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The Heart of the City is a long-term project aiming at the redevelopment of the historic centre of Kaliningrad, the area surrounding the former Königsberg Castle and the House of Soviets. The project implementation unit is a Non-governmental organization Urban Planning Bureau “Heart of the City” (Russian name: Градостроительное бюро «Сердце города»), located in Kaliningrad, Russia.
The project emerged as a joint initiative of the members of the Council for Culture working under the leadership of the Governor of Kaliningrad Region Nikolay Tsukanov. The Council of Culture under the Governor of the Kaliningrad Region is an advisory body established in 2005 to provide cooperation between cultural institutions, mass media, NGOs, artistic and cultural community and to develop proposals on different issues in the sphere of culture. The project is implemented in close cooperation with the Government of Kaliningrad Region, Kaliningrad City Administration and Kaliningrad Regional Branch Office of the Union of Architects of Russia. The Project Leader is a cultural expert, a writer and an architectural critic Alexander Popadin.
Because of the severe damages during the Second World War and uncompleted town planning projects of the Soviet times, so far, the city centre of Kaliningrad remains virtually empty and undeveloped in terms of urban infrastructure and design. In 2012, after several years of public and expert consultations held with Russian and foreign experts, the Kaliningrad Oblast Government launched the long-term programme for the systematic regeneration of the historical part of the city, which is known for its seven centuries of history as Königsberg and still preserves some features of its original urban fabric. To implement the project named “Heart of the City”, the “road map” was developed to cover the areas of the King’s Mountain (Korolevskaya gora), the adjacent embankment of the Pregolya River and the Lower Lake.
In 2013, the Historic and cultural study of the “Heart of the City” project areas was conducted to set the basis for further activities within the project. The researchers determined the boundaries of twelve historic areas (corresponding to former Königsberg city parts), analysed their historic and cultural assets and made recommendations for their future development. The study was presented to the local authorities and discussed with professionals and the local community on numerous occasions.
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