Strong cities. Strong Ukraine

Project description

Title: Integrated urban development in Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ukraine
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine
Overall term: 2015 to 2018

Ukraine. Strong cities. Strong Ukraine. The Charter on Sustainable European Cites in Ukraine © GIZ


The introduction of local self-government in Ukraine is a key reform in the country’s democratisation process as it strives towards European integration. In the wake of the Maidan revolution, Ukrainian cities and regions have gained the right to shape their processes independently, following the example of western European cities. As is the case across the globe, urbanisation is advancing in Ukraine; its towns and cities are growing rapidly, but the associated problems are growing at an even faster rate. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for the problems of increasing urbanisation to be tackled.

Ukrainian cities have enormous potential for the development of the country but this potential is underexploited. This is now to change. However, after almost 100 years of centralist, Soviet-style state-building, the cities have neither the institutional expertise, nor qualified personnel with the ability to perform the new tasks. Many of the processes, standards and methods involved in modern, sustainable and participatory urban development are simply not known. The creative potential and wealth of ideas emerging from a highly engaged and diverse civil society therefore remain untapped.


In the cities of Zhytomyr, Poltava, Chernivtsi and Vinnytsia, the citizens participate in political and economic development processes. The negative environmental impacts of urban growth are curbed and the cities’ vital natural resource base is improved.

Upgrading urban areas. The historical university building in Chernivtsi © GIZ


The project has set out to sustainably enhance the living conditions of urban populations. The cities must enable their administrations to assume the many new tasks entailed in local self-government in a professional manner, and to improve cooperation and coordination with the people. The cities are to become growth centres for an economically and democratically strong Ukraine. The Ministry of Regional Development, which is responsible for the reforms, has declared that the Charter on Sustainable European Cities is to serve as the guiding principle for sustainable urban development, as have all 28 EU member countries. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is cofinancing the project.

The cities of Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Poltava and Chernivtsi are elaborating integrated urban development plans for completion by the end of 2017. An engaging and imaginative training programme is allowing decision-makers to learn about presentation and facilitation techniques, in addition to new methods, procedures and standards used in modern, sustainable urban development. Taking the integrated development plan as a basis, the cities are to draw up sector plans for urban mobility and plan selected infrastructure projects ready for implementation. Comprehensive improvements are being made to the training and continuing professional development available to urban planners, and the legal and administrative frameworks are being thoroughly modernised. All Ukrainian towns and cities will have full access to project knowledge and enhance their national and international cooperation.

Ukraine. Shaping cities for people. Integrated urban development in Chernivtsi © GIZ

The project can demonstrate the planning approach applied in integrated urban development on a model basis and simulate it in full using replicable standard processes. The basis is an integrated, participatory urban development plan from which sector plans are subsequently derived, for example on urban mobility. The cities, together with civil society, then prioritise one infrastructure project from this sector plan, which is developed such that it is ready for implementation by the time the project ends.