May 20, 2020 - CANactions - Introducing CANactions Magazine Edition 01 "MIKRORAYONS"
e-flux Architecture
May 20, 2020
May 20, 2020


CANactions Magazine Edition 01 "Mikrorayons"


Introducing CANactions Magazine Edition 01 "MIKRORAYONS" 
Call for proposals for Edition 02 "THE LAND"

Levandovska St, 3 B
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CANactions Magazine—a quarterly publication of essays, articles, and interviews by critical and engaged professionals of a wide range of fields and young creative thinkers from all over the world. It is aimed to investigate and rethink global urban challenges—both practically and theoretically—through the prism of post-socialist states, by drawing together architecture, urbanism, and social science. 

CANactions Magazine is available online free of charge, with an attitude of inclusiveness and exchange. The publication is a collective work of an international team of like-minded people which can be supported by donation. 

The first edition is dedicated to MIKRORAYONS—officially named Microdistricts or Microraions—have been designed as self-sustained districts with multifunctional residential units, made of prefabricated building elements, and have frequently been referred to as "sleeping districts." The severe housing shortage in the wake of WWII led to the emergence of large-scale planning which in effect rapidly increased the Soviet state’s housing stock. By the end of its implementation, around 75% of all the population of Eastern Countries were living in large housing estates. Today, despite the disintegration of the union the housing estates still fill the cityscape of most post-socialist states and the scale of their existence, indeed, does not allow us to ignore them. 

These Soviet era housing estates, however, are commonly viewed in a negative connotation. It has been repeated to exhaustion that Mikrorayons are associated with inhuman architecture. An architecture of monotonous blocks and never-ending façades with infinite duplication of apartment layouts surrounded by the vast emptiness of dysfunctional public space. They are catalogued merely as a political tool capable of producing economical housing units on a large scale. They are perceived as a byproduct of the economic model adopted by the communists in the Khrushchev Era, and are neglected by the authorities as well as the residents in pursuit of adopting a post-Soviet life—one that completely abandons or attempts to disassociate itself with anything that emerged within the Soviet era.  

The fundamental idea of a self-sustained district—access to everyday activities and green recreational areas within walking distance of the living unit to reduce time for daily commute—align with contemporary urban planning principles. The provision of socio-cultural infrastructures in the neighbourhood, pedestrianised access to public transport as well as safety zones for kindergartens and primary schools highlight their prevalence in contemporary spatial design. Arguably then, current practices for urban design have remained the same, regardless of a transforming political system or a change in governance. Furthermore, despite the recurring problems arising out of low quality of construction Soviet housing estates are still characterised by having a high social mix—a wide diversity of levels of income, tenure and social class living in the same neighbourhood. In other words, Mikrorayons have not deteriorated into places of social decline. Despite recurring problems and the low quality of construction, demand for Large Housing Estates remains relatively high. This approach in planning begets the following line of questions: does a change in governing bodies display a transformation in the basic needs of a society, especially how we live and form communities? Has the abandonment of these urban planning principles succeeded in creating more adequate, inclusive and liveable neighbourhoods in contemporary times? 

CANactions Magazine Edition 01 aims to contribute to the discourse surrounding Large Housing Estates typologies and regain attention in current political and theoretical debates. 

Editorial Team: 
Romea Muryń (Chief Editor), CANactions School Program Director 
Sara Anand, Urban Designer at Foster+Partners 
Natalia Mysak, Ph.D., architect at Drozdov & Partners 
Maya Shopova, Co-founder of Collective Home Office 

You are welcome to download the CANactions Magazine Edition 01 "Mikrorayons"

Call for papers
CANactions Magazine Edition 02 "THE LAND" will be published on August 20, 2020. It is meant to explore "LAND" and its inhabitants to collect and share with the world the most actual and relevant portrait of contemporary post-socialist states countryside. 

You are invited to apply to Call for Papers for Edition 02 and submit your proposal by online form before May 30, 2020 (6pm CET). 

If you encounter any problems during the submission process or have any questions please contact us: info [​at​]

CANactions School is an educational platform in the sphere of architecture and urbanism with offices in Kyiv and Amsterdam. 

Since 2015 CANactions School runs post-graduate interdisciplinary Educational Programs in the field of Urban Studies, Integrated Urban Development, and Strategic Spatial Planning in a context of local and global city challenges. 

CANactions International Architecture Festival—one of the biggest annual architecture gatherings in Europe, running annually since 2008. The 13th CANactions International Architecture Festival aims to discuss and question the general principles of living environments which set the direction for establishing new housing typologies as well as, reflect the ideas of its residents about the quality and the benefits of living in the city. We welcome everyone to join the common dialogue around architecture and innovative approaches for creating more liveable places on September 18—19, 2020 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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