Ukraine is fighting for its very existence and self-determination. The impact of the war on the country, its cities, landscapes and societies is devastating and the future is unpredictable. Yet there is no doubt that this future will bring massive spatial, social, and cultural changes, regardless. After all, the spatial impacts of climate change come on top of the destruction caused by the current conflict. Transition scenarios have to be imagined. In our partnership with Ukraine in her recovery journey, fostering collaboration and mutual understanding begins with learning from one another. Join us for an insightful exploration into the urban planning perspectives of Amsterdam and Lviv in an upcoming lecture with Kees van Ruyven and Grisha Zotow.

This event can only be attended physically at our studio. The recordings will be made available later on and can be viewed via or via our YouTube channel.

About the programme

This unique event aims to bridge the gap between Dutch and Ukrainian audiences by fostering a deeper understanding of each other’s neighbourhoods. The lecture will feature both the Dutch urban planning perspective on Lviv neighbourhoods and the Ukrainian urban planning perspective on Amsterdam neighbourhoods with a discussion afterwards. This lecture is part of a series of events on the topic of ‘Healthy and future-proof neighbourhoods’ within our project ‘Panorama Ukraine’. Panorama Ukraine is a collective endeavour of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), Ukraine – Netherlands Urban Network (UNUN), Dutch Board of Government Advisors (CRa), Nieuwe Instituut (NI), the Independent School for the City, Vereniging Deltametropool (VDM) and is generously supported by The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

About the speakers

Kees van Ruyven was born on May 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, he graduated as a civil engineer at the Amsterdam Polytechnic (1969) as well as urban planner at the Technical University Delft (1976). He lived and worked until 2020 in Amsterdam as an urban planner, senior project manager, advisor and city-maker. With more than thirty years of experience in the department of Urban Development and in the Project Management Bureau of the Amsterdam Municipality. From 2008 till 2019 he worked as an independent urbanist. In 2020 he retired. The core quality of Kees is his creative and inspiring way of directing complex area oriented urban developments on different scales. He is keen on concept and strategy, focusing on practical results and intent to connect plans, processes and people. The scope of his experience ranges from urban renewal of 19th century’s neighborhoods to urban development of large scale Amsterdam expansions. One of his most important local challenges was the transformation of the former industrial harbor embankment of the IJ into the mixed urban South IJ Waterfront of Amsterdam. He invented a development strategy called `Anchors in the IJ` that appeared to be successful. International experience was gained in Nicaragua by designing a masterplan for the city center of Managua, which was destroyed by an earthquake; by restoring parts of the old center of Accra in Ghana and by developing transformation plans for an old neighborhood in the center of Willemstad, capital of the Island of Curaçao. In 2018 he worked as advisor in refugee camp Zaatari in Jordania. He is co-author of books about city development, like `Amsterdam back to the IJ`: transformation of the south IJ-embankment (2012) and of the book `Lviv, city of paradoxes`(2014). A decade ago he initiated and realized the transformation of an old Polytechnic School building in a post war reconstruction district of Amsterdam into a multifunctional complex for Artists in Residences, hostel, restaurant, urban garden and creative workspaces: named WOW. WOW Amsterdam was presented during the NOVVYI LVIV URBAN SUMMER SCHOOL in August 2015 in Lviv as an example to reactivate depressed neighbourhoods.