Mapping workshop
at «Kronprinz»
17.11.2019, Kaliningrad
Mapping workshop at «Kronprinz» was a part of a broader mapping & research process organized by the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in the framework of Urb CulturalPlanning project.

The main aim of the workshop was to explore the resources of the area and needs of «Kronprinz» barracks' tenants, local citizens residing in the adjacent areas, artists etc. with a view of further elaboration of potential development scenarios for the yard of the «Kronprinz» barracks.

The workshop was designed and carried out by social researcher and urban activist Anna Alimpieva, PhD. In Sociology, and city planner Vera Goshkoderya. More than 30 people, invited through an open call, took part in it. These included representatives of key tenants (stakeholders), such as the Kaliningrad branch of the Moscow State University of Technologies and Management, local artists, historians, tourist guides, urban activists, students and residents of the adjacent area.

The introductory part of the workshop included presentations on the BB NCCA's mission, activities at «Kronprinz» and plans for further development, including implementation of UrbCulturalPlanning; development plans of the Kaliningrad branch of the Moscow State University of Technologies and Management; and methodologies and key principles of cultural planning in cities.

Participants were split in four working groups so that each of them would include people from various backgrounds, professional experience and competences.
Mapping workshop at «Kronprinz» was a part of a broader mapping & research process organized by the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in the framework of Urb CulturalPlanning project.
Workshop's poster
The group work consisted of several stages: problematization (focus on what is missing in Kaliningrad in general and «Kronprinz», in particular); research walk (focus on identifying identity of the place, exploring its resources and potentials, users, stakeholders, their interests and potential conflicts) and sketching the vision for the area. After each stage each group presented their findings to all participants.

One of the main specific features of the area, identified by the participants, which is both a resource of the place and its challenge, is its very polycultural character, an extraordinary mix of very different, sometimes contradictory and, as might seem, prone to conflict but co-existing subcultures, social practices, cultural symbols and codes.

Besides, the participants outlined key values, based on which that the place (the yard of «Kronprinz» barracks) should function, and described events and activities, which can further convey these values.
According to workshop participants, the list of values underlying the development of «Kronprinz» yard should include: freedom, openness, accessibility, multiculturalism, identity and authenticity, culture, art, cultural and historical heritage, partnership, novelty, expertise, co-creation, participation, harmony and safety.
The problems of the area were also identified. One of the key issues is how to make «Kronprinz» «transparent», and visible for the city and citizens. How physical (barrier free infrastructure) and symbolic (openness, transparency, development of the site as the point of attraction) accessibility of the site can be ensured? The following possible solutions were formulated: to increase accessibility by means of organization of walking trails and transportation routes; to clear the «Kronprinz» barracks of extraneous extensions; to ensure an unimpeded passage around «Kronprinz» barracks; to improve navigation, signage and distribution of information; to ensure smooth passage in the yard and interior space of «Kronprinz» barracks.
The other important problem is the lack of well-maintained outdoor spaces and comfortable environment in the area. How can we improve the territory of the yard keeping all limitations, borders, (potential) conflicts and a lack of funding in mind? Participants of the workshop suggested specific solutions including elimination of a car parking and construction of a parking for bikes in the yard; installation of information boards about the history of the site; improvement of navigation signs in the adjacent area; audit of fences and extensions, including in a format of a round table.

The third issue is the development of «Kronprinz» as creative space. What can attract people here? What can they do here? What kind of possibilities for self-realization of various people will be provided here? Today «Kronprinz» does not have a reputation of a site rich with cultural, social and creative life. There are no reasons to come here, and, even more so, to come regularly, unless you are an employee or a student of some institution located here. Even residents of the adjacent area, who have no problems to get here, do not see the site as a point of attraction. At the same time, according to local residents, there is a lack of cultural and educational opportunities for various social groups in this area. The task of this working group consisted in finding the ways to make «Kronprinz» more creative and attractive for people and suggesting relevant activities.

In the framework of the last session participants provided their feedback on the workshop, their impressions and emotions. They highlighted that it is important to «return» «Kronprinz» into urban ecosystem, to open it for citizens, various users, preserve it as a monument of history and architecture and revitalize it as a cultural site. Besides, they appreciated the dialogue that has been launched by the event.
The workshop, perhaps, we the first event dedicated to the future of «Kronprinz», which has brought together so many and so diverse participants and stakeholders. Among the emotions the participants spoke about are joy, surprise at the great interest of people in «Kronprinz», hopes for «Kronprinz»' revival and its active inclusion into the city's life.