Gyumri project hope

Gyumri project hope

Gyumri Project Hope (GPH) is a non-profit urban planning foundation established in 2015, focused on the improvement of Gyumri in various sectors to eliminate the depopulation crisis of the city, by restoring social and economic stability for the region. In October 2016 GPH presented its concept paper “Strategic Redevelopment of Gyumri”. This concept is a joint initiative of GPH main donors: AGBU, ARS, IDeA Foundation and the Kololian Foundation.Below are some excerpts from the report about renovation of Gyumri’s some significant sights.


All Saviors Square and Freedom Square

Built during the early Soviet years, the two sizable squares in front of City Hall are vastly underutilized without adequate seating, green space, and pedestrian connections to surrounding areas. GPH’s vision for the squares is built off of two previous proposals from prominent Gyumri-based architects and community feedback received. The vision includes, increasing connectivity, and creating an inviting and user friendly meeting place for visitors and residents alike attracting a variety of businesses to the area.

Central Market (“Shuka”)
The main farmers market of Gyumri, located near City Hall, is one of the largest and most active outdoor markets of Armenia. However, infrastructure at the market is rundown, vendor kiosks are haphazardly constructed, artists and craftspeople lack a designated area to sell, and there is a lack of an overall plan for the market. GPH proposes that the market becomes a place where a variety of vendors come together to sell their products. The vendors would be grouped based on their products, which would allow for better organization, better user experience and pedestrian flow. Additionally, the market can expand to support new retail such as eating establishments that activate the market into a lively public space at all hours of the day.
In many towns and cities, the market is the heartbeat. Gyumri is no exception and therefore GPH envisions enormous potential for the Gyumri Shuka.

Kumayri Historic District

A five block area within the Kumayri Historic District in Gyumri was chosen to demonstrate how preserving historic buildings while adding new uses into the buildings can be a precursor and model for preservation efforts throughout Gyumri. As part of creating a model for preservation, GPH developed a set of so called “Preservation and conservation guidelines” to demonstrate how the use and enforcement of such guidelines could preserve valuable buildings that can attract businesses to the area.

In addition to above mentioned, GPH team visited Kakheti region of Georgia to better understand Georgia’s recent track-record in implementing a regional development plan. As a neighboring country Georgia offers valuable insight on implementing large scale initiatives for tourism and historic preservation aimed at boosting economic development. Georgia case study proved that strong commitment of Government and valuable support of International Funding Organizations leads to social economic prosperity. The USD 65 mm. loan approved under Regional Development Project of World Bank (RDP, RDPII and RDPIII) provided infrastructure and large scale institutional development. The analysis showed that in most of Georgian cities urban regeneration has resulted in economic growth and increase in tax revenues from 10 mm. Lari to 25 mm. Lari in 2 years.
The lessons learned during Kakheti trip helped to guide and prioritize GPH’s analysis of tourism, historic preservation, and infrastructure development for Shirak Marz and Gyumri.

Historic Preservation Handbook
“Gyumri Project Hope” Foundation has taken the initiative to propose and develop a handbook of how to preserve historical buildings and how these buildings can be used today. The document is created based on best international practices and similar projects and initiatives. The main goal of the guidebook is to use Gyumri as a pilot city and a model for heritage preservation in Armenia and neighboring countries.

Gyumri Project Hope
GPH was born from the Depopulation research conducted by the Kololian Foundation. Through this research it was found that Gyumri has experienced the highest level of depopulation out of any city in the Republic of Armenia.
The first phase of GPH is to create the Feasibility Study. By conducting a feasibility study GPH will develop a true understanding of what is needed and what is feasible and this can only be achieved through systematic approach in creating a high-quality Feasibility Plan based on international standards, incorporating input from citizens and officials who live and work in Gyumri and the Shirak region.Once the Feasibility Study is complete, projects will be launched in co-operation with private industry and international organizations, where people from Gyumri will play leading roles. GPH mission is to build upon Gyumri’s potential by creating long-term sustainable economic development initiatives through a collaborative, comprehensive, and regional approach.