BRINGING STREETS BACK TO PEOPLE: MEDIATING CO-OPERATION AROUND DEGTARNIY LANE

The idea of this project is to apply a tool of cooperation of various stakeholders for creating public space at the Degtarniy lane.

corner Degtyarnogo lane with Moiseenko_Anastasia Popova.jpg

The Degtarniy lane is situated in depressed residential area in central historic district of Saint-Petersburg. Typical residents of this area share communal apartments and have low income. AT the same time the potential of the location is great – the very center of the city – Nevskiy prospect – is in 20 min. by foot. Besides this area is surrounding a recent development project that created a new business center where 20 committees of the local government are going to move in the next few years.
However ironically this district is missing attractive public spaces. Apart from being a residential area at the outskirts of the central district, it also serves as parking and transit area for business people, representatives of the city government and tourists moving through it between the “more significant” spots in the city. Social, political and human capital of the inhabitants of this area is too low for competing with other city districts for comfortable and vibrant urban environment. It seems that this area and its inhabitants are potential victim of the future gentrification.
We are initiating our project in order to prevent this situation, and to let local dwellers enjoy high quality urban live before they will be removed from this area by incoming capital.

The current construction of the new business district «Nevskaya Ratusha» for city government launched at Degtarniy lane reveals radical economic inequality and social gap between local residents and future users of the business district.
The Degtarniy lane becomes a stage for the developing conflict of interests: city government is planning a parking lot on the territory where residents claim for creation of the pedestrian zone.

The local initiative of citizens started in 2016 in order to save the historical memory of the Degtarniy lane as a place where the world’s first electric tram was tested (several years earlier than it took place in Berlin). At the moment one of the results of civic initiatives’ activity is a dialogue with the district and central city’s authorities.
They expressed their interest to the idea of the citizens (pedestrian zone), and one of the Vice-Governors of the city personally imitated a dialogue between the civic’ initiative’s representatives and the Head of the district.
Media are keeping their eye on the situation of Degtearniy lane too, which is a good support for the active citizens. Our project is aimed serving a “mediating platform” for the further dialog of the key stakeholders – civic initiative, district authorities, the city’s government representative and development company “VTB 24” building a business-center for the city government – around Degtarniy lane.

We are going to use artistic and festival forms, as well as educational activities in order to support the process of cooperation between stakeholders, to learn more about the request of the inhabitants and to bring interests of the stakeholders together and finding the “win-win-win” solution for all sides.
We believe that the cross-sectoral cooperation and involvement of citizens in the creation of these events will promote the developing of sustainable community around the Degtarniy lane.

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