Abstract Book

Parallel Session 3A:

Integrated approaches:

Housing and social restructuring in urban renewal strategies

Gentrification theory has until recently been firmly rooted in the Western urban context. While it is being increasingly discussed as a driver of urban change globally, including in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the translation of the gentrification phenomenon into post-Soviet cities like Baku (the capital city of Azerbaijan) remains poorly understood. This article explores how a particular form of state-led ‘gentrification by demolition’ is unfolding in Baku, amid a dramatic urban transformation kicked off by the city’s most recent oil boom since the early 2000s. We begin by asserting the ongoing relevance of using the framework of gentrification to analyse the processes visible in contemporary Baku, despite the much-discussed dangers of overloading the term as it diffuses and ‘mutates’ globally. We go on to use the case of the recently demolished inner city Sovetsky district to carefully expand the geography of the gentrification discourse and to investigate the mechanisms that are driving this change in Baku. We argue that Baku’s own ‘landscape of gentrification’ is shaped by a number of preconditions, that together shape its distinctive dynamics. The legacy left by post-Soviet institutions lend it some of the features of gentrification identified in CEE. However, the more ‘violent’ approach pursued by local government may have more in common with the more muscular state-led ‘gentrification by demolition’ that is characteristic of contemporary Chinese cities. Nevertheless, the Sovetsky phenomenon also bears the marks of an earlier Soviet city-building legacy that uses spectacle, ‘grand gesture’ and urban greening as tried and tested strategies to legitimize and buy support for gentrification strategies, despite their polarizing reality.

Post-soviet Urban Renewal and its Discontents:

Gentrification by Demolition in Baku

Anar Valiyev,  School of Public and International Affairs, ADA University

Anar Valiyev is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs and a Dean of school of Public and International Affairs, ADA University, Fulbright Visiting Scholar to USA (2016-2017)

Most of the concepts structuring academic thought and discourse in urban development came from Western context, and some of them do not match realities of East European and post-socialist cities properly. Urban development in post-socialist cities as well as debates on it are characterized by a series of "perversions" - when compared to the well known western models and terminologies. We are going to focus on three concepts which are often used in academic and applied discussions on urban regeneration in the 21st century; we analyze them against the empirical data collected in the ongoing research project Estates After Transition. Gentrification: when and why is it welcomed? And how does it really work? There is a recent increase in interest towards this term and concept as applied to the East European cities (see, for example, a special issue of Geografie, 2, 2015); still only few studies are devoted to the analysis of Russian experience (Golubchykov, Badyina, 2007, Golubchykov, Badyina, Makhrova, 2014). At the same time, outside academia term "gentrification" has been picked up and used in a way that would surprise social scientists. Architects and urban planners in Russia are advertising gentrification as a cure for the city; city managers are calling for help of experts in gentrifying "degraded" urban areas; urban economists explain publicly that "gentrification is always good for cities" and that "elderly and poor people just can not afford it and therefore should not live in city centers - it is an axiom in up-to-date urban development", - they say. Yet, this widely wished gentrification of the central parts of cities hardly happens - due to the complicated ownership structure, lack of large scale financing and other reasons (we will shortly dwell on them). When it happens it rather has a form of touristification. On the other hand, Russian cities are witnessing processes that has absolutely no reference to gentrification in rhetoric, but seem to be in reality quite an interesting variety of a new-build gentrification: a large-scale regeneration of extensive territories built up mainly in Khruschev times (1960s-1970s) by prefabricated 4-5 store buildings ("khruschevki"); a project known as renovatsiya (renovation). We call this phenomenon "rentrification" as it posses some features of typical new-build gentrification, but is clearly missing some others, and thus forms quite a unique variation of the phenomenon. Infill Development, Densification: The one that must not be named In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Saint Petersburg grew mostly through large-scale and poorly regulated infill development. Due to its chaotic nature, by 2007 in the popular discourse a relatively neutral term “tochechnaya zastroika” (roughly, “infill development”) was doubled with a negatively charged “uplotnitelnaya zastroika” (roughly,“densification”). The city was swept into an anti-densification public movement (Zakirova, 2009) which created a gap between the popular disсourse on densification and the discourses unfolding in the expert communities, globally (Burgess, Jenks, 2000, Richardson, Bae, 2004), later nationally (Zalivukhin, 2017) and locally (MLA+, 2018). Since 2007, through expert disappointment with greenfield development and public distress over a failed renovatsiya project, this gap has only widened which complicates the promotion of city densification projects favoured by urban experts due to a high risk of public backlash. Ghettoization: In the last decade there has been a dramatic grow of greenfield developments on the outskirts of large Russian cities, including St.Petersburg. In Russian mass media, expert and public debates, the new housing complexes built there are often treated as a real or potential “ghetto”. The main difference between the western situation, where the term is rooted, and the current one in Russia is: 99,9% of apartments in the so-called "ghettos" in Russia are privately owned. Another difference is that these neighbourhoods are not criticised for their ethnic composition or low social chances of the residents. Experts rather rail against the poor infrastructure, low quality of the environment, and the size of the buildings, which can, as they believe, estrange people and complicate neighborly communication and cooperation. We will review: - the imaginaries and expertise deploying around the newly built large-scale housing estates in the city’s periphery - the historical production of “ghetto” as a category of urban studies - its function within the discourse on the development of large Russian cities - the social effects the usage of this category generates.

Social life of urban planning terms: Gentrification, Densification, and Ghettoisation in a Post-socialist City

(case of Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Oleg Pachenkov, Ekaterina Korableva, Liubov Chernysheva. Centre for Applied Research at the European University at Saint Petersburg

Oleg Pachenkov, PhD is a Director of the Center for Applied Research (CeAR), European University at St.-Petersburg and a Leading researcher at Center for independent social research (CISR).

Ekaterina Korableva is a researcher at Estates After Transition, Centre for Applied Research at the European University at Saint Petersburg, which delievers a comparative study on the relation of recent urbanization processes and governance approaches in post-socialist housing estates, Case studies in Russia, Estonia and East Germany. She was a  researcher at The Karpovka Friends, Open Urban Lab & StudUrbanLab in correspondence with Petrogradsky District Administration, Saint Petersburg, Russia Pilot study of Karpovka River Embankment and public spaces of Petrogradsky Island to propose a public space master plan for Karpovka River Embankment. In 2015 she was a participant at Gentrification: World Experience and St Petersburg Realities, Center for Independent Social Research, Saint Petersburg Research laboratory to explore gentrification scenarios in Kolomna Municipal Unit, Saint Petersburg compared to urban processes in London and Berlin, curated by Matthias Bernt, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space. Ekaterina Korableva holds  B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Saint Petersburg State University (Smolny College), Russia; Sewanee: The University of the South, TN, USA.

Liubov Chernysheva is PhD candidate (University of Amsterdam), MA in Sociology (2016, European University at St. Petersburg). She is an urban sociologist interested in such research fields as urban commons, housing, and urban mobility. Also, has experience of working in the field of science and technology studies. Currently, works for the international research project Estates After Transition, which is based on comparative case studies of urbanization processes in six housing estates in East Germany, Estonia, and Russia.

This talk takes a comparative lens to Toronto, Canada and Tbilisi, Georgia in discussion of ongoing gentrification in both cities. While Toronto serves as a now classic case study of gentrification, Tbilisi’s story is relatively new to this conversation. Taking from his ongoing research as well as personal accounts, the presenter will examine sectors of security provision, arts and culture, and real estate as fertile grounds to discuss the concepts of the “revanchist city” and the “housing question” in both North American and post-Soviet context. Keywords: gentrification, revanchist city, housing, Tbilisi, Toronto, security, real estate, art and

From Tbilisi to Toronto and back: the revanchist city

Eugene Slonimerov, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Caucasus University

Eugene Slonimerov is an invited lecturer at Caucasus and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State universities in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he leads courses on urban sociology and sociology of war, violence and social conflict. Originally from Belarus, he graduated in 2012 from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs with a master’s degree in European, Russian, and
Eurasian Studies.

Parallel Session 3B:

Current Practices: quality of life, human mobility and access to services


Tatia Kartlelishvili, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Post-socialist urban transformation of mining cities

(on example of Chiatura)

Speaking about the post-socialist period we shouldn’t forget that the states faced to many challenges, especially it was difficult for mono industrial shrinking cities. The changes had negative impact on everything. Urban infrastructure was destroyed and living conditions were
deteriorated. During the Soviet era, industrial cities had advantages, as they were central subordination, that meant city infrastructure, supply, workers’ social ensuring was better than in other cities The number of such privileged settlement belonged the mining cities in the Soviet period, and the investment was implemented in the cities where mining and metallurgical production was developed (Gentile and Sjöberg, Intra-Urban Landscapes of Priority: The Soviet Legacy 2006). “Mining cities are a vulnerable category of urban settlement because their economy is based and mostly depend on the extraction of natural, non-renewable resources” (Li, Lo,& Wang, 2015) The goal is to study the processes of transformation in the post-socialist period within mining cities and how these processes affects the living of the population, institutions, city resource and urban environment of the city. To reach the goal, we used survey, in order to get the detail information concerning the dwellers of Chiatura city, conducted survey. The aim of the survey was to get the information about the demographic, economic, social characteristics, dependence on urban environment of Chiatura residents. The main research method was face-to-face interview; The sample design was multi-cultural stratified survey; The sample size - 283 interviews with the s.d.5.6% for 95 confidence level; The sample frame - the list of voters from 2016 parliamentary election; The survey data was codified, edited and entered in SPSS data base. The data was analysed by using one, two and multi-dimensional methods.

Tatia Kartlelishvili is a PhD Student in Urbanism at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. She also teaches Organization Development and Consulting and works as a senior specialist of quality assurance at her Alma Mater.

Sophia Todua, Georgian Technical University and Mamuka Salukvadze, Georgian Technical University

Spatial planning and universal access to education

The Human Right to Education raises the importance of educational social infrastructure and considers it as the fundamental service and structure that supports the quality of life of a nation. The right to education encompasses the obligations to set minimum standards to improve the quality of education. To ensure the accessibility and availability of such social infrastructures, the state has elaborated spatial requirements that have to be followed.

However, the existing accreditation requirements are significantly inferior to the universal standards and current Construction Codes and Regulations. As the accreditation norms almost coincide with the current situation, they do not create the demand for additional land resources for educational establishments and do not improve the situation. This process leads to human congestion in educational establishments and therefore creates accessibility issues.

As the existing norms fail to provide educational infrastructure with adequate land resource, non-built areas within the city are used for other purposes, which makes it difficult for educational establishments to get closer to the universal standards in the long-term perspective.

The presentation will discuss the aspects of the current problem and will introduce various spatial recommendations that were elaborated in the planning process and may be the solution to alleviate the condition of the situation.

Sophia Todua is a master’s student in architecture in the Georgian Technical University and is holding the position of Junior Urban Planner in the company City Institute Georgia. Sophia is currently involved in the spatial planning project of the City of Gori. Working on the city development concepts and assuring the collaboration between different expertise and policies can be truly challenging. But regardless of these challenges, Sophia is determined to continue gaining experience and improving her professional skills, which will ensure greater opportunities and responsibilities.

Mamuka Salukvadze, Ph.D., is a professor at Georgian Technical University, board member of Union of Architects of Georgia, CEO of an urban planning company “City Institute Georgia”. His professional interest are urban ecology, integrated planning, and environmental assessment.

George Kankia, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Social Dimension of Urban Mobility – Assessing Public Transport Accessibility and Social Exclusion for the Socially Vulnerable Defining  the Methodology

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 90s, the public transport system in major Georgian cities, like other aspects of the established socio-economic system, experienced serious setbacks. As a result of the transition, the multimodal public transport system in Tbilisi (Georgia) that included metro, buses, trolley-buses, trams and minibuses virtually collapsed. This article intends to create a methodological framework to examine mobility-related social exclusion in Tbilisi, understanding these concepts on two scales: city and individual. To that end, research context for social exclusion, accessibility and transport provision is outlined and a socio-economic profile of the study area is constructed. At the city scale, an infrastructure based approach is suggested in order to evaluate the existing service provision and identify areas of transport poverty by employing the indicators that have already been tested in multiple urban contexts. At the individual level, the study of the mobility behaviour of a specific socially vulnerable population group(s) is suggested through the use of activity spaces approach – a rather qualitative methodology. The proposed approach will firstly, fill the knowledge gap in the local context; secondly, find mobility demand and supply gaps and lastly, assess the size of the activity area of a certain population group considering transportation constraints, further examining the social importance of affordable mobility options. The methodology is expected to provoke discussion among researchers, practitioners and decision-makers on creating effective and inclusive transportation policies.

George Kankia is a geographer with a 3-year work experience on urban mobility and planning in Tbilisi, Georgia, Giorgi’s major research interests include the study of the interrelationship of the urban mobility and social exclusion, the creation of spaces of segregation by examining the travel behaviour of the most vulnerable groups of population. He’s currently pursuing a PhD program in Urbanism by the department of Human Geography at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

Lilit Babayan, National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia

Cluster Structure of Territories’ Organization as an Instrument Of Assessment, Efficient Use and Sustainable Development of Ra Land Resources

Goal of the paper: The search for effective land use patterns that provide a balanced distribution across the territory of Armenia (agriculture, housing construction, industry, green areas, etc.) leads to the application of the cluster model as the most effective land classification and recycling option. Urban development of settlements in the post-Soviet period in the Republic of Armenia has adopted a considerably different, often controversial character, with the development prospects of urban planning programs. Most of them, in particular the capital Yerevan, were implemented without taking into account the principles of resource saving, existing construction norms, complex development of the area and operational problems, environmental issues, resulting in a single-center system with underdeveloped outskirts. In last years, relatively stable economic development has taken place in the country, investment attractiveness has increased in many areas, and the demand for land has significantly increased. Such demand itself begins to assume the redistribution of land balances.

Large cities play a key role in the socio-economic development process, which acts as a base, centered core of the cluster network. Yerevan - the capital of the RA is the main large agglomerative cluster core, for which the basis for ensuring the balance of land resource use is a sustainable development model which implies a consecutive dynamic process of change, balancing the economic, social and environmental aspects of the society. The analysis of the international experience of the creation and automation of land cadastres shows that the integrity of land use data can directly affect the sustainable development process of the urban development sector. Based on the cluster model, the analysis of the land balance of functional zones describing the basic human needs can be monitored based on the possibility of proportionate redistribution of the polished poles of the city in the urban planning / Yerevan center’s example/. As a result, the model will be based on the concept of the new cluster nuclei, the design of secondary design centers, which will result in balancing the value of the land in different parts of the settlement, decentralization through the center, leading to the balancing of urban lands.

Lilit Babayan is a PhD candidate at National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, RA. She has been extensively working on spatial planning documatation, including 8 Enlarged Communities in the Syunik Province (138 settlements) and the Tavush Province, Armenia. She us an author and co-author of residential and public buildings projects. Ms Babayan has been participating in numerious workshops, seminars and competitions.

Parallel Session 4A:

Integrated approaches: urban politics and governance

Dr. Kostyantyn Mezentsev, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Dr. Michael Gentile, University of Oslo

Crossing Regeneration Street:

new-build gentrification in Sotsgorod

“No longer […] a narrow and quixotic oddity in the housing market” (Smith 1996), gentrification has recently become understood as a planetary phenomenon (Lees et al. 2016) that transcends the boundaries of its earlier conceptualized spatialities. New-build gentrification (Davidson and Lees 2005), and its colonization of previously uncharted urban territories, is an important expression of this trend, and it often accompanies urban regeneration projects (or indeed constitutes them).
Ironically, one of the best-known hotspots of urban regeneration in Kyiv is in Regeneration Street. Surrounded by grey Sotsgorod, literally “socialist city”, vulytsia Regeneratorna, as it is called in Ukrainian, hosts “Comfort Town”, which is a fenced residential complex built on a former brownfield. The colour palette used in Comfort Town is so strikingly varied that it could well earn the neighbourhood the epithet of “rainbow field”. This presentation discusses an important aspect of new-build gentrification. It examines the interactions between the new-build “newcomers” in Comfort Town and the locals living across the (Regeneration) street, as well as their overall attitudes towards one another. Is the fence on Regeneration Street permeable? Has it become a wall of confrontation or a symbol of indifference? Are different social groups ready for dialogue and communication?
Finally, a new impetus to understand developer-led gentrification are the multiple replicas of ‘Comfort Town’ elsewhere in Kyiv (e.g., ‘Fayna Town’ also surrounded by Soviet time housing estate).

Dr. Kostyantyn Mezentsev is a professor and Head of the Department of Economic and Social Geography at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, and Head of the Kyiv Department of Ukrainian Geographical Society. His recent research examines the transformation of post-Soviet urban regions and cities, participatory and effective urban planning, and migration issues in Central and Eastern Europe. He is co-editor of the book Urban Ukraine: in the Epicenter of the Spatial Changes (2017). Prof. Mezentsev teaches courses in human geography, and quantitative and qualitative methods in regional and urban studies.

Elvira Gizatullina and Liubov Chernysheva, Centre for Applied Research at the European University at Saint Petersburg

Size matters: challenge of the scale and breakdowns of self- governance mechanisms in the high-rise residential complex (case of "North Valley", St. Petersburg, Russia)

This paper deals with the issue of urban governance in post-socialist large-scale housing estates in Russia, where the new legislation and institutions in the field of housing buildings and property management were established after the collapse of the Soviet system. Proceeding from the research of the residential complex “North Valley” in St. Petersburg, the authors describe the post-socialist housing estate governance mechanisms and procedures. They demonstrate how local, regional and national scales are contested and intertwined in the process of place production (Massey 1984, Smith 1995, Swyngedouw 1997, Cox 1997, Brenner 2001 and 2004). In particular, the authors analyze the challenge of scale the new housing complexes in Russia face. The current political and economic conditions for the housing development (population growth, focus on of the housing affordability, the consolidation of real estate development companies, etc.) lead to the emergence and extensive construction of large-scale and high-rise residential complexes - buildings of 15-27 floors, from 700 to 3500 apartments per each one. These huge urban forms are beneficial for developers and local and federal authorities. Residents who own apartments in such complexes have to manage the buildings collectively. At the same time, buildings of such a huge size turn out to be unsuitable for the effective organization of the self-governing system. The Russian law imposed the mechanisms and procedures of self-governance before the described size of construction was broadly implemented. The contradiction of the scales - the one which is practiced nowadays in housing development and the other concealed in the law -- is the point the authors figured out analyzing how the particular large housing estate is embedded into a mosaic of scalar relations.

Liubov Chernysheva is PhD candidate (University of Amsterdam), MA in Sociology (2016, European University at St. Petersburg). An urban sociologist interested in such research fields as urban commons, housing, and urban mobility. Also, has experience of working in the field of science and technology studies. Currently, works for the international research project Estates After Transition, which is based on comparative case studies of urbanization processes in six housing estates in East Germany, Estonia, and Russia.

Elvira Gazitullina holds MA in Human Geography (2008, St. Petersburg State University) and MA in Urban Design and Urban Studies (2015, Polytechnic University of Catalonia). Her research interests are Social processes in post-socialist housing estates, Quality of urban life, Design and Development of Public Spaces, Urban activism. Work at the international research project Estates After Transition (EAT). The aim of EAT is to study recent urbanization processes in post-socialist housing estates. The project is based on comparative case studies from six estates in East Germany, Estonia, and Russia.

Suzy Harris-Brandts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Davit Sichinava, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

The Politics of Urban Recovery in a Stalinist-era Resort Town:Heritage, Tourism, and Displaced Communities in Tskaltubo, Georgia

In February 2018, the Georgian Ministry of Culture proposed placing fourteen Stalinist-era spa resort buildings in the small town of Tskaltubo on a national heritage protection list. After decades of physical deterioration and partial closure, the historic bathhouses and hotels (called sanatoria) were once again being positioned for tourism, recalling the town’s zenith as one of the most sought-after balneological destinations in the region. Since 1992, however, all but two of Tskaltubo’s twenty-two sanatoria have come to be used as the de-facto homes of some 8,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled conflict in the nearby secessionist region of Abkhazia. Built in the latter half of the 20th century, these buildings have now spent their lives equally as resort complexes and spaces of humanitarian shelter. Since the legacy of IDPs residing in sanatoria does not align with government desires to re-activate local tourism, or with geopolitical goals to see the displaced repatriated, heritage politics have begun to play out in Tskaltubo. As sites of contested memory, the sanatoria embody the divergent histories of both tourist and IDP occupant-stakeholders, while further reflecting the politico-economic upheavals that caused their transition in place meaning. This paper charts the complexities of changing history in Tskaltubo, foregrounding the politics of heritage tourism in today’s government regeneration efforts. Drawing on a mixed-methods approach that combines archival research, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and participant observation, the paper argues that Tskaltubo’s complex layers of history are at risk of erasure.

Suzy Harris-Brandts is a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at MIT. Her research examines the politics of urban development in the Balkans and South Caucasus in relation to: state image making, identity politics, public space, conflict, and displacement. Suzanne is a licensed architect in Canada and co-founder of the research initiatives Collective Domain (Tbilisi), Indigenous Outsiders (Tbilisi), and Memoirs of Change (Skopje). She is currently an Invited Lecturer at the Black Sea University in Tbilisi.

Dr. David Sichinava holds a PhD in Human Geography and is an Assistant Professor at Tbilisi State University and the Black Sea University. His research focuses on the socio-spatial and temporal aspects of inequality, the politics of urban development, the role of civil society in urban policy, and electoral geographies. David is also Research Director at the Caucasus Research Resource Centre (CRRC-Georgia).


Parallel Session 4B:

Current practices: nature sensitive urban design

Leyla Musayeva, Pillə, Baku, Azerbaijan

Regulation of urban public spaces and the participativeness
of citizens in Baku, Azerbaijan

Over the past few years, after the collapse of Soviet power, the capital of Azerbaijan, the city of Baku began to develop in its own way in a new, already capitalist period. The change of power, a large money income from oil sales into the country significantly changed the face of Baku. Often the spontaneous nature of change is felt in all areas of the city’s life. Public spaces are good examples of that changes with a quite high speed. The city center with its historical core, in different examples (be it a square, street, courtyard, etc.) is the most vivid example in this case, because it affects the memory of almost all citizens as places of common use. Having examined and analyzed several particular cases, it opens up several points concerning the regulation of urban public spaces, the participativeness of citizens and possible further actions (if they are not already taken by the city authorities). On the example of the main pedestrian and tourist street of Baku, Nizami Street, one can see the transformations that have occurred in the last 20 years. Changes in the design and architecture of this street in 2009-2010-s significantly influenced the perception of this territory by citizens of different age categories and also set a completely new look for the historical center of Baku. Another example tells about the park, better known now as Winter Boulevard. On the territory of demolished historic houses, this park tells more about design methods that cannot fully justify themselves so far. The third example is more concerned with the participativeness of citizens in the use and development of public spaces. During the festival which was held in 2017 with the participation of local and foreign artists and architects, the task was to analyse one of the districts of Baku- Bayil, and where by using artistic and architectural methods it could be possible to involve local communities to the more conscious and active use of public spaces. The festival clearly demonstrated the degree of use of these spaces by residents, and also revealed the strengths and weaknesses of working with communities.

Leyla Musayeva is an architect from Baku, Azarbaijan. She studied architecture at Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction and Urbanism at the University of Alicante, Spain in 2013-2015. Since 2015 she lives and works in Azerbaijan. She co-funded architecture organization “Pillə” with the aim to have alternative platform in Azerbaijan which can collect, study and apply knowledge in the sphere of Architecture and Urbanism. Along with her architecture activities she is also working as a guide in Camping Azerbaijan eco-tourism agency.

Levan Alpaidze, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

The evaluation of ecosystem services of Tbilisi green infrastructure (the case study of urban public parks of Tbilisi)

The main goal of this research project is the study of air quality and climate-related ecosystem services, which the green spaces of Tbilisi deliver to the city dwellers. The findings of the study will allow us to learn and evaluate the potential of ecosystem services, which the urban parks - as the integral parts of Tbilisi urban ecosystem - provide to the city and contribute to the sustainable development and well-being of the city inhabitants. The research of Tbilisi green infrastructure and particularly, its urban parks, will allow us to answer several questions of importance: 1) What the urban parks go give to the city and its inhabitants? 2) What is the meaning and how can we evaluate the services, which the park trees and plants do provide to Tbilisi? 3) Why is it important to maintain, beautify and expand the urban parks? 4) How one should plan the beneficial and optimal environment, which will tackle the issues of the heat islands, air pollution, and flood water run-off, cooling and warming, with nature-based methods?

Levan Alpaidze is a Ph.D. Student in urban studies at Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. He obtained his Master degree from New School, New York, NY,  USA and has been working in the field of management for more than two decades before pursuing his post-graduate studies.

Gérard Ronzatti and Petar Lovric, SEINE DESIGN

Floating Infrastructure - Large Scale Public Spaces on Water


  1. Discover the concept behind large scale floating infrastructure and learn to differentiate between fantasy and structures that really float.

  2. Understanding the resilience of floating infrastructure and technical challenges of implementation of large scale floating infrastructure projects.

  3. Take a closer look in to the real life project.

  4. Take a look towards the future.


The paper draws on physical data developed and implemented in delivery of multiple successful large scale floating infrastructure projects. This data is comprised of research and development studies from multiple technical fields relevant for delivery of floating infrastructure such stability studies, studies of water banks suitable for fixing/mooring, studies of construction and outfitting material and similar.


The strain and pressure on the global city infrastructure can be efficiently relieved by allowing this infrastructure to step “onto” the water and thus break this ever existing barrier. Apart from the fact that by doing so we manage to create new and attractive public space in the environment which is usually scarcely utilized, floating infrastructure also provides extremely high resilience while minimizing the environmental impact. Important thing to keep in mind is that these spaces of water often exist in the very heart of cities where availability of building sites tends to be extremely limited. We have provided practical demonstration on how large public spaces can successfully exist on water and how floating architecture has a potential to deliver new realities by physically mirroring the city on this recently hostile water space.


The paper removes any doubt that large floating infrastructure projects such as floating hotels, floating hospitals, floating sports activity centre with Olympic size swimming pool, floating museum, floating climbing centre, floating bars and restaurants and many others can successfully exist in the hostile environment of bodies of water that meet the city shores. Apart from this fact, floating architecture is able to deliver solutions that provide high resilience while minimising the environmental impact.

Petar Lovric, Business and Development Manager, SEINE DESIGN - Born in Senta, Serbia in 1983, studied electrical engineering and economics in Rijeka, Croatia, before graduating in 2012 as Master of Business Administration at MIB Trieste, Italy. Starting from year 2006 Petar provided project management services and technical support to the diverse fleet of vessels ranging from sea going ships to luxury mega yachts. In 2013, he was invited to join the Adriatic Croatia International Club where he took charge of technical management of the company which at that time owned and operated the largest chain of nautical tourism ports in the Mediterranean. Following the set of different technical rolls in Croatia and Ireland, in 2015 he joined City Cruises London, the largest passenger boat operator on the river Thames, where he took charge of delivery of company’s strategic projects. The following year he moved into the role of Head of Engineering for City Cruises which now expanded the scope of responsibility onto 40 boats and floating structures in several different locations across the United Kingdom. In 2018 he received an invitation from Gérard Ronzatti to join Seine Design as the person responsible for general business management and business development. During the course of his career Petar received multiple recognitions and recommendations from both academic and business related colleagues, clients and partners.

Gérard Ronzatti, President of SEINE DESIGN - Born in Albertville in 1954, he graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1978. After graduating, he went to teach architecture at the University of Aleppo (Syria), before joining, in 1981, the Atelier de Montrouge where he perfected his training with Jean-Louis Veret. In parallel with his first terrestrial projects, he directed for Sodexo the "Maurice Chevalier" (1989), restaurant pier located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The prestigious operator then entrusts the realization of its entire fleet: scenic restaurant boats of 400 seats, trimarans walk of 600 seats and river shuttles Batobus. This collaboration will lead the architect to dedicate himself fully to the floating architecture. To develop it in France and internationally, he created the agency SEINE DESIGN (1996), a floating architecture and naval engineering workshop. He trains a multidisciplinary team, multicultural and rigorous, able to carry any floating project around the world. From its inception, the agency exports its know-how to London, New York and Dubai. For 20 years, Gérard Ronzatti dedicated himself to boats and restaurants. At the beginning of the 2000s, however, he replaced floating architecture at the center of his thinking. Equip and enhance the territory by the river, it is now all the work of the architect. Highly exposed in the heart of the city, it is an architecture that he wants exemplary and able to carry all the projects of society. Its architectural references testify to it. In 2010, he designed the "Adamant", a psychiatric day hospital moored at the foot of the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. In 2016, he created a 4-star floating hotel, consisting of 58 rooms, a restaurant and a pool, the "OFF Paris Seine" (Paris). This is the first time that a floating building has been awarded an architectural prize. As part of the "Reinventing the Seine" contest, Gérard Ronzatti conceives three winning projects with a wide variety of programs. A sports and wellness center, a museum dedicated to urban art and a bakery with its own mill will soon be docked on the most beautiful banks of Paris. More than ever, his desire to bring floating architecture back into the field of architecture can be seen on the river.

Awards: 2018 MIPIM Awards 2018 in the category "Best Hotel & Tourism Resort", for the floating hotel "OFF Paris Seine", Paris, France. 2017 Eiffel Trophy of steel architecture in the "Voyager" category, for the floating hotel "Off Paris Seine", Paris, France. 2017 ARCHIDESIGNCLUB Awards 2017, in the category "Hotels", for the floating hotel "OFF Paris Seine", Paris, France. 2015 Eiffel trophy of steel architecture in the "Diverting" category, for the floating "Rosa Bonheur sur Seine" tavern, Paris, France.

Dariusz Mikołajczyk and Janusz Komenda, National Institute for Spatial Policy and Housing

Strategic environmental impact assessment and preparation of spatial development plans - Polish experience in the light of the entry into force of the new legal provisions in Georgia

Goals of the paper: Presentation of the selected legal aspects and Polish experience in this field, starting from 2008, when similar legal provisions concerning the discussed issues came into force in Poland. On 1 June 2017, the new Law of Georgia Environmental Assessment was adopted. The provisions of this Code open, among other legislative changes, a new chapter in the approach to environmental issues in the context of drawing up spatial development plans. This paper presents selected legal aspects and Polish experience in this field. The first part of the paper discusses the legal provisions applicable to Poland in this regard. It also describes their location in relation to legal provisions concerning urban planning and spatial development and other legal provisions regarding environmental protection, management and sustainable use of environmental resources, protection against the effects of natural hazards (floods, landslides).


The second part deals with the practical application of legal provisions in the context of carrying out strategic environmental impact assessments in relation to planning studies prepared at local and regional level. It discusses specific activities undertaken as part of conducting the strategic environmental impact assessment, studies drawn up as part of this procedure and their legally required content, procedures relating to public participation in environmental protection as well as the relationship between the preparation of planning studies and mode of conducting strategic environmental assessment for the purposes of these studies. The third part presents selected examples to illustrate how special conditions resulting from the environmental protection needs may affect the procedure for drawing up planning studies and related environmental impact assessment procedures. This part also presents an example of a cross-border environmental impact assessment. In the summary of the paper there were presented main questions prepared for discussion in the context of the practical implementation of new legal provisions in this field in Georgia.

Dariusz Mikołajczyk (MSc, BSc), urban planner and researcher in the National Institute for Spatial Policy and Housing in Krakow (KIPPiM), since 2015 to date. He is a graduate of Finance Faculty, Department of Regional Economy at the University of Economics in Cracow (Bachelor of Spatial Planning, Master of Spatial Management of Urban Areas). For over 3 years, he has been working in the Urban Space Planning and Regeneration Department dealing with planning studies and strategic documents such as: local spatial development plans, local regeneration programmes, urban development strategies, eco-physiographic studies and cartographic studies, focused using GIS tools and spatial analyses. He was a member of the project team which was responsible for preparation of an expertise and spatial analyses for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction focusing on verifying existing framework and giving recommendations. He is currently realizing twinning project in Georgia called “Improving Infrastructure Quality through Better Planning Systems”, which is implemented through the aid of the European Union.

Janusz Komenda (MSc), urban planner and researcher in National Institute for Spatial Policy and Housing in Krakow (KIPPiM), since 1989 to date. He graduated from Jagiellonian University in 1989 as a geographer. He contributed to more than 30 local spatial development studies and plans for municipalities in Central and Southern Poland. Sometimes as a member of the planning team, sometimes as a chief planner. He was also a member of the planning team which was responsible for preparing 2 regional development plans for Malopolska Voivodeship. He was a member of the authors team, won 1st prize in contest of “Conception of Physical Planning of Metropolitan City of Warsaw” in 1996. As a researcher he has been interested in relations between present and future development. He contributed to several EU research projects. He is an author or co-author of 6 (out of them 2 in English) scientific publications. He is currently realizing twinning project in Georgia called “Improving Infrastructure Quality through Better Planning Systems”, which is implemented through the aid of the European Union.