Stadslab in Melitopol - Designing an Intercultural Park
The Intercultural Cities Network
recommendations in the areas of cultural
policy and urban management have produced
outstanding results. The latest collaboration
between the two pilot cities of Tilburg and
Melitopol clearly illustrate this.
The success and the practical applicability of the Intercultral Cities network is reflected in the latest
collaboration set up between the two pilot cities
Tilburg and Melitopol.
Gorky Park lies at the heart of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol. It is going to be subject to a radical urban
redesign as part of the Intercultural Cities initiative.
The Academy of Architecture and Urbanism in
Tilburg will offer creative and professional guidance.
Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory, is the
postgraduate programme run by the Dutch Fonty’s
Academy of Architecture and Urbanism in Tilburg. It
is currently operating a one-week long Master Class
to generate new ideas for the park’s design.
Two prize winning and internationally renowned
designers (Beatriz Ramo (Dutch architect) and
Anouk Vogel (Dutch/ Swiss landscape designer)
will be in charge of supervising the course.
Supervision of the Master Class will be in the hands
of two prize winning and internationally renowed designers: Beatriz Ramo, architect from the
Rotterdam based office STAR strategies +
architecture and the Swiss/Dutch landscape
architect Anouk Vogel will assure the outstanding
quality of this programme.
Mr Glaudemans, where did the idea for
this project derive from?
Whilst attending an international conference in
Tilburg last year, I met the Melitopol delegation.
They put forward their case for an intercultural park.
At that time they were rather vague, but it seemed
like potential case study material for our Stadslab
European Urban Design Laboratory. This would
involve mobilising our expertise in international
design expertise for cases such as this one. Irena
Guidikova from the Council of Europe and Olexandr
Butsenko from the Kyiv based organisation
Democracy through Culture acted as mediators and
we planned a visit to Melitopol to investigate the
viability of a joint project. During this visit in
September 2009 I visited the park and met with the
city board and various stakeholders in Melitopol and
was pleasantly surprised with the well-focused
ambition of the city. From that moment on we
decided that we would set up an international
Why do we need such thing as an
Well, if we agree on the ambition to create liveable
cities and acknowledge that different cultures within
an urban community could positively contribute to
this goal, the next step is to create moments (like
festivals or events) and places for the celebration of
intercultural coexistence. Public space in a city,
such as parks and squares are the natural locations
for such events, which could range from very
modest, daily practises to annual thematic events
for large communities. Melitopol regards itself as a
city with a successful social and cultural
infrastructure, with over a hundred nationalities form
the urban community. Supposing this is true, the
creation of an icon to brand this aspect of the city is
an exciting question, especially considering the fact
that the city is definitively in need of a revamped
What could an intercultural park look like,
are there existing examples?
We don’t know yet how it will look; this is the main
task for the designers in the Master Class! There
are a few international examples (for instance the Stadtpark in Dessau) and some literature
references. But the examples are so few and
geographically and culturally separated that in any
case the outcome will be very much site specific.
The context of the park, the current use and the
means and the ambitions of the city will greatly
influence the results.
What are the differences with “normal” park
I would estimate that about 80% of this project will
be similar to a regular park regeneration scheme.
Successful parks are a gateway for social and
cultural interactions to occur between local
communities. Just take a moment to reflect upon
the role of New York’s Central Park. Gorky park can
also be seen as successful urban space. For
example it is frequently used by diverse members of
society for various activities. These may range from
sports, leisure, cultural occasions, to commercial
events. The level of diversity within the local
community may be mirrored in the events they
operate and the park design which best suits their
Through what criteria will you ensure that
the park is attractive for diverse customers?
We are going to carry out a series of evaluations
both for the city as a whole as well as for individual
stakeholders. Beyond achieving purely social and
cultural cohesion, the park is also designed to
provide economic stimulus. For example, it should
boost the attractiveness of Melitopol as a tourist
destination. If we are going to be realistic, I would
like to return to my previous estimate of 80% of this
project being similar to that of a normal park
regeneration scheme. This would involve designing
a state of the art park based on the existing one.
This will also bring notable and visible
improvements to the city. However during the
Master Class we will definitely aim higher than this.
The new park design will attempt to address the
interculturality objective, although at present this is
difficult to quantify.
Who can participate in this Master Class?
Stadslab Master Classes are targeted at
professional architects, urban planners as well as at
landscape designers. On top of their university
degree, they must have some practical experience.
Nevertheless, we do welcome participants from
other disciplines as well. For instance these may be urban anthropologists, sociologists and real estate
developers, as they could add a perspective which
What do I have to do to participate?
Just visit our website (www.stadslab.eu) and
download the enrolment form. Or send us a CV and
portfolio to check if you are accepted to participate.
Interview: Annasophia Heinze
Mr. Marc Glaudemans is Professor for “Urban
Strategies” and Dean at the Fontys Academy of
Architecture and Urbanism. He is Director of
Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory
where he launched the idea of Master Class to life.