A team from Tbilisi City Hall - the department of urban planning, participated in the first round of International Training Programme: Enabling Local Democracy and Holistic Urban Development through the SymbioCity Approach. During the training the team developed a plan for the development of one central area in Tbilisi.
The idea of the project came from an immediate necessity the key territory presented and had been presenting for years. Reviewing the short history of the key territory development would prove to help in understanding why it was so complex;
The context of the project carried within itself a study that showed ways of potential re-evaluation of the key territory and innovative ways of introducing open public spaces and bettering the existing infrastructure. Stakeholder participation has been through surveys and meetings, through which a shared vision had been developed.
Often times, the surveyed stakeholders themselves presented various ways of dealing with the challenges presented in the area, these suggestions were implemented into the plan.
Finally, the main vision of the key territory is to raise its value so that it is adequate with its central location.
Key problems, needs and challenges
• Mobility problem (no public transport access , poor, unsafe pedestrian routes, car jams, no access to emergency and fire brigade units);
• Lack of parking (higher number of vehicles than existing garage space due to illegally built venues, misuse of existing garages, ground water in the underground garages rendering them unusable, weak fining system, weak to no monitoring by the police);
• Little to no public and green spaces (6% decrease of existing recreation since 2005, functional zone mismatch, legislative failure to protect the existing recreation);
• Ecologically poor area (air pollution, noise pollution, poor storm water drainage system);
• Mismatch of existing and factual functional zoning;
• Neglect of existing historical landmarks (which could be a potential asset);
• Poor living and social conditions of slum dwellers;
• Crime (theft, drug sale, vandalism, improper conduct in the areas with poor infrastructure);
• Lack of overall legal planning document;
• Overall devaluation of the area – leading to loss of revenues for the city in general;
The shared vision
The vision of the key territory is for it to assist with its development as an academia hub. – 42% of the area of the Key territory carries educational functions and there are a total of 25550 students passing through it every day.
An academia hub that is inviting enough for tourists as it is for local residents and entrepreneurs. – The area has several historical landmarks the value of which is severely understated, with proper care and planning, they can be inviting for tourists.
An area with good infrastructure and a considerable number of public spaces (parks, skateboard racks, playgrounds).
An area where its mixed functions are used as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage.
A territory with a good connection to the river embankment and a comfortable public transport system.