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Future of Ukraine's city
Weeks after Russian forces had pulled out of the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, leaving a trail of unburied bodies, blasted homes, and booby-trapped rubble, a more peaceable force rolled in: 120 architects from all over Ukraine, summoned to figure out what to rebuild first and how to do it. Among them was a team from Archimatika, a Kyiv firm trying to reconcile two competing priorities: replacing what’s broken right away, and making Ukrainian cities better than they were. “We need to build housing quickly and cheaply, but it has to be nice, and not just for a few years but for the future,” says the firm’s co-founder Aleksandr Popov. “We can’t make the same mistake we did after World War II, when we made so many very bad buildings.” By “we” he means the Soviet Union, and by “bad” he means the infamously drab, ostensibly temporary apartment blocks called Khrushchyovka still quietly crumbling in virtually every city from Tallinn to Vladivostok.