The changes that take place in big cities and are related to the improving of infrastructure, job creation, contributing to an increase of income, are not the witnesses of development of Ukraine.

Small cities, that are inhabited by more than 50 percent of the population - are real state status indicators. Where do our towns move toward? There is no a single answer to this question. Determining of the direction of such inhabited locality depends on geography, regulations in development of certain areas for the past times , its economic specialization: monofunctional or multifunctional urban economy, and so on. Municipalities with the status of cities – satellites have more or less a satisfactory condition, but these cities are in contrast contrasts in the urban environment. Regional centers, which are characterized by monofunctional development, are in tough situation. The situation deteriorates for reasons of outflow of labor due to the crisis in the labor market. The number of these in Ukraine is over 350. We live in an age of post-industrial economy. This is the time when you need to pay attention to cultural and human resources. It is a path that does not bear heavy financial burdens but requires cultural ideas which will be the basis for cultural - economic strategy for the city. This direction of development is little known to the heads of small cities of Ukraine, but is effectively used in the world. A striking example was the East German towns that find themselves in a more difficult situation after the withdrawal of Soviet troops than modern small city in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a rule, ideas are not associated with traditional notions of cultural heritage. The search and development of "highlights" of the city is a difficult process and depends on the willingness of the authorities to change their own perception of the city and the political will. The effect of cultural - economic development of these areas must be aimed at easing regional contrasts in the country. As a result, infrastructure is developing depending on the idea. Many of us have such potential, but do not use it. Positioning in the small town in glocal context - an invention in every specific case. During the research, along with the expert group , local residents, who have to accept the idea and develop their own business segments developed in context, should also take part in the process. The task of the expert group is to develop ideas and strategies for its implementation. Typically, the presence of productive cooperation between the group of experts, authorities and key players, economic results from this process can be seen already in the 3 - 5 years. It’s already the second year of implementation of the pilot project “Plan Z” , that was founded by the Institute for Cultural Policy of Vinnytsia and supported by the German Foreign Office, the Goethe Institute in Ukraine. The expert group consists of experienced professionals who have already implemented author’s local projects in their cities of Ukraine and have an experience of cultural mapping, work with various social and age groups. Along with experts working group , there’s a group practitioners of the transformation of public spaces. At the beginning «PLAN Z» was seen as a project for a self-governing city of Zhmerinka. During its realization , it became clear that the experience of it should be extended to the other cities. According to the results, it is connected with the mental features of residents that differs not only from Europe but also from the mentality of the residents of regional centers of Ukraine. The soft power of cultural mapping helps in solving critical social problems and the dialogue in the community. This is the very phase, that begins the formation of cultural policy of areas that significantly change the pattern of behavior of local residents , formation of attitude to the town that influences making decisions and identifying the ways of developing of the territory. During the cooperation with Zhmerinka residents in 2015, the expert group had big problems with the perception of innovation. Residents believed that European integration begins with the awakening in the morning and seeing Europe just outside the window. But it does not happen. Europe begins with the individual, its readiness to work for the city and its development, pay taxes and insurance premiums, clean up around the house and so on. The transformation of consciousness lasts and lasts a long time. But it must be mentioned some progress and existing command of the Agents of cultural change in Zhmerinka that not only exist in the virtual space, but makes concrete actions that make up the mosaic of physical transformation of the territory, a new series of association and filling urban spaces with new content. The second phase of «PLAN Z -Laboratory of transformation" began its work in May 2016. The expert group also included German specialists with experience of development of cultural and economic strategy for the cities of East Germany. With the support of the German Foreign Office and the Goethe Institute Ukraine the geography of the project expanded. Representatives of 15 small cities in Ukraine from the East, West and South of the country visited Zhmerinka and jointly developed five network projects. One such project is the "ART DEPOT", the implementation of which will end in September 2016. NGO "Culture Di@log" (Kremenchuk ,Ukraine), youth organization "Mittendrin" (Neuruppin,Germany) and the Institute for Cultural Policy (Vinnytsia ,Ukraine) has united for this project and appealed to the German Foundation "EVZ" ( translated into Ukrainian as a Foundation "Remembrance, responsibility and future"), allowing 12 young Zhmerinka residents to get acquainted with transforming of abandoned train station in the town of Neuruppin in September. And 12 young Germans will visit Zhmerinka and help in the implementation of the plan. "ART DEPOT" - the creation of alternative cultural youth center started on July 26 this year, a large combined work of young people who did general cleaning of abandoned buildings in the city center and the scope of work prepared for the joint transformation space. The idea of the functioning of the Centre, its content was developed in June during workshops led by Patrick Foehl (Germany). The function of Alternative Space is to become the epicenter of the creative transformation of the city, a platform for developing and implementing ideas. The results of the physical transformation of the building we will see at the end of August. The economic component of the operation center, which is not dependent on budgetary support for its content is already in operation. A lot of work lies ahead, but the youth of Zhmerinka is ready for it. It’s the youth of Zhmerinka, who were first to realize that the rescue or revival of the city is in their own hands.

Irina Frenkel
The Chairman of the Institute for Cultural Policy
The Advisor to the Minister of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine
and the Mayor of Vinnytsia on cultural policy.