Project Group 8

An interdisciplinary team of specialists
at the intersection of architecture with environmental research.
Authors of the methodology and pioneers of participatory design in Russia.
> 200 projects

Environment development projects: architecture and participatory design.
>60 cities

Territory development projects in Russian cities.
12 books

and publishing activities.
See the video where Nadezda Snigireva (partner of Project Group 8) comments on community participation in design and planning.

Nadezda describes the new practice of urban development – participatory design and planning – and comments on own architectural projects for the improvement of urban areas have designated and adopted the principles of interaction between residents, government officials, the business community, architects and designers.

The significance of this approach as a step-up the level of trust between the government and society, thereby developing responsible citizens to conserve public property as well as promoting interest in the improvement of the cities by its residents.
Our projects
Lipetsk, 2022, Project group 8+DOM.RF+Administration of Lipetsk
Involvement of citizens in the development of the master plan "Lipovka - Voronezh"
Creation and implementation of a strategy for involving citizens, bringing together stakeholders and building a dialogue between city actors in the development of a master plan for the central territories of Lipetsk along the Lipovka and Voronezh city rivers
Karabash, 2022, Project group 8 + PARK
Project of the transformation of a natural area around Lake Serebry
The concept of developing a place to maintain the health of citizens, creating infrastructure for a comfortable stay, taking into account the preservation of the maximum naturalness of the place and respect for the environment and its inhabitants
Almetyevsk, 2021, Project group 8 + "Zenit" bank
«School UPGRADE»: renovation of school libraries
Participatory design with schoolchildren, teachers and librarians. Study of school spaces, joint design and relaunch of three school libraries and recreation in Almetyevsk. Project initiated by Zenith Bank.
Ufa, 2021, Project group 8 + Institute For Urban Development Of Bashkortostan
Development of an involvement strategy for the interuniversity campus in Ufa
Creation of a methodology for conducting seminars together with the Institute for Urban Development of Bashkortostan to conduct a study for the design of an interuniversity campus in Ufa. Participatory designing with students and teachers of USPTU.
Ufa, 2021, Project group 8
Teploye lake shore in Inors district
The aim of the project is to create a unified system of public spaces and use the potential of the natural recreational area near Lake Teploe in one of the districts in Ufa city.
Labytnangi, 2021-2022, Project group 8 + AB Praktika
Ethno park Komi village
The project is aimed at active interaction of the future museum and ethnographic complex with the external environment and expansion of its presence in the region. The project partners are the local citizens, scientific and cultural institutions, various business communities, primarily in the field of tourism.
Tuymazy, 2021, Project group 8
City stem: Lenin avenue
The project of renovation of the main street of the city, the symbol of Tuymazy, the creation of a pedestrian connection and points of attraction. The development project will be a response to the modern challenges of the city: support for small businesses, creation of recognizable local brand.
Yanaul, 2021, Project group 8
Small City Culture: Yanaul Center Activation
The project reveals the potential of already existing cultural institutions and consolidates the new status of public spaces.
Oktyabrsky, 2021
Project group 8
New public space between 34 and 35 microdistricts in Oktyabrsky
Restarting an abandoned wasteland between construction sites and garages through which transit routes go, including the ones of schoolchildren. The idea of the project is to create an integral system of connections and functional areas, a safe space, a place of pride and a place for key events in the area by synchronizing various ongoing programs and projects.
Davlekanovo, 2020, Project group 8 + ZARF
Through line. Davlekanovo streets through time
The public space network improvement project is the construction of a through route along the main street of the city named after Mazhit Gafuri from the historic railway station to the Dyoma river embankment.
Moscow, 2019, Project group 8 + V-A-C
Continuous currents: Activate the campus
A new public space made with students and faculty of MPEI University is an island of freedom on campus and the first public space on a previously closed area in the library courtyard. Now this is a place for comfortable rest for students and teachers in their free time - a landscaped lawn with sun loungers, a podium with a screen and seating for events, and a working co-working area near the library.
Bugulma, 2018-2020, Project group 8 + PARK
City center activation
The rich historical and cultural potential of the city with almost three hundred years of history provides a unique opportunity for the development of routes with the possibility of combining them with the entertainment component and increasing the recreational potential of the city.
Sibai, 2020, Project group 8 + PARK
Eco park
"Terra Zauralye"
The project for the activation of the existing potential of the largest green area of the city - an abandoned park named after. Mazhita Gafuri - became the beginning of leveling the negative image of the ecology of Sibay, a new symbol of reconciliation of human activity in relation to nature, drawing attention to its conservation.
Agidel, 2020, Project group 8 + ZARF
Agidel waves
The project of revealing the hidden reserves of the space of the city-microdistrict at the unfinished Bashkir nuclear power station. The formation of the center of Agidel will be a kind of "reboot" of the Soviet microdistrict - the project can become a "model" for the restart of all Soviet microdistricts.
Nizhny Novgorod, 2020, Project group 8 + ZARF
Burevestnik square
The parking lot in front of the iconic place in the Sormovo district — "the Meteor" is being returned to residents and is becoming a public space. The project considers the restoration of an integral system of pedestrian links and the revival of the lost garden in front of the Krasnoye Sormovo recreation center.
Moscow, 2020, Praktika + Project group 8
The yard is the assembly point!
Yard-constructor in Bibirevo for a large improvement program "My District": understandable, adaptable, scalable and replicable.
Republic of Tatarstan, 2016, Project group 8 + Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan
The system of participation of residents in the Program for the Development of Public Spaces of the Republic of Tatarstan
For the Program for the Development of Public Spaces of the Republic of Tatarstan, a methodology was developed for the participation of citizens in projects for the development of public spaces. The Republic of Tatarstan became the first subject in the Russian Federation to apply this approach on such a scale.
Kazan, 2017 - 2018, Architectural desant + Project group 8 + AB Chekharda
Participatory design of the development of the territory of the Gorkinsko-Ometevsky forest
A new unique park of its kind, located on the territory of a forest area of more than 80 hectares, was opened in Kazan as part of the Parks and Public Gardens Program of the Republic of Tatarstan. For 50 years, this is the first park in Kazan built from scratch - a public space with a huge untouched natural massif, whose concept is that residents learn about the world through interaction with nature.
Almetyevsk, 2017—2018, Project group 8 + PARK
Yard on Sovetskaya street, 153
A comprehensive project for the reconstruction of three adjacent yards in the existing development with the involvement of residents. The yard, in which, thanks to the initiative of the residents, it was possible to move the driveways from the entrances and synchronize the work with the overhaul. Pilot program for the improvement of courtyard areas in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Participation design in Russia: From an activism to a strategic approach.

One of the key issues related to the implementation of the participation design practice in Russia is how to make it a systematic approach for city planning, development and management, and change the paradigm from a directive to an interactive approach and collaborative process of decision-making.

The quality of environment is the issue on the agenda in Russia nowadays. Often it's the citizen's incomprehension of decision-making processes that results in poor quality of the environment. People don't take responsibility as the concept of private property was forgotten during the soviet times. In a post-industrial city the situation changes, and new mechanisms, such as participatory design need to occur.

Trying to change the process, Project Group 8 started from activism in making public spaces and now went to global strategies development in order to establish the regulatory mechanisms. We also published the first book on democratic design issues (Henry Sanoff's first translation into Russian) and initiated the establishment of a Russian Participation Design Network.

Russian Participation Design Network: The beginning of a movement.

The concept of the participatory design is becoming more and more popular in Russia nowadays. Different practitioners and theoreticians point the importance of including different stakeholders in decision-making process while changing the environment design. Various activists practice it as well as professionals, which also have different backgrounds in architecture, social sciences, economics and marketing, art and culture. Among practitioners also are municipalities and institutions in cities' administrations. Developers gradually start to see the potential of inclusion. Various universities all around Russia argue about methods and terminology. There are already several cases to start analyzing methods being used, but yet no organization, network or a movement which would unite all of them or provide an opportunity to share the practices and even talk to each other.

In September 2015 a significant step was done towards forming such a network in Russia – Social Innovations symposium in Vologda gathered practitioners together to share the experiences and methods being used. Henry Sanoff and Konstantin Kiyanenko were supervising the process. Now the network is still forming and have a potential to become a substantial movement.

Democratic Design in Russia: Heads or Tails. Case studies of Vologda.

As a developing and relatively new country Russia is nowadays trying to adopt various foreign concepts showed success and been practiced all around the world for decades. One of these is the concept of democratic design. Since the Russian mentality seems to get everything top-down instead of taking the initiative and associating themselves with the decisions made, local city administrations become the force trying to implement the community participation concept into their operations. Current situation in Vologda is so that city administration declares the need of changing the design processes through participation, but citizens don't want to participate and local businesses do not see the need of it, even though developers slowly realize ineffectiveness of current approaches which are not taking people into account resulting in protests and unsold properties. As for people, their participation is initiated by third sides which are city administration or local activists. There's no effective methodology yet developed, and democratic design looks like «Heads and Tails» game — no one knows what outcomes each project will have, how people will react, could the effective results be used for different projects. The process itself is not formulated yet even though there's a huge ongoing discussion. The reason might be that the wrong techniques are being used or that different parties involvement should be reconsidered. In our work we try to change the traditional design situation acting as a third party in a role of «architecture consultant» putting different stakeholders (citizens, local administration, businesses, other parties) together in an open process of making common decisions together. We are formulating our own approaches and participation mechanisms, taking into account cultural and historical features and mentality.
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