Residents of Saint Petersburg unite to change the city

During the COVID-19 Pandemic people of Saint-Peters-burg had to spend time within the apartments` walls. However, the city is awakening after the lockdown and the need for developing its territories becomes appa-rent. Often local activists take the reins and transform public places.
People of a Saint-Petersburg district noticed mysterious trucks driving past their windows. Initiative group ”ZaBereg” has begun an investigation and found unauthorized dumps on the Krasnenkaya River’s banks. 40 hectares are hidden under a six-meter mountain of waste despite the fact that endangered plants and nesting birds were found at the mouth of the river.
The activists came up with a shoreline development plan, which has received a grant. Not only were experts invited to work on the project but the ”ZaBereg” group has even held sessions of participatory design, that is when ordinary people are engaged in discussions and share their views on the territories` future. The activists have started with cleaning up the banks and held Clean Games. In 2020 100 participants collected over a ton of waste!
Another story of transformation is happening on the Makarova Embankment: thanks to the Clean Games project an initiative group ”Zarosli” appeared, and now it works on making the green zone cozy and safe. Activists say, ”Now this part of the embankment looks abandoned, but we have held Clean Games twice and collected hundreds of bags full with garbage. The place does not look like a resting zone so far, and local authorities are going to build a highway through it. But we believe we can save the embankment and create a comfortable park here!”
The team of the volunteer corps of Saint-Petersburg Mining University managed to attract public attention to the shores of Smolenka. ”The territory along the river could become a place for sports and recreation. Thanks to Clean Games we have already cleaned several points, and now the proje-cts of building up Smolenka banks are slowed down”, says Victoria Kapustina, the volunteer corps leader. Thanks to their dedicated work and desire to show how attractive for-mer dumb can be, both locals and authorities changed their indifferent attitude.
The city is changing together with its people. Saint Petersburg, so called ”Northern Venezia”, has suffered from dirty waters and shores for too long. But the start line of trans-formation has already been crossed
Anton Zaytsev