Vilnius city municipality is participating in European exchange and learning programme URBACT, in the project RE-Block, which focuses in reviving high rise block neighbourhoods. Pilot territory in Vilnius is Zirmunai Triangle. The district is one of the many large scale housing estates in Vilnius build during soviet times. Neighbourhood is build more than 60 years ago and now needs urgent revitalization. So far there is no comprehensive strategy on how to regenerate such territories including renovation of the buildings and its surroundings. Therefore this project offers a new approach: to integrate in the renewal of public spaces and infrastructure, the involvement of residents, businesses in the preparation and implementation of a local action plan for the area.
Vision for the neighbourhood’s regeneration and action plan how to achieve the vision was prepared during the two year long the project. The document was prepared working together with the URBACT local support group consisting of representatives of municipality departments, politicians, residents, social associations and entrepreneurs. The purpose of a core group of around 25 people was to represent their needs, express opinion, consult, give proposals and together with the team of urbanists prepare the local action plan.
The project can be divided in three phases:
1 – Research phase was meant to getting to know the site, defining problems, challenges and tasks. Result of the study and debates became a base to prepare development vision.
2 – Development vision. Workshop and debates were organized to define desired character and program for the project site. After the workshop three development scenarios were proposed and combination of qualities from all scenarios became development vision for Žirmūnai triangle.
Development vision characterized new structure of the neighbourhood, how to improve public spaces of the district, courtyards of the apartment blocks, paths, cycling routes, roads, infrastructure and car parking.
3 – Local action plan defined what projects need to be done to reach the vision: project phasing, responsibility of stakeholders, financing sources, management mechanism. The action plan outlines how to create district identity and promote local community.
Local action plan will serve as a working guideline for project managing group, which will steer the regeneration process. The municipality has an ambition to develop Zirmunai Triangle as a pilot neighbourhood regeneration project. The process methodology would be applied in the renewal of many other housing estates in Vilnius and Lithuania.
Type: Vision and local action plan for large scale housing estate regeneration
Approach: Participatory planning
Neighbourhood: Zirmunai socialist housing estate, build in 1960s
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Date: 2013- 2015
Site area: 60 ha
Client: Vilnius city municipality
URBACT: The project is part of URBACT II program, RE-Block project
More about RE-Block here
More about URBACT here