Полоцкий государственный университет

Polotsk
State
University

On November 16-18 2018, Novopolotsk Central Library named after V. Mayakovsky held a workshop on designing urban environment, bicycle infrastructure and public transport facilities within the framework of the project of the Global Environment Facility and UN Development Program of the Ministry of Natural Resources “Green Cities”. Belarusian Transport Workers Union and the Centre of Urban Planning and Design together with the Department of Social Studies and Humanities at Polotsk State University were the event organizers.

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According to the event organizers, a “Green City” is a clean, healthy, safe, energy-efficient, and therefore viable place. The economy and environment should correspond to social demands there. As a result of the project realization, greenhouse gases emissions are expected to reduce due to the urban transport efficiency improvement in Polotsk and Novopolotsk.

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Tatsiana Tereshchenko, Head of the Centre of Urban Planning and Design, Head of the Department of Design and Brand Managing at PSU, spoke about the event: “The project is developing in three cities: Novopolotsk, Polotsk and Novogrudok. It has several directions:

  • Green town-building plans development and approval;
  • Sustainable urban transport initiatives;
  • Ways of further green town-building projects implementation in Belarus.

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The workshop set the following goals:

  • Bicycle infrastructure and movement developing;
  • Public transport developing;
  • Urban environment improving.

To attend the workshop it was necessary to pass the registration: fill in the form indicating what we will do at the event. Anyone interested in the topic could be registered. It’s worth mentioning that the students specializing in “Architecture”, “Design” and “Social Communications” came to the workshop to learn something new and to demonstrate their own projects. Four experts from Minsk provided lectures:

  • Pavel Astapenya, expert at UNDP on sustainable urban mobility;
  • Igor Pankov, Director of the Belarusian Transport Workers Union;
  • Vasily Kuzmenko, Head of the Research Center for Road Traffic at BNTU;
  • Pavel Gorbunov, Chairman of Minsk Bicycle Society.

The participants learnt a lot about the project itself, the experience that Belarus had had (in Minsk and other cities, for example), the right way of planning the town convenient for living and about modern trends in the sphere. The participants were divided into groups and offered to build up concepts based on the future residents’ opinions and requests and the results of research on the bicycle movement and public transport development, which was carried out in the context of the “Green Cities” project. Each group had their own territory: some in Polotsk, some in Novopolotsk. They were to study the land and gather information about the problems. The experts consulted the participants during the workshop.

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On the last day of the workshop, the groups presented the results of their work. After examining the territory and identifying the problems, the participants started looking for the ways to solve the problems. The work has only begun.

We are planning to present our final projects and concepts to the local authorities, business representatives and citizens at the beginning of December. It should be noted that those concepts can be used in the sustainable urban mobility plan realization.

All the participants gained valuable experience in events on sustainable urban mobility promotion realization, mastered the reorganizing public spaces techniques and talked about public transport and cycling popularization in Polotsk and Novopolotsk. We are looking forward to further fruitful work!

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Daria Alekseeva
Photos: Mark Distanov, Polina Yevstratova