My elaborations do not mean in any way that everything that is being done now in terms of Mayakovski Park is bad and wrong. However, I think that some things should be weighed up and evaluated. If we put the process on the right track, the site will win personal concern with the more people, and this is always the key to success in implementing the project, that is in the end we can get the result that will be shared by all and will catch on.
As the city resident and a professional in the field of city planning, I can name several obvious sore spots in Mayakovski Park.
First, the dystrophy of land improvement. The rate of dilapidation of the landscaped environment of the park exceeds the rate of its reconstruction.
Second, there is no clear strategic understanding of which part of the park should stay naturally landscaped and which should be more integrated into the urban environment.
Third, communication of the park with the city is disrupted. Now, there is no way of comfortable entering the park for anyone, there is no clear modern system of parking and transit spaces.
The fourth point of concern is the waterfront – a very valuable part of the park. Today the river is in such an awful state that people cannot tap this resource neither visually nor kinesthetically. But this is even a more complicated problem that should be dealt with separately.
The fifth point is the issue of functionality. I see two categories of people who use this park regularly, despite everything. These are families with children – because there is no other big park in the city with so many attractions. And people who live nearby and use the park for its transit function and do sports there.
Citizens perceive the park as a place to host mass cultural events. Last year a big precedent of the World Cup occurred, and a fan zone was organized in the park. As it turned out, with adequate logistics and transport organization, people are willing to spend time in the park, although such a remote fan zone raised concerns at first. Of course, not always such large-scale consolidating events occur, but one can arrange a large number of events that would unite people by groups of interest. For example, to create conditions for self-actualization of urban communities, to hold literary evenings, meetings and workshops of different clubs. This is what is now called event programming. In essence, it's when public life happens in public spaces instead of indoors. A park is what can accommodate many scenarios of public life.
Of course, there are also many accompanying materialistic issues when certain functions, at a certain level of load, require infrastructure such as arranging sufficient number of entries and exits, cafes, public toilets, rental points etc. But this is a next-step issue.
Of key importance is now the right notion of investment potential for the park, of the way investment dividends are determined and who will benefit from them. In my opinion, we should not put too much hope on separate developer companies, who will unexpectedly find substantial resources for the development of a public area. The city will unlikely find budget opportunities for such a big project either; or its implementation might take years.
In this case, big companies may be engaged in this work. For them, Yekaterinburg may be a zone of strategic interests, as an integrated development site. There are numerous examples from all over the world of situations when a big business invests substantial resources into city development counting on indirect effect rather than on direct commercial profit. This is investment into future generations, which will participate in the development of big companies later on. I am talking about an entirely different level of values, which are measured by ideology issues (healthy climate in the city, healthy spirit, and healthy upbringing). I believe that Yekaterinburg potentially has companies ready to support such ideology. If they seriously decide to invest into the park's development, taking into consideration requests of the residents who will eventually use the park, this can become a very successful precedent for the city.