CUPA Workshop Odessa
Odessa, as an administrative unit, is situated in the southern part of Ukraine, bordered in the west by Moldavia and Romania. The city is the regional industrial, cultural, scientific and tourist centre and defines itself as a green and clean city with a rich history and a good quality of life.
The CUPA workshop in 2012 concentrated on the parks of Odessa, in particular the Shevchenko Park and the Dendro Pobedi Park (or Victory Park).
Shevchenko Park offers both culture and leisure facilities (e.g. a football stadium), and hosts an amusement park with a bike rental service and an urban dance floor. It also provides space for outdoor activities, including cycling trails leading to the beach. Yet, there is no official electricity or water supply in the park and the maintenance of the roads needs improvement. There is also a lack of sanitary facilities.
Victory Park is surrounded by high-rise buildings, has a large pond and playgrounds and functions mostly as a recreational and family leisure area. Different agencies are responsible for municipal services like lighting, greenery, events and park management. The agencies are entitled to make their own decisions concerning general management.
Fields of improvement for these and other parks in Odessa include infrastructure rehabilitation, both in terms of financial and human resources for conservation and attracting business enterprises, as well as the restoration of the cultural and recreational values of the parks. Another aspect is the process of building hiking trails and cycling routes, especially in Shevchenko Park. Therefore, the CUPA workshop addressed the provision of effective park management with limited resources for maintenance, the stimulation of economic activities to attract investments, and the development of measures for reducing the population of stray dogs in the parks.
Issues that had to be considered in this context were neglect and a lack of structural maintenance, which resulted from financial cuts and an increasing shortage of public funds. In order to cope with these problems, a more effective management of the parks would be necessary. Also, seasonal attractions for citizens and economic activities to create motivation to invest would need to be established. Therefore, the general problem statement of the workshop focused on short and long-term reduction of the maintenance burden of the parks in Odessa.
At the end of the IL, it was not clear whether the recommendations would be taken into consideration or not, as there appeared to be some reluctance to implement any changes. However, a year after the IL, Markus McDowell and Volkmar Pamer were invited back to perform an evaluation visit. Based on the recommendations, the city had started to clean up Shevchenko Park, taking out the underwood, clearing the views and making its overall appearance more safe and friendly. Some of the footpaths had been newly paved, lighting had been improved and the general impression of the park had changed dramatically. There had also been efforts to gain control over the stray dog population by sterilization.
No information is available concerning what has become of the area since the outbreak of the crisis or whether the endeavours to improve the situation have continued.