The rivers in Kharkiv urban space: the history of interaction between nature and society (second half of the XVIIth - early XXIth century)

Keywords: revitalization, river, Kharkiv, ecosystem services, anthropogenic pressure, urban space, urban planning concepts, landscaping


Formulation of the problem. This article is devoted to the critical topic of modern Urban studies –the river’s role in urban space. There are many projects of the river’s revitalization in the USA, South Korea, and Europe. These projects improve the condition of climate and ecology in cities and renew rivers have become attractive places for citizens and tourists. In Ukraine, such projects are not so popular, but during the last years, in several cities NGOs, which try to attract attention to this topic, have appeared. Nevertheless, the revitalization project must begin from the deep investigation into the history and natural condition of the river. Therefore, this article’s object is the interaction between the Rivers and the Society in the Kharkiv urban space during the second half of 17th – the early 21st century.

The topic was divided to five periods. The first was the second half of 17 – the middle of 18, when the city was the fortress on The Wild Field’s border. Next – 1764 – 1860, when Kharkiv was the typical administrative center of The Russian Empire. Then 1860 – 1917, when the city’s impetuous development dramatically accelerated anthropogenic pressure on the urban space. The fourth – 1917 – 1991 when the town was under Soviet Urban policy. The last – the modern period of Ukrainian Independence, when the revitalization projects have become the actual.

Review of previous publications and studies. Kharkiv blue space’s condition was the important theme for historians, ecologists, architects and politics during the 19th – 21st centuries. The global subjects of the river in urban space were started to discuss in Europe in 19th century because of the influence to the river by the industry leading to ecological problems. During the last ten years, L. J. Martin attracted the attention to the history and revitalization of the Providence river (USA). S. Castonguay, M. Evenden published the profound research about the river in urban space. Jaime Lerner determined the place of river in his research «Acupuntura Urbana» Ukrainian ecologists continue to study the level of pollution in Udy, Kharkiv and Lopan.

Methods. Using the original Urban Studies methods we considered the rivers as a part of the symmetry urban network. It means that the river is an active actor of the urban connection and can influence the other elements of the net.

Results. During the five periods of our theme, river were played the next roles in urban space – sewage, zoning, economic, recreational, and aesthetic. The meaning and scale of these functions were changed according to the historical period. Unregulated use of water sources leads to the pollution of rivers, the spread of infection, and the floods.

Scientific novelty and practical significance. The revitalization process starts from the profound cross-disciplinary research about the place of rivers in Kharkiv Urban space. In this article we identified the periodization of the problem, the primary function of the rivers, and the changing of their roles during the period. The next step must be the project of revitalizing the rivers as the cultural object based of their history.


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Author Biography

Вікторія Нестеренко, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

PhD (History)


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How to Cite
Нестеренко, В. (2021). The rivers in Kharkiv urban space: the history of interaction between nature and society (second half of the XVIIth - early XXIth century). Visnyk of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Series "Geology. Geography. Ecology", (54), 224-239.