dozen urgical giant plants that e reason why there is an ntre of the city now.

he two parts of the city o parts of the city is nfrastructure. although the d by only two automobile

the exclusion zone is cut by the Kryvy Torets river the overall state is unsatisfactory, there are few places for the fishermen and some ducks

pedestrian connection of the two parts of the city there are no sidewalks and pedestrian bridges between two parts of the city. there is a possibility to get to the other part of the city through the former engineer bridges for trucks across the river, and through the overpass across the railroad

from the city center. Therefore, those locals who still dare to go on foot from one part of the city to another, go through the exclusion zone, crossing the bridge across the river and the overpass across the railway. The entire route from the city center (Lomonosov St.) may take about 20 minutes, but it is completely unequipped: there are no streetlights and no sidewalks. The only municipal transport, the tram*, doesn’t work, which complicates getting around the city.

The weather map identified the locations

where the transformation would have the biggest impact on the city. Among the most effective ones in this sense would be the transformations at the following locations: the territory around the former railway bridge at the Schmidt Street and School #5 with the park and the tank. The chosen location makes an attempt to create an ‘informal’ pedestrian link between the two parts of the city. In particular, it is also able to combine two of today’s most important cultural locations of Kostiantynivka: the ‘Friends’ open space in the ‘Sputnik’ cinema and the square in front of the Lenin cinema in Toretska Street. The site is located on the territory of the former ‘Avtosklo’ plant, which left only a few administrative and outbuildings in memory of itself in the urban landscape. The transformation will undergo in one of those buildings near the

bridge. It’ll be the first transformation of the industrial reserve in the city. In our opinion, it is also symbolic, since this plant was the most famous one among all the other ones in the city. Every resident of Kostiantynivka probably remembers the ruby stars for the Kremlin towers, the crystal fountain for the exhibition in New York (this is the fountain which is now on the coat of arms of the city) and the portholes for the ‘Lenin’ lunar rover, all of which were made at the ‘Avtosklo’ plant. No less important are the natural qualities of the location, namely the proximity of the river. Its presence can calm you down a bit and allows you to enjoy a scenic view. The exclusion zone separates the city, reminds of its past and demonstrates the difficult time of the present. It contains a huge amount of historical material for transformation and creativity. That is why, this zone became the main, although not the only one, focus of our February study. Now the ‘City code’ team along with ‘Friends’ and local activists began the first transformations, drawing attention to the ‘exclusion zone’, and on September 23 there will already be the first TheMost Fest festival. Everything happens with the belief that, when having a strategic plan, small actions can launch big changes! Anastasiya Ponomaryova, urban curators

The ‘weather map’ of Kostiantynivka, based on the results of the interviews conducted in February 2017 and on the open data. Weather map� is a map that shows what amplifies (A) and what complicates (C) the potential transformations in the given moment. A (amplifiers): the presence of abandoned areas, good transportation (mainly public transport), high density of young people (educational institutions, places of gatherings of young people), favorite places of the locals. C (complicators): private sector, planned areas.

1. the territory near the former railway bridge in the Schmidt street. 2. summer playground and fountain in the Yuvileynyy park. 3. former ‘Sputnik’ cinema. 4. ‘Khimik’ (‘Chemist’) park. 5. the site near the Children and Youth Sports School. 6. School #5 with the park and the tank. 7. Koshovy Children’s Library with the territory in front of the library.

Reference: 1. Campo, D. (2010). In the Footsteps of the Federal Writers’ Project Revisiting the Workshop of the World. Landscape Journal, 29(2), 179-198. Title collage: Anastasiya Ponomaryova Photo: Svitlana Kolodiy, Anastasiya Parafenyuk, Anastasiya Ponomaryova digital version is available on a web-site:




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