Director of Urban Expansion, Solly Angel, has written “The Best Hope for Ukraine Lies Within Its Cities” in Bloomberg CityLab. He discusses cities’ ability to transform themselves during unforeseen circumstances, with a focus on the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Cities “work” because of their innate resilience; they have an inexhaustible ability to reinvent themselves, to regenerate their civic spirit, to fashion and refashion innovative solutions to crises, and even to rise from the ashes.
We witnessed that in cities the world over during the Covid-19 pandemic, when urban places were quickly put to different uses: Sports arenas and exhibition halls became field hospitals and vaccination sites; homes became workplaces; and parking lanes became outdoor restaurants.
Now, as they face a different threat, Ukrainians can transform their cities into strongholds and mazes. Subway tunnels have already assumed new roles as mass shelters; the streets above promise to be lethal gantlets for Russian troops who can expect to be fired upon from every window and blown up by hidden roadside bombs. Entire cities can and do become a hive of hiding places for local fighters on the one hand, and traps for the invaders on the other.