#Ukraine – Is Kyiv a European capital?

| March 20, 2019

The Leipzig Charter on sustainable European cities outlines the main strategic concepts of urban development not only in Europe but also in those cities that have chosen for themselves the European vector of development, including Ukrainian cities – writes Kateryna Odarchenko 

As part of the implementation of the German Society for International Cooperation project, (GIZ) Ukrainian cities were given financial and expert assistance in implementing cooperation and partnership with European communities and organizations, so we hope that Ukrainian cities, having borrowed the experience of developing European cities in the near future, will turn into modern comfortable cities of European development level.

The new program of cooperation foresees the funding credit of 1 billion euros to Ukraine. The conditions for their receipt are easy – money is credited for a long term (15 years!) At a minimum rate, EURIBOR + 0,2%, that is, in fact, for free.

The draft of EU budget for 2021-2027 involves an increase in spending on foreign policy. The expenses will be composed of an amount up to 123 billion euros. The funds will be spent to assist the states of “Immediate neighborhood with the EU”, including Ukraine.

Problems in Kyiv and Ukraine.

Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine with a population of about 4 million people. The population of Kyiv increases according to an unofficial statistics for 100 thousand people every year. The capital of Ukraine needs a new infrastructure projects in order to prevent overpopulation.

The negative impact of such processes can be observed due to a change in the position of Kyiv in international ratings.

In the ranking of the most comfortable cities for living in 2018, Global Livability Index 2018, Kyiv ranked 118th in the list, gaining 56.6 points out of 100 possible. Kyiv was one of the leaders among the cities that worsened their position.

In five years, the rate of comfort of life in the capital of Ukraine has decreased by 12.6%. The rating consists of indicators such as health care, cultural development, environmental cleanliness, education and the level of infrastructure development.

 

Source:https://pages.eiu.com/rs/753-RIQ-438/images/The_Global_Liveability_Index_2018.pdf

However, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living for 2018, in the rating of the most expensive cities in the world, Kyiv climbed 14 positions up in the list and is in 4th place price among 133 metropolises.

One of the main events of Eastern Europe – “Kyiv Smart City Forum 2018” – was held in Kyiv, which is dedicated to the implementation of innovative solutions in the largest cities of Ukraine with the involvement of European experience.

Source: KYIV SMART CITY FORUM 2018

One of the raised issues of this forum was the spontaneous construction activity in the city of Kyiv.

“Due to a chaotic real estate development, Kyiv today does not look like a European capital“, – says former Minister of Housing and Communal Services, Oleksiy Kucherenko.

The corresponding problem is constantly encountered by the largest developers of the city, whose rating includes such companies as “Bud development”, “Integral-bud”, “Arkada Bank” and “Kyivmiskbud”.

Excessive use of power by mayor Klitchko and Administration of the city

According to the market, Vitalii Klitchko manually regulates issuance of permission documents in construction industry. Numerous investigations by “Radio Svoboda” journalists – an international nonprofit broadcast organization funded by the US Congress, may be   considered as evidences towards the aforementioned. Investigations tell about the close cooperation of the city mayor with Maksym Mykytas – ex-president of the Concern “UkrBud” and other constructors of the capital.

Source: https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/schemes/29326109.html

Investigations of journalists say that kick-back schemes of the mayor and his immediate circle reach 5% of the cost of building some projects. In addition, in Kyiv, two general development plans are operating in parallel with each other, which leads to constant contradictions. KCSA, under the control of the State Architectural and Construction Inspectorate, regularly issues of illegal building permits.

Such a trend in the Kyiv is becoming typical when the Mayor of the capital, is set on a certain issue, the Kyiv City State Administration is forgetting about the law and skillfully voting only under his instructions, the departments of the KCSA falsify the facts and stamp the necessary documents.

  1. Klitschko’s cooperation with some of the developers is a cradle for abusing officials of the city administration and corruption schemes. This, in its turn, leads to a reduction in the investment attractiveness of the city of Kyiv and a decline in the city’s infrastructure.

Corruption in detail.

According to former Minister of Housing and Communal Services Oleksiy Kucherenko, corruption in the KCSA impedes the implementation of the socially important project of the “Patriot by the Lakes” project from the Arkada Bank, which is being erected in accordance with the general plan for the development of the city, which was signed in times of mayor Alexander Omelchenko.

On March 19, 2019, a public discussion on further development of the capital with experts, people’s deputies and public figures took place in Kyiv. The event was initiated by the Center for Municipal Strategies to determine the basic principles for further infrastructural, technological and social development of the city.

Experts in the field of housing and communal services, people’s deputies and public figures joined the discussion of the municipal strategy of Kyiv. The experts together with the public recognized the project of the RE “Patriots by the Lakes” as one of the best progressive, ecological and integrated industrial projects in the category of Urban Planning.

 

During the conference, experts noted the need to build integrated industrial districts.

As the conference participant Yurii Seniuk (Chairman of the Board of the International Industrial Park and the Kyiv-Beijing Business Cooperation Association) thinks, «Patriotyka by the Lakes» living quarters and similar projects may solve the issue of immigrants in Ukraine, and serve as an example for Europe in matters of migrants.

According to Georgy Dukhinichny, member of the board of the National Union of Architects of Ukraine and a member of the Ukrainian Committee ICOMOS (UNESCO): “Patriots by the Lakes” from Arkada Bank – THIS IS THE IDEAL CONSTRUCTION OF APARTMENTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS, which meets all the requirements of modern urban planning. “In addition, other experts noted that the construction of such projects could solve the issue of settlers in Ukraine, and serve as an example for Europe in matters of migrants.

By ignoring the fact that the constructor has all the necessary permits for construction and the interests of hundreds of families who have invested in construction of housing, the Department of Urban Improvement of the executive body of the Kyiv City State Administration, on the instructions of the mayor, suspended the validity of the test cards issued by the developer for a temporary violation of the arrangement. Even after the developer defended his rights in court, the mayor Vitalii Klitschko personally called and insistently demanded to stop construction work and threatened to break the land lease agreements between the developer and the local administration, and made it clear that there will be a building on this land but, but not by Arkada Bank.

The reason for breaking the lease agreements is of absurd: he demanded from the constructor to build schools and kindergartens. And this despite the fact that the plan of “Patriotka” already forsees the construction of schools, kindergartens, hospitals and other socio-cultural objects. The project also provides for the construction of transport and power lines and green areas for recreation at its own expense from the constructor, although the funds shall be allocated by local authorities.

 

 

Source : http://kievvlast.com.ua/text/sud-zashhitil-skandalnuyu-strojku-banka-arkada-na-osokorkah-ot-lyubyh-posyagatelstv

Particularly cynical on the part of the current Kyiv authorities is the discrediting of the public movement, through the creation of “Eco park Osokorky” community organization, which is a permanent contributor to illegal actions around the construction of the «Patriotika on lakes».

The District Administrative Court of Kyiv on  November 7, 2018 confirmed the legitimacy of construction by the case No. 826/1975/18, which described in detail that any rights of “Eco park Osokorky” are not violated as a result of the construction of the micro district, since the “Ecopark Osokorky” has no relation to the land plot on which the construction is carried out, and any decisions on the creation of a landscape reserve on it were not taken by local authorities.

Nevertheless, the mayor, Vitalii Klitschko, as the head of the Kyiv City State Administration, personally introduced several draft decisions on the cancellation of land lease agreements for the construction of housing.

Arkada Bank and Budevelyatsya LLC are the managers of investors’ and developer, respectively, what can one say on the city investment climate if the interests of hundreds of families who themselves are investors of their own homes are neglected.

In the nearest future, Kyiv may face major housing investment problems if the city leadership does not stop interfering in business, and local officials will not stop issuing permits manually where it should be governed by law and healthy market competition. And it is impossible to even talk about guarantees of investment protection when the authorities themselves impose their own rules.

The question is whether Kyiv can become the European capital? Will the investment attractiveness of the city improve? Will the level of corruption in the construction sector decrease? These and other questions remain unanswered …

 

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