In the early stages of the conflict, Alexander Shevchenko stepped into his black Mini Cooper and abandoned his hometown, leaving it in the rearview mirror as Russian forces advanced.
Ukraine Wants to Go Green
However, Shevchenko, a Kyiv-based urban planner with his own firm, also kept an eye on the future.
Despite its devastation, the Ukrainian war offers a chance to reconstruct the nation in ways that might address the problems with antiquated Soviet-era urban planning and potentially reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Pre-war Ukraine, notwithstanding its economy’s dependence on pollution-intensive industries progressed steadily to a green energy transition.
According to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the proportion of renewable energies in the nation’s energy consumption increased to 8.1%, which is still less than half the standard for the European Union.
The war has thrown that transformation off course, but it also inspired others to consider how Ukraine may advance toward a more sustainable economy by making the most of the rebuilding that will unavoidably follow.
Ukrainians are indestructible. This is a scene from Makariv in Kyiv Oblast, which was occupied and partially destroyed by the Russian army in spring 2022 but has since witnessed rebuilding efforts.
Top picture: April 2022
Bottom picture: August 2022 pic.twitter.com/CNUK5y4HEM
— Business Ukraine mag (@Biz_Ukraine_Mag) August 21, 2022
The cost of a complete rebuilding of the country may be enormous, but so could the potential benefits, for both Ukraine and the nearby European Union.
As of right present, the war-torn country’s damaged cities are growing in number with the reconstruction plans.
At least three cities have blueprints that have been started by various architects and urban planners. Additionally, the Ukrainian government’s own plan is not included in that.
Shevchenko’s Zvidsy Agency created public spaces prior to the conflict and hosted courses where urbanists like him geeked out on effective zoning for recreation.
Ukraine’s Master Plan to Go Green
ReStart Ukraine’s most bold proposal is a master plan, set to be released this month, for the rebirth of the northern city of Chernihiv as a green trailblazer.
Similar to other parts of Ukraine, Chernihiv’s residential buildings have primarily suffered damage from the war, with roughly 20% of dwellings being scarred or destroyed.
ReStart Ukraine envisions a restoration that would make use of environmentally friendly techniques, such as so-called mass timber or load-bearing walls constructed of hardwood planks joined together with glue or nails.
It developed as a climate-friendly substitute for concrete, a substance that comprises cement and whose production accounts for around 7% of all global man-made carbon emissions.
— Ulf Bergström (@UlfBergstrom) September 12, 2022
The ReStart Ukraine initiative also suggests recycling concrete, plastic, and wood scraps from destroyed buildings.
After being ground up, some of the concrete could be utilized as filler for new concrete. In the meanwhile, siding panels that cover facades could be made mostly out of plastic and wood.
According to Shevchenko, a post-war Chernihiv might also more effectively incorporate the neighboring Desna River by using its banks for people and including ferries to reduce automobile traffic over a bridge.
Naturally, all of this hinges on Ukraine prevailing in the conflict and taking control of its trajectory.