De-industrialization and conflict in Donbas

Capacity building in Ukraine to make Donbas (mono)towns inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

GCRF Funding Cycle

Principal Investigator
Victoria Donovan

Modern Languages

ODA countries

Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 8, Goal 16

The Soviet monotown model, according to which cities were established around a single industry or company, has proven unsustainable after the collapse of socialism. With the closure of many Donbas mines and steelworks in the 1990s, communities faced mass unemployment, large-scale out-migration from the region, the dilapidation of company-provisioned housing and communal services, major social and health problems, and growing cultural deprivation. The post-industrial history and heritage of the Ukrainian East, nevertheless, presents enormous potential for cultural innovation and community empowerment.

Evidence of this potential is already clear from a number of grass-roots initiatives that have creatively reanimated industrial heritage objects and contributed to the region’s cultural diversification and positive re-evaluation (Vilna Khata in Kramatorsk, Teplytsia and Top Place in Sloviansk, among others). Through research and fieldwork, knowledge exchange and practitioner mentorship, and publications and public outreach activities, the project prompts a reappraisal of this heritage and stimulates innovative and informed approaches to its management.