Build Back Better. Tourism and hospitality after the pandemic

/ Landscape /

Resilience, which has become the most prominent trend of the early 21st century, is a flexible concept that is associated not only with the ability to recover from a failure (default, collapse, lockdown) but also to reincarnate into a qualitatively better incarnation.

This global optimism is perfectly reflected in the slogan Build Back Better, which was used by Joe Biden in his election program and later by the UK government for its development strategy. Since the phrase Build Back Better is not monopolized, it seems to us to perfectly characterize the current situation in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which have been hit hard by the pandemic but have already shown rapid growth in the first months of easing restrictions.

We talk about how resort cities and hoteliers are trying not only to save the situation but also to take it to a new level.


Getting out of travel grief

The anxiety and desire to change places that used to grip us with the onset of summer have become a chronic condition. Today, traveling is not only about moving from one place to another to satisfy curiosity, shopping, or sunbathing. Or rather, not so much. It is education and cognition, the search for a destination, a way to survive grief, and a sense of freedom. For a modern person, the ability to travel is one of the main conditions for well-being.

Millions of people around the world admit that quarantine has caused travel grief - a culture shock caused by isolation. And the fact that for many, the best incentive to get vaccinated was the hope of returning to flying and traveling shows that we had previously mistakenly considered tourism to be a frivolous topic.

Photo: Florida Guidebook / Unsplash

Blocking international travel led to the global economy losing $1.3 trillion in 2020! This is about 11 times more than the losses from the 2008-2009 crisis. The travel and tourism industry has lost about 100 million jobs. The pandemic has also highlighted the role of the hospitality industry in society: it is clear that in hundreds of cities, including capitals, it was the main driver of the local economy and source of employment.

According to the latest July ICAO report, "The Impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Civil Aviation," the global aviation industry lost $371 billion in gross passenger revenue in 2020, and losses of $286-317 billion are expected in 2021. The easing of quarantine restrictions has allowed the number of flights to increase by an average of 5% per week since June 2021. If everything goes well, the number of flights will reach the level of 2019 in the fall.


The burden of tourism

First, surfers discover new beaches in Indonesia with high-quality waves, followed by entrepreneurs in fishing villages, boutique hotels opening, and abandoned Hindu temples filling up with seekers of spiritual harmony. Or New York artists head to the Berkshires and the outskirts of the post-industrial town of North Adams for plein air, and in this deep province, the Mass MoCA appears, Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry work on new museum projects, and the previously little-explored Clark Art Institute experiences a real sellout. This old scheme of creative gentrification is still working.

Resort development and commercial development of new territories is a game of chance and excitement that is sincerely exciting for everyone involved. Designing a resort unleashes the hands of architects and unleashes their unbridled imagination. It is no coincidence that thousands of avant-garde objects can be found on the coasts - hotels, sanatoriums, private villas.

But sooner or later, development turns negative: overtourism damages the landscape, destroys beaches, puts a huge strain on infrastructure, and deprives residents of access to the real estate market. Maya Bay in Thailand (made famous by the movie The Beach) or the Blue Lagoon in the Turkish village of Oludeniz look terrible during the peak tourist season: there is literally not a square meter of beach space free of human bodies, as well as in the water area intended for safe swimming and fenced off with buoys. And what is most surprising is that this catastrophic situation does not deter undemanding tourists from coming to the area - the number of visitors only increases with each new season.

The overcrowding of resorts makes them unattractive primarily to the wealthiest travelers. The clientele of luxury establishments leaves noisy "crowded" places, which leads to the closure of expensive boutiques, restaurants and hotels

The overcrowding of resorts makes them unattractive primarily to the wealthiest travelers. The clientele of luxury establishments is leaving noisy "crowded" places, which leads to the closure of expensive boutiques, restaurants, and hotels. Fast food, chain retail, and hostels are taking their place. Such de-gentrification ultimately depletes natural resources: oases turn into scorched earth. Discovery of an attraction - development of a resort - gentrification - collapse - decline, oblivion, and wilderness.

The lockdown, by disrupting this natural resort life cycle, has become a beneficial artificial pause that has allowed overheated tourist cities to cool down and take a break. When we bemoan the fact that the pandemic has almost destroyed tourism, some of the natives of Venice, Amsterdam, and Paris (except for the heads of absentee real estate) only applaud. The lockdown has returned the citizens to a peaceful sleep that is not disturbed by the drunken screams of vacationers.

With the disappearance of tourist crowds, the streets of European centers have become quiet and clean. Roman matrons can walk their dogs in the Monti neighborhood without having to maneuver through streams of strangers. The people of Amsterdam have gotten used to the smell of urine in the nooks and crannies around Leidseplein. Residents of Barcelona's Barri Gòtic can once again hang their laundry on ropes across the streets without fear of being stolen as a souvenir.

Birdcage-like changing cabins at Singapore's most sustainable hotel, PARKROYAL On Pickering, designed by WOHA. Photo source: PARKROYAL On Pickering

Overtourism damages the landscape, destroys beaches, puts a huge strain on infrastructure and deprives residents of access to the real estate market

And officials and urban planners now have time to think about how to reduce the negative side effects of overtourism while preserving the economy. Measures such as introducing tax restrictions and banning the use of Booking and Airbnb (as has already been practiced in Barcelona) are a blow to small businesses and a violation of the rights of property owners. And poor travelers as well.

A more difficult but justified way is to encourage hoteliers to invest in heritage preservation and eco-technologies, redistribute tourist flows, develop new resorts, and encourage a style of recreation that does not harm nature.

Xigera Safari Lodge is a premium tourist camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. It is part of the Red Carnation Hotels collection of luxury boutique hotels. Photo source: Xigera Safari Lodge

World Bank managers believe that the pandemic will allow us to reconsider the attitude to tourism and put it on the GRID rails - an environmentally friendly, sustainable, inclusive approach to development. Key players in the hospitality sector - Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental (IHG), Hyatt, Wyndham, Radisson and others - have united in the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance group. In 2020, the SHA published several reports with practical recommendations for hoteliers and developers on how to make their businesses and hotels sustainable.

In addition to general recommendations, SHA provides specific examples in its brochures: Hersha Hospitality Trust (investor of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Hersha's Independent Hotel Collection) reconstructs former bank or office buildings and turns them into hotels, and saves $14 million a year by using recycled water for laundry.


Green touches

If a developer barbarically invades a protected area and builds a luxury hotel, draining a swamp with bird nests or cutting down old trees along the way, this is a bad story that can destroy a business to the core. A great way to ruin a reputation is to destroy a historic building to build a modern one.

People who have experienced an existential crisis (and many have perceived the pandemic as such) have become even more receptive to everything related to respect for nature and heritage. Therefore, conscious hoteliers are rising to the challenge and making their businesses more and more eco-friendly.

Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, the first LEED Gold certified hotel in the United States. Photo source: Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa

A towel rack in the bathroom is a gentle hint that a towel can be used twice. The "cleaning on demand" option allows you to save water on daily laundry. Other markers that the hotel supports the sustainability paradigm include: bicycle rental for guests; no mowing lawns in the landscaping; shampoo and soap dispensers; sugar and condiment jar dispensers in dining rooms; use of natural and recycled materials in interior and exterior decoration; and an on-site organic farm that supplies fresh vegetables and herbs for the kitchen.

What was once perceived by snobs as a "desire to save money" and did not fit into the concept of "luxury" is now a manifestation of awareness and a desire to support global trends.

A difficult but justified way is to encourage hoteliers to invest in heritage preservation and eco-technologies, redistribute tourist flows, and develop new resorts

Back in 2008, Wen Yi Chang, founder of Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, America's first LEED Gold certified hotel, shared with his colleagues that sustainability doesn't really require a huge additional investment. "When designing the first hotel of the chain, the cost of green elements ranged from 12 to 15%. During the development of the Gaia Anderson Hotel, sustainability costs were reduced to 5-6%. And during the construction of Gaia Merced Hotel, they amounted to only 2-3%," said Wen Yi Chang.

Xigera Safari Lodge. Photo source: Xigera Safari Lodge

Today, solar electric systems, maximizing natural light in every room, passive heating and cooling strategies, preserving shade trees to reduce heat islands in parking lots, high-performance thermal insulation, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, ozone purification systems, and dual-flush toilets are already an integral part of the technical specifications that customers set for designers and builders.


Eco Luxury: clay and gold

As soon as the process of vaccination against coronavirus infection became widespread, dozens of new luxury hotels announced the start/resumption of bookings. Here are some of the high-profile openings.

Canadian 1 Hotel Toronto will start welcoming guests on August 4. Marketers have added the prefix "eco" to the mandatory definition of "luxury", and 1 Hotel Toronto is entering the market positioning itself as an eco luxury hotel. No wonder the founder of the hotel brand, Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, investor Mark Scheinberg of Mohari Hospitality, and architect and designer David Rockwell are called visionaries focused on naturalness.

1 Hotel Toronto is an eco-luxury hotel created with a focus on biophilicity. Photo source: 1 Hotel Toronto

"We have long been passionate about sustainability and environmentalism, and we are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to design the new 1 Hotel Toronto with a focus on biophilicity," said David Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group.

In addition to its biophilic interior design, 1 Hotel Toronto boasts purely countryside attributes. An organic composter will process all the garbage left by visitors into fertilizer, which is then used to fertilize plants on the hotel grounds and in nearby parks. And in cozy places on the roof and terraces, hotels for bees will be placed. By the way, this is not such a new idea - earlier pollinator houses appeared at the Fairmont Royal York and Shangri-La Hotel. Bee protection is a very popular topic in Toronto and Canada in general.

Villa Copenhagen is a hotel created during the renovation of the Copenhagen Central Post Office building. Photo source: Nordic Hotels & Resorts

Despite the fact that the Danish authorities are still restricting entry into the country, Petter Stordalen - the "king of hotels" throughout Scandinavia, charismatic and environmentalist - has announced the opening of reservations for guests of his new Villa Copenhagen hotel next to Tivoli Gardens in the Danish capital. Villa Copenhagen, a part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is an independent project of Nordic Hotels & Resorts, designed to demonstrate to the world the group's commitment to environmental sustainability.

The renovation and transformation of the historic Central Post Office building into a 390-room luxury hotel took more than four years and cost $275 million. The main changes include a rooftop swimming pool and restaurants, as well as an openwork metal and glass structure that transformed the courtyard where mail used to be sorted into a spectacular atrium. Massive marble columns, stucco ceilings, oak staircases, and a neo-baroque tower facade were preserved.

The design was carried out by the British studio Universal Design Studio, and to make the interiors diverse, Stordalen invited several design companies at once. For example, Earth Studio developed a completely eco-friendly suite, which uses only recycled materials; the design of the atrium lounge and several suites was done by the designers of the jewelry brand Shambala Jewels; bars and restaurants were designed by Epicurean; and environmentally friendly furniture was made by the Danish manufacturer Mater Design.

Despite the substantial amount of investment, the cost of a night at Villa Copenhagen is quite affordable - from $220. "It is impossible to create such a unique atmosphere from scratch - only by reviving a forgotten landmark," says Stordalen.

Villa Copenhagen. The pool area. Photo source: Nordic Hotels & Resorts

By the way, the pandemic did not stop Petter Stordalen from adding new hotels to the Nordic Choice Hotels collection. In July, he acquired a "pearl by the sea" - the Scandic Maritim Hotel in the Norwegian town of Heugesund on very favorable terms for the former owners. This is how the tycoon keeps the national tourism industry afloat. The Norwegian Storting also pays hoteliers significant compensation for downtime during the lockdown.

"You can't create an atmosphere from scratch - only by reviving a forgotten landmark," Petter Stordalen

The most luxurious hotel on the Pacific coast of Mexico is now the new One&Only Mandarina. A series of adobe bungalows and tree houses are immersed in lush tropical greenery. The hilltop location offers magnificent views of the lagoon. Handmade textiles, earthenware, blown glass vases - all made by local craftsmen.

People come here for the close contact with the protected nature and the cuisine of Chef Enrique Olvera. However, for extroverts and party people there is a shared beach with infinity pools and a pier for yacht parking. Room rates start at $900 per night.

One&Only Mandarina is the most luxurious hotel on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Photo source: One&Only Mandarina

Blocking phone calls, tincture of kombucha instead of Coca-Cola - architect and designer Antoni Esteva promises that just a few days spent in a rustic minimalist setting will have a beneficial effect on health and turn guests into supporters of eco-values in his new hotel Es Racó d'Artà in Mallorca's Lloret Natural Park.

It's a long way from the sea, but the swimming pool, wine from its own vineyards, vegetables from its own garden, and olive oil pressed from the harvest in the local olive grove create a unique atmosphere that is in demand today no less, if not more, than chic, neon, and swimming in champagne. And for only $630 per night.

A few days spent in a rustic minimalist setting will have a beneficial effect on health and turn guests into supporters of eco-values

"People are no longer looking for marble bathrooms and gilded faucets, instead they are looking for something simple. They are still attracted to a campfire around which they can sit and talk," says Therese Untertiner, manager of the eco-hotel in South Tyrol, which was created on the site of an abandoned sanatorium in the early 20th century. Indeed, one of the Forestis' specialties is sitting around the campfire after an evening meal of pickled pine shoots, nettle dumplings, and organic cocktails with pine needles and bark.

And yet, eco-trends do not cancel the passion for royal chic. And sometimes they are successfully integrated into the traditional concept of a Luxury Resort. And the topic of preserving and renovating heritage is part of the same sustainability strategy.

Forestis is a hotel in South Tyrol, created on the site of an abandoned sanatorium in the early 20th century: Forestis

In mid-summer, Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts opened Matild Palace in Budapest. Matild Palace is one of the most beautiful Belle Époque buildings in the city on the Danube. Over the past five years, specialists from MKV Design Studio have been working on the restoration and renovation of the interior spaces of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hotel's spaces are decorated with historical photographs, Habsburg artifacts, Zsolnay porcelain, and handmade Hungarian furniture. Art Nouveau design is combined with Baroque architecture and contemporary art.

Hotels allow you to try on a different lifestyle: lazy, royalty, spiritual seeker

"This hotel allows our guests to realize the fantasy of living in a royal palace, equipped with modern amenities and impeccable service," said Candice D'Cruz, Vice President of Marriott International.

A month earlier, the Airelles Château de Versailles hotel opened in the Palace of Versailles, the first hotel in the complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a member of the Association of European Royal Residences. The three-building complex Le Grand Contrôle, located in the entrance area of the palace, was built in 1681 by Jules Ardoin-Mansard for Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke de Saint-Anhien, and in the era of the Sun King it was bought to house the Ministry of Finance. In the nineteenth century, Le Grand Contrôle was handed over to the army, and until 2004 it housed a dining room for officers, and by then the buildings had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The French government decided to turn the former canteen into an expensive hotel and concessioned the complex to LOV GROUP. The project was commissioned to be developed by architect and designer Christophe Tollemere, who specializes in creating premium properties. His task was to create a "time capsule", conveying the spirit of the Bourbon dynasty era

Eco-trends do not cancel the passion for royal chic. And sometimes they are successfully integrated into the traditional concept

The hotel rooms were furnished with antique furniture, decorated with works of art and artifacts from the 18th century. Wooden carved panels were made according to sketches of the same era, and the textiles were supplied by Pierre Frey and the Royal Manufactory in Aubusson. All modern gadgets and equipment were carefully camouflaged, which also required considerable skill. The reconstruction of the building and interior design cost a total of more than 35 million euros.

Airelles Château de Versailles is the first hotel on the territory of Versailles. Photo source: LOV GROUP

Airelles Château de Versailles is the first hotel on the territory of Versailles. Photo source: LOV GROUP

Airelles Château de Versailles is the first hotel on the territory of Versailles. Photo source: LOV GROUP

Modern hotels don't just provide us with a roof and a bed in between sightseeing. They allow us to try on a different lifestyle: that of a rich lazy person, a royalty, a spiritual seeker or a hermit. Changing your lifestyle is also a kind of journey.


New old places

In Forbes' latest ranking of the 50 best post-pandemic travel destinations, you will hardly find the world's most popular resorts. It's mainly a collection of rather sparsely populated places with expressive nature or quiet towns with authentic culture, where you can reduce the level of stress people have been under due to COVID-19. Greek Crete and Santorini, Guyana, Costa Rica, Shetland Islands, Vietnam, Indonesia. Hello, province!

An exception to this rule seems to be the recommendation to go to Cairo, where, after 15 years of construction, the Grand Egyptian Museum, designed by the Irish studio Heneghan Peng Architects, is about to open to visitors. But, as we have seen, the process of completing work on the $1 billion facility has been delayed again.

This time, it is due to the completion of archaeological excavations near the walls of the Cheops pyramid and the transfer of the pharaoh's funeral boat to museums. Although Tutankhamun's collection, which is supposed to be the heart of the Great Egyptian Museum, is still inaccessible as of July, visitors to the Giza pyramids can satisfy their passion for history at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, where 22 mummies of ancient kings and queens were solemnly moved in April.

Construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo by Heneghan Peng Architects. Photo source: Grand Egyptian Museum

It should be explained that Egyptian development in the shadow of the historic pyramids is traditionally slow. The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, designed by local architect El-Ghazzali Kousseiba, also opened only 35 years after the start of work. Therefore, 15 is not a critical period for an object that was designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, in the words of architect Shih-Fu Peng, as "a rock, a stone wall that separates mountains and desert or life and death."

However, the long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum can hardly be called an architectural event. Since 2009, the architects have had no influence on the progress of the work, have been deprived of the opportunity to exercise authorial control, and, as reported in a recent interview, they only know that the original design has undergone significant changes.

Construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo by Heneghan Peng Architects. Photo source: Grand Egyptian Museum

"So far, tourists have been shown the pavilion being built for the pharaoh's funeral boat and told that it will open after the pandemic, because it's hard to call a ceremony where VIPs stand at a distance from each other and wear masks a holiday," says Oksana Hryshyna, a correspondent for the Ukrainian Interfax agency who visited Giza as part of an information tour. "Last year, during the quarantine, museums in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada were opened, and you can see impressive collections there.

Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani said that over the previous three years, more than 20 museums were opened and more than 80 archaeological sites were restored across the country, including Cairo. In total, more than $1.5 billion has been invested in the museum program from the state budget over the past five years, plus targeted grants from international organizations."

If you wait another year, the trip to Qatar will be even more impressive. It is preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup

A lot has been done, but before the Giza Valley, tourists are greeted by a car dump and dusty frames. They create the same sense of decay as the faded desert around the pyramids and the Sphinx. Perhaps local officials just haven't gotten around to the landfill yet, as Egypt's readiness to implement ambitious projects is beyond doubt: building a city in the desert and turning it into a garden is exactly what the government is doing now.

On the fields of the famous tank battles of World War II, next to the Mediterranean resort of El Alamein, a new city is being built for 6 million inhabitants. It will have a single specialization: tourism. Investments amount to about $60 billion.

The National Museum of Qatar is a museum designed by Jean Nouvel in Doha. Photo: Abhishek Shetty / Unsplash

"The climate here is much milder than in Egypt in general, and the sea and beach are obscenely beautiful," Oksana Grishina shares her impressions, "but the existing El Alamein is a very expensive resort. Will New Alamein offer a vacation at prices comparable to the Egyptian resorts of the Red Sea, or will it compete with the Maldives and Nice? Let's see. So far, the construction is impressive in scale, but it is too early to talk about impressive architecture."

Another architectural magnet on the Forbes list is Jean Nouvel's National Museum of Qatar in Doha. "The Desert Rose opened in mid-2019, and a few months later Qatar closed its borders. So now there is a chance to discover the architectural masterpiece and its exhibits. But if you wait another year, a trip to Qatar will be even more impressive. The country is preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and dozens of grandiose infrastructure facilities are being built for this event. The Qatari authorities also announced the opening of 105 new hotels. Wow!


Attractions and parks

Modern attractions are a hybrid of architecture and infrastructure, their benefits often go beyond the entertainment function, and the objects themselves go beyond theme parks. Thus, the London Eye, a creation of architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, has become an integral part of the London skyline. Just like Thomas Heatherwick's Wessel Tower, a magnet of New York's Hudson Yards and a destination for thousands of tourists.

In July 2021, a new tourist attraction Deep Dive Dubai opened in Dubai. The world's deepest diving pool is expected to attract as many visitors as the famous Burj Khalifa Tower. With a capacity of 14 million liters of fresh water, equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools, the indoor pool offers truly velvety all-season conditions for divers. The water temperature is maintained at 30 degrees so that swimmers do not need to wear wetsuits. Diving safety is monitored by dozens of instructors and video cameras.

Deep Dive Dubai is the world's deepest diving pool. Photo source: Deep Dive Dubai

The director of the new attraction was the famous diver Jarrod Jablonski, but in the process of physical implementation of the project, Dubai did without "legendary senior architects". The construction was carried out by the local company Binladin Contracting Group, which has 50 years of experience working on complex infrastructure projects in the UAE. The exterior of the building was inspired by the shell of the Pinctada marine mollusk, whose shells form pearls of rare colors in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. This is a reference to the traditional UAE pearl fishery.

To prevent the dive into the 60-meter well from turning into a purely technical exercise, the design team created a submerged city scenery with residential and office spaces, streets filled with urban detritus: lampposts, shopping carts, bicycles, billboards, ATMs, garbage cans, and other attributes of everyday life in the metropolis.

The opening of Deep Dive Dubai took place in parallel with the opening of the pavilions of the EXPO 2020 world exhibition, which was postponed for a year due to quarantine. Read more about this in Tatiana Kolchanova's article "Expo 2020 Dubai: a guide to the world exhibition".

Modern attractions are a hybrid of architecture and infrastructure, their benefits often go beyond the entertainment function, and the objects themselves go beyond theme parks

In the south of Turkey, between the resort villages of Fethiye and Oludeniz, a facility was opened in early summer that could turn the region into a global paragliding center. A lift to Mount Babadag was opened here, which has long been popular with paragliders due to its exceptionally convenient conditions and the ability to make long flights over turquoise bays and picturesque beaches.

There was only one problem: to get paragliders and people to its top (1700 meters), they had to be transported by a complex serpentine route that crumbled, which was more dangerous than the flights themselves. The construction of the cable car lasted 25 years - during this time, 20 governors have changed in the region, and 25 specialized ministers have changed in the Turkish government. However, in June, the Fethiye Ölüdeniz Babadağ Teleferik cable car was launched, and now the ascent time in modern and safe cabins is only 16 minutes.

The cable car is not just a sports facility - it is an important piece of infrastructure that connects a number of new tourist attractions. The intermediate and final stations have restaurants, an amphitheater for cultural events, and many observation decks from which you can admire the soaring colorful wings against the backdrop of the blue Oludeniz lagoon. The runways allow for the simultaneous launch of several paragliders, which makes Babadag a convenient place for international competitions.

The cable car will operate for 12 months, allowing hotels in the region to switch from a seasonal schedule to a year-round one. Investments in the project amounted to $43 million, but Turkey has no doubt that tourism revenues will quickly compensate for all costs. This optimism is indirectly confirmed by the fact that, despite the pandemic, smaller infrastructure projects in the region have not been frozen.

The Fethiye Ölüdeniz Babadağ Teleferik cable car will take tourists to an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level in 16 minutes. Photo: Iryna Isachenko
The Fethiye Ölüdeniz Babadağ Teleferik cable car will take tourists to an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level in 16 minutes. Photo: Iryna Isachenko

New hotels and restaurants are opening in Fethiye, and a multi-kilometer promenade along the beaches is being completed and landscaped. Just before the pandemic, a new city park appeared in the town, named after the first pilot of the Turkish Air Force, Fethiye Bey.

It was created according to all the canons of modern placemaking - in this sense, it can be considered an encyclopedic model: many paths and bike paths intertwining with each other, pergolas protecting from the sun, ponds, streams and marsh recreation, gazebos with a set of books for reading, a skate park, a stadium, playgrounds, an open theater, and many benches scattered throughout the territory. The plants, which in a hot climate require careful maintenance in the first years, have not yet taken root, but even now the park looks decent.


Rest while staying put?

Is physical relocation to a significant distance from a big city a prerequisite for escapism? At the same time as traditional resorts are looking for an opportunity to get closer to the image of a sustainable and successful post-industrial city, to move away from seasonal employment and not depend on the whims of people and anxious politicians, big cities are trying on the resort style.

In an effort to make people's lives more comfortable, urbanists study books on spa and valeology, turn to the typology of resorts, and try to integrate the components of their infrastructure into the fabric of ordinary working cities. The reason is not progressive hedonism or the specter of a coming "golden age," but the urgent need to resist an aggressive environment and daily stress. If we don't learn to relax, we will simply burn out.

In an effort to make people's lives more comfortable, urbanists study books on spa and valeology and turn to the typology of resorts

Traditionally, it was believed that the main resource of a resort is the unique natural qualities of the place: healing springs, comfortable beaches, healing mountain air, etc. It is around these qualities that the infrastructure focused on them is created. An ordinary city of the industrial era lacked the natural resources necessary for recreation and treatment. But as big industry and hazardous production are driven out of the city, modern urbanists are increasingly asking themselves: "What if we look for it?".

PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA has repeatedly written about how big cities are cleaning up and reclaiming rivers, how post-industrial areas are being transformed into parks. As one of the speakers rightly noted in an interview published in Volume 32 of PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA: "We need to create oases".

Oases are spacious and multifunctional urban parks where you can spend the whole day with your family. These are urban swimming pools and landscaped beach areas for what is known in the world as urban river swimming. These are technology parks designed on the principle of "city within a city". These are urban farms. In recent years, Ukrainian developers have increasingly turned to the typology of urban villages and urban villas. We previously wrote about this trend in detail in the article "Urban Village: The Best of Different Worlds" in Volume 30 of PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA.

Adherents of the "urban villa" typology emphasize that saving space, the main argument of the supporters of high-rise development, is actually misleading. Most people living on the floors want to get a second home - a private house closer to nature. And the realization of their plans ultimately leads to the growth of suburbs. The owners of city villas, on the other hand, are quite satisfied with their place of residence.

Park Lake City residential project, Kyiv. Image source: DIM Group

But do you really believe that, having arranged the most comfortable conditions for everyday life, a modern person is able to be satisfied with this? Nomadism is in our blood. Even if the new lockdown closes the borders again, all festivals and concerts are canceled, and all hotels close, the passion for travel will break through the bans, just like the Merman Art plywood man emerges from the stone pavement near the Arch of Friendship of Peoples in the center of Kyiv.

As Anastasia Daugule, a TV presenter on one of the central Ukrainian TV channels, aptly noted: "This is a manifesto of overcoming: to get up and move." It seems to be the manifesto of an entire generation.


/The material is published on pages #33 of the PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA volume