Friday 27th 11.00 – 12.00 Track 1

Urban redevelopment:
New build, green and low-carbon gentrification in the transformed city?

11.00 – 11.05 Introduction
– Audun Ruud & Celine Loades

11.05 – 11.30 Area-based initiatives and urban democracy
– Sissel Hovik, Sveinung Legard & Inger Miriam Bertelsen

Area-based initiatives (ABIs) set out to improve livability and living conditions in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods by making use of extensive citizen participation. ABIs are often criticized for constituting a form of undemocratic tokenism; this creates the illusion that residents have a say over urban development because citizens are only given consultative power. This paper takes a different perspective.

We follow the ‘systemic turn’ in democratic theory, which addresses how direct citizen participation can reduce problems of inclusion, communication, and collective action created by defects in representative democracy. We find evidence that our case, the Grønland-Tøyen ABI in Oslo, Norway, at its best, is able to include new, previously marginalized groups in formulating a collective will that eventually impact city government policy. We argue that these cases show the potential of ABIs to enhance government effectiveness, as the participatory process creates preferable solutions to those produced by city experts.

We also argue that it is the narrow scope of the participation schemes, rather than the lack of power devolved to citizens, that limits the ABIs contribution to urban democracy. This hinders the ABI’s ability to address social justice and puts the legitimacy of the participatory arrangements at risk.

Sveinung Legard is a researcher at NIBR, OsloMet. He studies democratic innovations in different countries, including Norway.

11.30 – 11.55 To Have a Garden in an Apartment”: Reshaping Food Strategies and Urban Spaces in the War-Torn Kharkiv, 
– Olena Muradyan, Ruslan Zaporozhchenko, Daria Yashkina & Oleksandra Deineko

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has brought about significant changes in Ukrainian society across all social levels. Thousands of people have been uprooted from their homes, forced to flee their localities due to survival necessities. Once-thriving cities in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, which were home to hundreds of thousands of residents until February 2022, now resemble ghost towns. In addition to widespread shelling and destruction, the Russian military occupation has disrupted well-established food supply chains and logistical networks. Mined areas have rendered agricultural activities unviable, leading to the destruction of numerous farms, while stores grapple with shortages of essential food items. These represent just a fraction of the myriad social consequences stemming from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The new living conditions have compelled Ukrainians to reshape their usual behavioral patterns and life strategies. These adjustments have also influenced the critical need to ensure access to food and essential supplies. How are Ukrainians striving to secure food sustainability during wartime, and what impact does this have on urban spaces? Through an examination of shifts in the food strategies of Kharkiv city residents, this research tries to provide answers to these pressing questions.

The study is empirically grounded in materials obtained through participant observation conducted by Kharkiv sociologists in April-June 2022, with a focus on the transformations within Kharkiv’s urban landscape stemming from Russia’s military aggression. Additionally, we draw upon the findings of 10 express interviews conducted in April-June 2022 with residents of apartment buildings in Kharkiv as a part of “Kharkiv Green Urban Tour” within Fusilli project. The interviewees initiated the cultivation of greenery and vegetables within their apartments and adjoining plots as a response to the food crisis brought about by Russia’s military aggression during the spring and summer of 2022.

Summarizing the findings from participant observation of urban space changes and materials from express interviews, the research identifies three trends:

• “private gardens in public spaces” (previously municipal land between urban houses is now being used for individual and collective farming);
• “private gardens in one’s own apartment” (the cultivation of greens and vegetables has shifted into urban residents’ personal spaces, with many taking up microgardening on balconies, in spare rooms, or within abandoned buildings);
• “private production instead of public one” (urban residents who have remained in Kharkiv during the war are attempting to self-sustain their food supply through home gardening practices on their plots and in their backyards while minimizing food store purchases).

Olena Muradyan – Dean of the School of Sociology (since 2015), an Associate professor (docent) at Political Sociology Department (since 2013) at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Ph.D. in 2011. Gender Commissioner – Rector’s Advisor (since 2022). Her research focuses on social inequality, gender sociology, social values, political sociology, higher education, urban food policy, international comparative sociological studies.

Ruslan Zaporozhchenko is a PhD student at the Sociological Faculty V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; Senior Lecturer at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Daria Yashkina is a PhD student at the Sociological Faculty V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; Senior Lecturer at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Oleksandra Deineko is aguest researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), OsloMet; Associate professor at School Sociology V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine). She has aPh.D. in Sociology (2015). Deineko is a member of the Norwegian Network for Research on Ukraine – UKRAINETT and a board member of the Sociological Association of Ukraine (SAU). Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Deineko is focusing on studying social transformations occurred of Ukrainian society under the war and life experiences of Ukrainian refugees in Norway.

She is a project researcher at projects  such as “Ukrainian refugees experiences with the integration process and public services in Norway” (2023-2026); “Ukrainian refugees – experiences from the first phase in Norway” (2022); “Accommodation of Regional Diversity in Ukraine” (ARDU) 2018-2021, “Fostering the Urban Food System Transformation through Innovative Living Labs” (2021-2024); “Sociological and mathematical modeling of the socio-epidemic management effectiveness processes to ensure the national security of Ukraine” (2021-2022). She is a project leader in “The quality of higher legal education and the educational environment in the assessments of law students in Ukraine” (2020-2021, USAID New Justice Program).

Her field of research interests centers around social cohesion, Ukrainian studies, identity, trust, civil activism, migration.

11.55 – 12.00 Closing remarks
– Audun Ruud & Celine Loades