CUPA Workshop Lviv
The football stadium area in Lviv was designed as one of the venues to host the UEFA EURO Championship in 2012. New functions and a new branding will be needed for the area after the games in order to mentally and physically link it to the city and to create an attractive location for leisure activities, which will be defined in the new spatial plan. Therefore, the potential future use of the area and the necessary steps to establish good grounds for the development of those functions needed to be discussed in the workshop in order to find a unique selling point for the place, taking into account that funding on a national (and private) level is crucial as tax money would not be available for site development or projects in the area.
The territory of the study case covers a large area, which means that a step-by-step scenario is needed because the market will not be able to provide all the capital necessary for the development of the entire area at once, nor will there be enough purchasing power to buy real estate there. A gradual scenario where every stage is complete by itself and adds to the previous should be generated. This should be followed by development steps, which are embedded in a long-term exercise for improving the area depending on market developments. The case study area does not have a specific name yet. At the date of the CUPA workshop it looked like a satellite settlement of the City of Lviv.
Ideas that were brought to the table beforehand were a library, scientific institution(s), e.g. university institutions, cinemas in short distance that attract walking crowds (because people that walk consume and buy), and not to forget the congress centre which could be included in the stadium.
Several questions were raised during the preparations of the Implementation Lab in Lviv. Only a concise selection of them could be tackled by the CUPA workshop. Nevertheless, the associated questions and challenges show the overall scope of integration of the new districts into an existing urban ecosystem. The core questions were worded as follows:
- The main concern is what are or should be the ambitions and significance of the area for the City of Lviv once the EURO 2012 UEFA CUP games have taken place?
- Is there a strategy in place to brand the area with a specific identity? What to call the area so that every citizen of Lviv would know what area is being referred to?
- How to create a reason to be there not only for sports or special events, but also during the weekdays and in the evenings? Could the study area be given a unique selling proposition?
- Is there ambition to live up to the latest ecological standards? Has a kind of ecological/sustainable/climate neutral approach been formulated yet?
In 2012, the UEFA European Championships took place in Poland and Ukraine. Besides Lviv, Kyiv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv hosted matches between European national football teams in Ukraine. International arrivals at the Lviv airport went up by 200% during the championship period. More than 60,000 visitors attended the fan zone in Lviv and numbers prove that about 55% of the visitors were satisfied with the local transport in Lviv during the UEFA EURO 2012 (UEFA 2013). But what remains after the biggest public sports event in the history of Ukraine? What are the benefits for single hosting cities? How could Lviv deploy the impulse of this enormous sporting event? First of all, the city took the advice of the participants of the CUPA workshop to abandon the plans for moving the public administration out of the inner city and into the new development area around Arena Lviv. The negative impact on the inner city businesses, incl. catering and overall liveliness during off-season periods would have been considerable, but also in terms of the quality of space, the use of existing building infrastructure and the identification of civil servants with their home city. A relocation of public administration would merely have generated an office-only location around the arena. Setting up a well-working mix of functions that guarantees constant activity demands investments and skilful long-term planning.
The omission of potential measures to stimulate the development of new districts is important in planning. It takes courage and shows the ability to overcome one’s convictions. What has actually been changed and added to the arena site in the south of Lviv? The development of the site clearly lags behind expectations (status summer 2015). There are two main explanations to this. Firstly, investments for sport sites along with the associated services and infrastructures have (over)strained the public budgets to an unhealthy extent. Secondly, the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine after the revolutionary removal of President Wiktor Janukowytsch – which has had an especially strong influence in the eastern parts of the country (the Donezk, Lukansk, Charkiw, Krim oblasts) – as well as the war with Russia, have triggered a severe economic crisis in the entire country. Economic performances have been declining, public debt has been rising and the uncertainty of investments has been causing potential investors from foreign countries to consider Ukraine as an unsafe place to invest in. The combined effects of these developments are bringing investments to a stop and hindering the development of the site towards becoming an integrated part and district of Lviv.