The city center of Lviv was formed in the early XX century as a holistic ensemble that included medieval downtown, a system of broad boulevards and green spaces, which had been created in the site of demolished fortification walls around a city center and the densely built-up adjacent blocks of the former suburbs.
The city area has more than quadrupled during the past hundred years: in 1914 – 32 square km; in 1931 – 66 square km; in 1959 – 78 square km; in 1989 – 118 square km and the population has more than tripled – from 222000 habitants in 1914 to 732000 habitants in 2008.
The territory and population growth caused the increase of the city center congestion.
Despite to declaration of the intentions to change the urban structure of the city center in the period up to 1939, the practical implementation of these plans had not been embodied.
The first projects of the city center expansion during the Soviet period had, above all, an ideological foundation. In the master plan, developed in 1940 under the guidance of architect O.Kasyanov and in the one, developed in 1946 by A.Natalchenko as the head the core group of drafters the expansion of the city center by placing the main square of the city to the north of the Opera House in the place of the demolished slums of the Jewish blocks was laid down. The Communist authorities needed a new central area to be intended for the parades and demonstrations.
The Master Plans of 1959 and 1966 and the draft of the detailed city center planning, developed under the leadership of Yaroslav Novakivskyi in 1970 continued the conception of expansion of city center to the north. This ideological emphasis of the first Soviet general plans gradually changed to the ideas concerning the field of urban planning solutions: separating the pedestrian and vehicle traffic, creating a pedestrian esplanade, designing the underground transport tunnels etc.
The draft of the detailed planning the area within Chornovil Avenue, Warshavs’ka Street and Lypyns’kiy Street (fulfilled by Lviv Affiliate "Dipromist" in 1976) stipulated the city public facilities to be located along Chornovil Avenue and the residential areas to be formed within the city main streets. Many public buildings such were constructed along the west side of Chornovil Avenue in 1980s. In the early 2000s, this linear structure of the public buildings was supplemented by the buildings of the supermarket "Arsen" and the retail and office center "Intercity".
The implementation of the concept of city center expansion to the north along Chornovil Avenue provided the saturation of the territory public service institutions of a citywide importance. The Concept of building and development of the city center area along Chornovil Avenue developed by the Institute "Mistoproekt" in 2002, provided for the construction of a number of shopping and entertainment, office and business centers in the areas of the bankrupt industrial enterprises.
Only a shopping mall "Forum Lviv" with the total area of 69000 sq. m. was built in 2013-2015's, as it had been stipulated by this concept.
The analysis of the detailed plans concerning the territories which include Chornovil Avenue up to the north of railway, developed in 2014-2016 years, reveals the lack of some offered centers for public use figured as the objects of the building and development Concept of the city center area declared in 2002. The priority is given to the construction of commercial housing. The community centers are planned to be located only on a cross of Chornovil Avenue and Lypynskiy Str. (the mall, hotel and offices) and in Torfiana Str. (universal multifunctional sports and concert hall, offices, hotel and facilities). The possibilities of development in this territory the wide public service values can be lost due to the current urban policy priorities.
Also the architectural and aesthetic qualities of new sections of the public center of the city are important. Its basis is the examples of architecture of the 1980s style of "Soviet neofunctionalism" with a characteristic low quality of decoration. Modern inclusions, such as "Forum Lviv" or "Kumpel", do not change the overall impression of monotony, "gray" of the architectural environment. The emergence on this territory of modern large public buildings with original vivid architectural forms, something like "Defence" or "Fondation Louis Vuitton" by Frank Gehry in Paris, or "City of Arts and Sciences" by Santiago Kalatrava in Valencia, would create for the inhabitants of Lviv a mental feeling of this territory as a city center.
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