Regional Co-operation for Cultural Heritage Development
რეგიონალური თანამშრომლობა კულტურული მემკვიდრეობის განვითარებისათვის
Տարածաշրջանային համագործակցություն հանուն մշակութային ժառանգության զարգացման
Національна політика щодо культурної спадщини
Mədəni irsin inkişaf Etdimilməsi üçün regional əməkdaşlıq
Рэгіянальнае супрацоўніцтва ў мэтах развіцця культурнай спадчыны
E- Journal №1
Cultural Heritage Policy
Basic Theses of the Policy - Strategy of the Preservation of the Immovable Cultural Heritage of Kiev

Dr. Y. A. Maslov

“Charitable Fund Saint Sophia”,
Construction  Academy of Ukraine 

Strategy determines the basic priorities, leading principles, criteria, and directions for safeguarding the immovable cultural heritage of Kiev as the main resource of the city’s sustainable development, in addition to mechanisms for policy implementation. The strategic project is initiated and implemented by the public organization “Charitable Fund Saint Sophia,” which focuses primarily on preventing demolitions, and providing for the protection and preservation of cultural heritage sites.

 Problems of cultural heritage preservation on the verge of the millennium. Despite the acceptance of several normative and legal acts in the field of cultural heritage protection, recent urban planning and economic decisions indicate that the cultural heritage is still at the risk and moreover, is under the threat of purposeful destruction. This tendency became increasingly destructive with the beginning of the new millennium.

 State-protected heritage is also at risk of being left out of the new economic life of the city. Plans for building new elite housing and prestigious business complexes in the historical areas of the city are practically outspent. The state does not provide investors any economic stimulus for a careful attitude towards preservation of architectural monuments or the reconstruction of historic environment. In addition to the fact that many sites of the cultural heritage are located on expensive land plots, the “historic character” of a building or its location in the vicinity of a landmark site can considerably increase its market value.

As in the most cases, building a new structure is considerably cheaper than properly restoring an old one – investors, as a result, work not for preservation, but for the elimination of the monuments. The most widespread method of "reconstruction" is demolition, with a subsequent erection of an imitation of the "historical" building, or even a structure quite alien to the historical environment.

Most endangered is the valuable territory of the historical part of Kyiv, namely the right-bank of the Dnieper (i.e. areas of the Kyiv heights ridge and adjacent lands). Due to its natural features and a considerable techno-genic overload as a result of the intensification of town-planning and economic activity, this territory is the zone of ecological and techno-genic risk of the geological environment, i.e. development of the dangerous geological processes that carry a threat to the national interests of Ukraine in the ecological sphere.

A key problem of Kyiv’s architectural heritage preservation is the absence of a clear cooperation between the bodies responsible for the protection of cultural heritage, bodies responsible for architecture and town-planning, and bodies responsible for the land-related developments. The result is mass illegal interventions in historic environment. 

Socio-political risks in the loss of the cultural heritage. The loss of cultural values is irreparable and irreversible. Any losses of cultural heritage will unavoidably affect all spheres of life for present and future generations—leading to spiritual poverty, violation of the integrity of the historical memory, even actual impoverishment of the entire society. They will not be compensated by recent modern development.

In terms of preserving the material manifestations of heritage, objects of immovable cultural heritage are especially meaningful for Ukraine. Our cultural and historical memory is primarily material, and cannot exist without attachment to the motherland, without attachment to Kyiv.

Cultural heritage objects are carriers of the ethnic codes through which worldviews (inalienable features of people including mental, ethical, cultural, historical and intellectual ideals) are reproduced in the succession of generations. Loss of heritage unavoidably results in the loss of socio-cultural roots, including intellectual and creative potential—without which no long-term development is possible.

History testifies that dramatic times, including the periods of invasions, totalitarianism and violent socio-political change, are connected with the destruction of  historical memory of people. It is not casual that cultural, intellectual and historical values of the society are objects of the national security (Law “On Fundamentals of the National Security of Ukraine”).

The further development and preservation of the immovable cultural heritage of Kyiv requires a clear definition of strategic aims and priorities that must answer new challenges arising in the connection with the subsequent development of Kyiv in the 21st century.

Strategic aim for immovable cultural heritage preservation policies. The primary aim is to develop means for halting the recent crisis of destruction and decline in Kyiv’s historical districts, and the creation of conditions for their sustainable development.

Priorities and tasks. Legislation in the field of immovable cultural heritage preservation must follow international legal norms, which take precedence over national norms.          Conceptual development for preservation must take international conference and meeting documents into account, which represent leading policies and practices for global heritage preservation.

Priorities and tasks in the political sphere. Policy in the field of the immovable cultural heritage preservation must be connected to and based on national policies for sustainable urban development. It must be considered when defining legislative regulations, planning and development of rural areas, stimulation of investments, tax policy development, and the inflow and rational use of local budget for a socio-economic development. 

Modern understanding of sustainable development is considerably broader than the purely ecological paradigm. In addition to ecological concerns, it encompasses socio-economic and humanitarian components in direct connection with culture as the carrier of national spirit, the inspiration for future development. As a result, heritage preservation projects must be broad enough to encompass and support their exceptionally crucial significance – the preservation of national collective memory for the sake of maximal use by future generations.

Preservation of cultural heritage is a key element in strategies for urban renewal. Long-term plans for heritage preservation must cooperate with state executive bodies at all stages to develop partner relationships with the public and non-state sector.

Preservation activities must be accomplished not only by preservation organizations, but also by those responsible for urban planning and architecture, economic and industrial development, ecology, transport, modernization, property management, housing and communal services, and legal services.

Transition from the ideology of ivory-tower protection to the ideology of sustainable preservation is necessary. Modern principles must envisage active participation of the community in heritage projects, their integration in the social and economic life of the city, and the provision of the heritage sites with new functions useful for urban communities. A new strategy must be built on the basis of balanced and harmonious relations between the requirements of the public, state agencies, religious confessions, economic activities, and the protection of the historic environment.

Strengthening the role of urban planning in legislation concerning cultural heritage protection. Of utmost importance are: the balance between diverse urban spaces (built-up, free, and green); historical urban landscapes which have a urban-forming role; historical silhouettes of the city – entirety and correlation of the natural landscapes with the system of the architectural dominants; composition axes and directions of perception of these dominants; specific view points with the views to architectural ensembles, panoramas and prospects of open-space, major historical streets and squares; connections of the city with a natural and man-made environment; ancient designations of the city districts, as well as those acquired during their historical development.

Urban planning regulations of the historical districts, zoning, and assessing the level of historic and cultural potential of the territory are the highest priorities when developing effective urban planning legislation in the context of cultural heritage preservation.

Modern architecture in the context cultural heritage preservation – this is one of the important constituents of the cultural heritage preservation strategy. Construction regulation zones must determine the possibilities for new construction activities on the territories of the uncompleted or degraded urban environment, deteriorated facades, inner quarter areas, and on the lots of missing buildings.

New construction activity must serve the restoration of the urban fabric, recreation of the lost elements in the style of the originals where possible, and accommodating the scale, visual connection, character, and spatial correlations the pre-existing historic fabric. Regeneration and renovation as more creative methods must dictate the forms and functions of modern architectural additions to historic areas.

The building and reconstruction within the dense built environment on unstable foundations in zones of seismic is of utmost complexity. Any reconstruction and building activity in the historical districts must be carried out under obligatory scientific and technical supervision and accompanied by the monitoring of the technical state of the existent buildings and urban infrastructure.

Symbiosis of the open spaces and the dense urban fabric distinguishes Kyiv’s historic districts. The open spaces are an inalienable part of local architectural and urban heritage. Together with the waterways, they form a complex and ecologically sound zone of historical environment. Strategies must protect landscape architecture, and supervise systematic realization of complete restoration and preventive measures.

Priorities and tasks in the field of the ecological and preservation site safety: safety measures include state support for comprehensive studies targeting possible threats to historic architecture stability, particularly in high-risk areas for geological disturbance; the development and maintenance of early-warning systems for structural risk.

State support of the restoration industry. The very nature of cultural heritage preservation as a protector of collective memory justifies special programmes with state support and encouragement, including tax deductions and state commissions for restoration works. The restoration industry is closely related to other industries (construction, engineering) and is able to stimulate economic growth through job creation. The restoration process can also spark socio-cultural movements for community groups. Mobilization of economic resources for immovable cultural heritage must become a foundation for urban regeneration.

Priorities of international cooperation. In following the norms set by international and European legislation in the field of cultural heritage preservation, attention and encouragement should be given to the development of international heritage projects. The involvement of foreign specialists may be necessary to find solutions for preservation-related planning problems.

Organizational mechanisms for state policies on preservation. Architectural heritage management programs with state support must be carried out through legislative elaboration of the tasks and functions of the bodies which ensure cultural heritage preservation, removal of present contradictions in operating normative-legislative acts; development of legislative principles regarding heritage sector management, development and adoption of updated laws concerning monument protection and heritage preservation, town-planning, architectural and restoration activity, education system and system of professional skills training, regulation of the land-related relations, use and protection of the lands, property and tax regulation, normative-legislative regulation of the public and charitable activity.  These updates should take into account the documents of UNESCO, ICOMOS, and decisions of the European Council, as well as proposals of the present national strategy.     

Resources provision to for immovable heritage. Priorities in financing Kyiv’s immovable heritage include:  protection of the city’s historic districts; the state-sponsored scientific and technical programme, "Engineering protection, monitoring and preservation of cultural heritage on Kyiv’s Right Bank"; repair and restoration work on the architectural heritage sites, which are under threat of destruction. Resource allocation will be determined through state budget accounting, as well as through respective state programmes. The budget for Kyiv’s cultural heritage programs must be dispersed in steps, and the final product must be analogous to similar projects implemented in other European cities.

Principles and mechanisms for state and public control of the strategy. Control during the heritage strategy’s implementation is carried out by Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Cabinet of Ministers, and the National Security and Defence Council, within the limits of their plenary powers, as stipulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. The Parliament of Ukraine forms the legislative basis for implementing the strategy, and carries out appropriate parliamentary controls. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine act as a supreme body in the system of executive bodies, following the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, acts of the President, and decisions of the National Security and Defence Council, implements the strategy, and annually adopts the plans of measures for its implementation.

The Council of the National Security and Defensive of Ukraine coordinates and controls activity of the executive bodies on realization of the Strategy and, taking into account changes in the environment, makes suggestions in relation to its circumstantiation and resource provision for the consideration during the preparation of the draft law on the State budget of Ukraine for the next year.

Central executive bodies of Ukraine, the law enforcement authorities, formed in accordance with the laws of Ukraine, within the limits of their powers ensure implementation the tasks in relation to the realization of the Strategy, envisaged by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, acts of President of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, decisions of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

Other executive bodies, Kyiv municipal state administration ensure the solution of problems that regard realization of the Strategy, envisaged by the legislation within their competence.

Substantial role in realization of the policy of preservation of the cultural heritage of Kyiv must be plaid the institutions of the civil society, including public monitoring of the activity of state authorities in this sphere.

The constitution and laws of Ukraine provide necessary possibilities for this purpose. At the same time, the mechanisms for public monitoring need improvements through public expertise of the draft normative-legislative acts, concepts and programmes on the issues of preservation of the immovable cultural heritage of Kyiv; wide public involvement in the discussion of the most acute problems of the cultural heritage preservation during preparation of the respective state decisions; establishment of independent expert councils with the participation of volunteer specialists who operate.

Cultural heritage preservation depends on many stakeholders in urban planning, religious groups, and those participating in public, private, and state economic activity in the historical districts of the city. In view of this, the strategy must become a normative-legal act of the highest legal force, obligatory for implementation for the authorities on all levels, must become the basis of the certain development programmes in accordance with the state policy of the sustainable development of Kyiv, and is valid for the period defined by the Strategy during which goals will be achieved.   

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