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"Urban Initiatives" is a non-governmental organization based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (est. 2014)
Public Foundation "Urban Initiatives" conducts research on urban environment, organizes seminars and discussions on the topics of urban development, supports civic initiatives and municipal entities in projects that upgrade public spaces and quality of life in their cities.
"We make liveable cities together".
Urban Initiatives' mission is to promote the ideas of citizens' participation in urban development in Kyrgyzstan.
We strive to:

>> promote inclusive and participatory approach to urban development projects, whether it is a community project or a state policy on urban planning,

>> enrich knowledge about urban processes and phenomena in the context of Kyrgyzstani and Central asian cities,

>> educate young professionals (architects, sociologists, anthropologists, designers, transport specialists, urban planning specialists and passionate activists),

>> strengthen peer networks of "shaarmans" (urban activists and practitioners).

We work as:

Think Tank. We have experience in policy oriented research & advocacy. Our research projects have been used by city officials, developers, universities, and NGOs. Our team members have participated in advocacy campaigns on Green Bishkek, Land Use Regulations, and Detailed Master Plan of Bishkek (2017-2018)..

Process Facilitators. We help small, local initiatives and large urban movements, helping them to organize communication within the community and with city officials and experts. We facilitate the process of participatory planning and stakeholder consultations in public space development/redesign initiatives. Our objective is to ensure inclusion of women, teenagers and vulnerable groups in public discussions of needs and solutions on different platforms.

Trainers and Course Designers. Equipped with knowledge on tactical urbanism, applied research and architecture, we develop and conduct courses, workshops and internship programs for urban activists and recent graduates from architecture, urban design and social sciences.


ONGOING PROJECTS
Inclusive Public Spaces — Fair Shared City

Participatory approach to upgrading public spaces of Bakai-Ata neighborhood (Bishkek).
Financial support: UN Habitat Global Public Space Program.
Applied education for architects, urban designers and urban planners
We are currently working on methodic materials about project development in architecture. We also produce our ow content about urbanism and placemaking in Kyrgyz language.
We are looking for partners to support new education programs and scale our internship program.
Green Bishkek

In partnership with ecoactivists — PF "Archa Initiative" and Move Green, we study city morphology, microclimate and quality of public spaces.
Want to join us? We are always open for new collaborations.
Drop us a line: [email protected]
PORTFOLIO: projects completed in 2014 — 2019
\ APPLIED RESEARCH AND PLACEMAKING PROJECTS
New Life of Municipal Libraries
City-wide research (2015, in partnership with the City Administration and American University of Central Asia, University of Central Asia), placemaking/redesign + mentorship for 2 libraries - #18 and #13 (2016-2017). Co-funded by UNFPA, and US Embassy.

Research report (rus) available here.
Nameless Parks
Community engagement in placemaking / reclaiming green spaces in their neighborhood. (2015, with the support of the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan). Locations: a grove in the village of Prigorodnoe in the North-West part of Bishkek city; "Little Elephants" park/playground at the intersection of the streets Aini and Toktonalieva in Bishkek.

Film about the project (link).
Socio-cultural role of Bishkek riverbanks
Research: Socio-cultural role of public spaces on the example of Bishkek riverbanks. (2016, in partnership with City Development Agency and American University of Central Asia). The study was conducted in three embankments of the Bishkek city: Alamedin, Ala-Archa and BCHK. We applied mixed methods of research: participant observation, survey analysis and mapping. Report is available here.
Integrated analysis of 5 cities
Integrated analysis of spatial, cultural, social and economic situation in 5 cities (2017, within "Forum of Cities" project which was financed by the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan and in partnership with Development Policy Institute) - links to long reads in 4 cities (in russian) Balykchy, Naryn, Batken and Isfana. Within the project the Forum of Cities our team organized two workshops for shaarmans: with Svyat Murunov on "Portfolio of city brands" and with our team members on "Urban Events & Festivals".
Analysis of Bishek's Rabochiy Gorodok neighborhood
Analysis of "Workers' Township neighborhood. Our team conducted a comprehensive study of the 'Workers township" (physical, economic and social aspects of the neighborhood) to determine its potential and the needs for the development of urban environments and public spaces and the subsequent development strategies for working with residents. The project took 3 months to complete, from May to August, 2017.
Fundraising and participatory design of the playground
Fundraising and participatory design of the playground in "Enesai" settlement. (2014, in partnership with Bishkek's Sverdlov District Administration. Work on developing playground sketches, filling with structures and working with the local community, involving in decision making at the sketch preparation stage, in playground construction.
\\ CAPACITY BUILDING & EDUCATION
In 6 years, we designed and conducted more than 20 workshops, lectures and trainings on:

  • Prototyping
  • Placemaking and tactical interventions
  • Skills for urban researchers
  • Research Design
  • Sustainable architecture
  • Right to the city
  • Urban planning policy and best practices
School of Applied Urbanism
The project was implemented in 2016 in partnership with Development Policy Institute and the financial support from the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan. An educational project for young professionals in architecture, urban planning and design, and urban activists. Within the project participants were trained by sociologists and urbanists to conduct research, develop and implement social projects, organize urban/ neighborhood communities and events. As a result of the school there were implemented several projects in Bishkek: workshop studio M13, beloved yard (in 10th microdistrict under the leadership of the active resident), redesign of stairs in one of the Bishkek Humanities University's buildings, installing bookcrossing stands on the Erkindik boulevard.

Zine made by the School' participants.
Internship program for young professionals
\\\ DISCUSSION PLATFORMS & MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
Since 2013 PF Urban Initiatives has been organizing open discussion platforms on urban issues surrounding the Bishkek City such as Urban Talks, Bishkek Urban forum, Shaarkana. Additionally, our team members publish their analytical papers, media materials and blog posts in various media outlets in Central Asia and beyond.

We organized the following events:
Bishkek Urban Forum
Bishkek Urban Forum: Bishkek Upgrade, 2-days forum with more than 400 participants and city-wide contest of civic initiatives. (2014, in partnership with Bishkek city administration, Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, World Bank, UN Volunteers).
Osh Urban Forum
Osh Urban Forum: 2-days Forum, series of City talks and research on Social Capital of Osh City' Neighborhoods. (2015, in partnership with NGO Youth of Osh, Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan). Here is the Community of the Forum.
The Forum of Cities: Network of Happy Cities
The Forum of Cities: Network of Happy Cities^ 2-days forum with 350 participants from 30 cities of Kyrgyzstan and 7 cities of other postsoviet countries, series of workshops and research of bottom-up initiatives in 5 cities of Krygyzstan. (2017, Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, Embassy of Switzerland in the Kyrgyz Republic, The State Agency for Local Government and Ethnic Relations, Development Policy Institute).
Website of the event is here.
Video recordings of the 3 forums are available here.
City Talks / Shaarkana
City Talks / Shaarkana: regular platform where experts, city officials and activists discuss issues and solutions on city mobility, urban development, right to the city, greening, sustainability etc. In 6 years, starting from 2014, we conducted more than 30 events, and shaarmans (urban activists) from other cities replicate this practice.
Road triangle
"Road triangle" — a city wide media campaign for road safety. Implemented in 2016, in partnership with the SunHouse team and with financial support from USAID.

The core message of the campaign: "We're for responsible driving". Our goal was to raise awareness about road safety and popularize a culture of behaving responsibly for all traffic participants. For drivers, we designed a test for knowledge of traffic rules and distributed it via web-portal, through online media platforms. Results of the campaign got viral in social media, people were sharing their results and also videos of public transport drivers tested on the road. In addition, we conducted training in elementary schools and senior kindergarten groups, located in areas with high traffic accidents rates. We recommended policy actions regarding road design and raising public awareness to stakeholders and state bodies. We collected social ads and other videos about the project here.
Meet our team
Raushanna Sarkeyeva
Board / Founder, Chairperson
Zarina Urmanbetova
Board / Cofounder
Saikal Zhunushova
Board / Cofounder
Saira Turdumambetova
Staff / Project manager
Elina Samyibek kyzy
Staff / Community manager
Olga Petrovskaya
Staff / Accountant
Supervisory board
Tatiana Tretiakova
Atai Sadybakasov
Azhar Baisalova
© All Rights Reserved. "Urban initiatives" public fund
[email protected]