In July 2023, as part of the implementation of the Recovery Specialists Training Program with the support of the USAID Project "Economic Resilience Activity", we conducted a small survey of Program’s participants (mainly representatives of local self-government bodies and local state administrations of the occupied territories and those most affected by Russian aggression). Among the questions that were put to them were the following:
- The experience of the recovery of which cities, considered in the last course of the first stage of the Program, is the most interesting from the point of view of its application to the recovery of Ukrainian cities?
- What priority tasks should be carried out as part of the preparation and implementation of the recovery program of your community?
- What issues would prevent or hinder the recovery of your communities?
160 participants took part in the survey, and it was conducted after the completion of three courses of the Recovery Officers Training Program. That is, the answers were provided by the audience, which was already in a certain way prepared to assess the situation in their communities based on internationally recognized principles and approaches to the restoration and development of cities.
Below are the survey results.
The most attractive experience of urban recovery to use in Ukraine.
Despite the fact that Ukraine's mentality and traditions are quite significantly different from the countries of East Asia, the most interesting experience for our communities was the post-war recovery of Seoul - 60% of the training participants plan to take this experience into account when developing recovery programs for their communities. The Tokyo experience was also quite interesting, it was noted as useful by 29% of participants.
The second priority was the experience of the post-war reconstruction of Munich and Helsinki, its usefulness was noted by 38 and 37% of participants, respectively.
The next result was for Dortmund, it is 31%. Industrial cities, almost completely destroyed as a result of the war, plan to use it.
The experience of such cities as Sarajevo and Warsaw also turned out to be quite important, 23 and 19% of participants were interested to follow them. The participants did not ignore the experience of rebuilding Beirut (14%), which is considered negative, but gives a lot of information to think about what to pay attention to when planning the rebuilding of their cities.
The majority of survey participants, namely 51%, noted that the development of recovery strategies/plans, approval of master plans, etc. should be the first priority in the recovery of their communities. The next most important task (43%) is the involvement of city residents and businesses in this process. 27% of participants noted the importance of the priority restoration of industry and infrastructure, because for their cities to "come to life" and people to return to them, it is necessary to create jobs. The next priority is the construction of housing for those who lost it because of Russian aggression, in first turn, social housing. 19% of respondents identified this task as a priority task. They are followed by: consideration of environmental aspects in restoration programs (15%), attracting financial resources (11%), increasing the institutional capacity of public authorities (9%), preservation of historical heritage (8%), proper assessment of the state of destruction and provision of security measures (according to 7%).
Problems that would prevent the recovery
The main problem, without solving which one cannot hope for the success of the recovery process, is corruption - this was noted by 42% of the respondents. Also, an important obstacle in the process of rebuilding cities is the low quality of human capital (low professional level of public authorities) and the reduction of the population, especially the most professional people, which occurred as a result of the relocation of a significant number of our citizens abroad. This problem was outlined by 39% of survey participants.
25% of respondents believe that there may be a problem with the financing of restoration projects due to the limited supply of financial resources. 20% are sure that a successful recovery will be hindered by insufficient attention of the public authorities to the opinion of residents and businesses.
18% of respondents reported the lack of a strategic vision for the restoration of communities. This is followed by the risks of resuming hostilities even after the end of the war (13%), incoherence of central and local government actions (8%), as well as the lack of properly prepared projects, burdensome bureaucratic procedures, and failure to take into account environmental aspects in recovery programs (7% each).