Gyumri has taken a big step towards the city’s sustainable future by joining the Green City Network by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). To guide Gyumri in this process the Green City Action Plan has been developed. The document includes a detailed analysis of the city’s ecological-social context and specific actions to be done for improvement and increased resilience by 2035. The overall vision of the Action Plan is to make Gyumri’s environment healthier and more liveable for its citizens by improving air quality, water resource, and land use, preserving ecosystems, and implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures while enabling economic and technological growth.
Gyumri Green City Action Plan
Gyumri Green City Action Plan
The Distrikt is joining to transfer this vision into action
The Distrikt is willing to join Gyumri Municipality to realize Gyumri’s Environmental 2035 vision as we have a clear motivation to improve our home and host city. We are joining to fulfill these actions that require huge financial and human resources to implement. The Distrikt as a successful private sector actor has multifaceted contributions to meet the GCAP targets – direct investment, development of new technologies, creating new income sources for the Gyumri municipality, or becoming a pilot and model for other parts of the city. Discover each action and The Distrikt’s contribution to each.
Walking and Cycling
Walking and cycling are important components of sustainable urban transportation, promote a healthy lifestyle, and create living streets. In fact, Gyumri’s relatively high topography creates favorable conditions for active transportation use such as walking and cycling. While, the absence of relevant infrastructures – bike lanes, pedestrian zones, and green areas are obstacles.
A_TR_04 Title: New cycle lanes and cycle parking infrastructure
The goal of The Distrikt is to become a community that provides all the necessary infrastructure and conditions for walking and cycling. For this purpose, the bike facilities will be built all around the neighborhood with connections to other parts of Gyumri.
A_TR_07 Pedestrianised city-center streets
The whole concept behind The Distrikt urban planning is to make commuting without a car possible to reduce pollution and promote a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, it will be car-free with pedestrianized streets and public spaces, adding 25 ha more to Gyumri’s pedestrianized zones. That is possible with the application of the integrated living methodology and mixed-used approach. That means mixed zones of commercial, residential, recreational use making everything accessible within 10-minutes walking distance.
Most of the energy consumed and pollution generated come from the buildings. Switching to energy-efficient green buildings will have a huge contribution to reducing fossil-fuels use. A locally produced prefabricated and passive buildings are to become models of green buildings for Gyumri. Not only high energy efficiency but also low production costs and installed renewable energy supply make them a viable solution to solve Gyumri’s housing crisis and meet environmental targets.
A_BEL_08 Promoting green building
Locally manufactured prefabricated housing will be the main construction technology used in The Distrikt. Prefab houses are ultra-low energy passive buildings and potentially twice as efficient compared to on-site buildings throughout a life-cycle (design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition). Due to the in-factory production and use of precision technologies prefab houses are cheaper and faster to make, better sealed against draughts with good energy performance, and more resistant to earthquakes.
While becoming examples of green buildings in the city, due to the cheap production costs, prefabricated houses are affordable and have the huge potential to solve the Gyumri housing crisis.
A_BEL_10 Deployment of medium-and large-scale Renewable Energy Systems
The energy from locally installed solar farms will be the major source of electricity and heating for residential use. The plant will supply enough energy to meet the local electricity needs for a year.
Geothermal heating and cooling technology will serve as a sustainable and effective energy source for residential use, greenhouses, and aquaponics plants of The Distrikt. The resistance of the system to cold climates and temperature changes will guarantee stable heat even for Gyumri’s cold winters. With the use of geothermal batteries, the heat energy of the Earth will be tapped and stored to provide heating, cooling, and hot water. With the use of heat pumps, the heat energy will be extracted and transferred into buildings.
The locally installed biogas plant will generate night-time energy supplementing solar plants for residential use and for the greenhouses. In addition, biogas will solve the part of the waste disposal problem. The input biomass sources such as food waste and animal manure will be collected by the local households, industries, and smallholder farmers.
The goal in the Distrikt is to have 0 waste. Therefore the strategies are focused on waste prevention, recycling, and from waste to energy.
A_SW_04 Construction of new MSW disposal and treatment infrastructure
The biogas plant, as an organic waste treatment facility based on anaerobic digestion technology, will be one of the main energy sources in The Distrikt. The produced energy will be used for residential purposes and in greenhouses.
The input biomass sources -food waste, food loss, and animal manure, will be collected by the local households and industries. The collection of the input materials will be organized with the recycling infrastructure available in The Distrikt for the residents, local enterprises, and adjacent neighborhoods.
A_SW_03 Implementation of a separate collection system for recyclables
The Distrikt’s waste management strategy will be based on prevention, waste separation, and recycling components. Waste prevention strategies will include awareness-raising, the introduction of 0 packaging shop, littering fines, and nudging posters. Waste collection infrastructure will be installed throughout the neighborhood and Gyumri. The 4 steam separation will be done – organic, plastic, glass, and mixed types of waste.
Organic waste will be used as biomass for the biogas plant. Plastic and glass will be handled by the local companies.
Climate change and unsustainable management are the threat to Gyumri water resources and supply stability. Because of wastewater, hydroelectricity use, and overfishing, the Akhuryan river is already endangered. By introducing innovative water management and recycling technologies, we aim to increase the water use efficiency of the city and resilience to disasters. In addition, the wastewater recycling and flood management, aquaponics food production system will be a flagship product producing fish and food while recycling the water.
A_WR_09 Rehabilitation and extension of the WW treatment system
The Distrikt will introduce an innovative method of wastewater treatment based on biological processes and plants’ phytoremediation function to remove pollutants, organic matters, nutrients.
The bio wastewater treatment system consists of several filtring and purifying cycles done in separate reactors. The plant and bacteria-based ecosystems in the reactors consume the contaminants in the wastewater producing clean and reusable water. This complex biological ecosystem is managed by an IoT-based control software that regulates all engineering components necessary to maintain ideal conditions. This software as well will be developed in The Distrikt. The system recycles up to 90 % of the water and pushes it back into buildings and green infrastructure to be used for secondary purposes such as toilets and irrigation.
The infrastructure takes around 1000 sq meters located in a greenhouse heated by biogas. It reminds a small park. The decentralized system can be used for up to 250 residents.
This innovative technology is not only an efficient way to recycle wastewater but also its esthetic appearance attracts visitors.
A_WR_10 Upgrading public water infrastructure in green spaces
Once the water has fulfilled its wide range of uses, it must be collected, transported, treated, and returned to the environment. Stormwater is a challenging environment to transport and manage as it contains large amounts of organic solids, waste, and other fibrous materials that can clog pumping systems.
Stormwater management will help us reduce runoff of rainwater or melted snow into streets, lawns, and other sites and the improvement of water quality.
Runoff, the product of rainstorms or snowstorms, flows over the ground and into drains, sewers, or waterways. The more permeable the surface, the less runoff there will be. Porous natural landscapes, such as meadows and forests, will readily soak up as much as 90 percent of the rain or snowmelt they receive. In contrast, streets, parking lots, rooftops, and other hard, impervious surfaces essentially repel stormwater, preventing it from soaking into the land and forcing it to flow whichever way gravity takes it. The Distrikt’s plan is to use permeable concrete to help water soaking into the land.
A_WR_11 Establish a Smart City Action Pilot area
One of the methods to control water use to be applied in The Distrikt is the Internet of Things-based water monitoring systems. The technology will be applied both for residential water use control, green infrastructure irrigation, and industrial use. A flagship product is the water management system for aquaponics plants based on IoT technology. It will allow controlling water circulation for more effective use sending real-time updates to the users.
Both the software and the hardware needed for the IoT application will be designed and produced in The Distrikt. The access to this technology will open the perspectives for the wider application in Gyumri.
Climate Change Adaptation and Green Infrastructure
Deforestation, use of fossil-fuel-based old cars, old buildings, open-air landfills have previously had a huge contribution to air pollution in Gyumri. The goal of the Distrikt is to build a climate-neutral community and create technologies to be applied throughout the city and increase climate change resilience.
A_LU_07 Provision of green infrastructure, parks and open space
Increased green infrastructures, ecosystem recovery, and green public spaces are at the core of The Distrikt’s urban landscape. To recover the local biodiversity, around 10,000 trees will be planted based on the endemic species. The planting works will start followed by an intensive soil recovery procedure. This action will be implemented with the Armenian Tree Project specialists.
In addition, parks and public spaces will be developed throughout the whole area across residential and commercial mixed-zones and accessible in a maximum of a 10-minutes walk. To meet various needs different types of spaces will be available, including playgrounds, informal sitting spaces, dog parks, outdoor dining facilities, and community meeting places.
A_AR_04 Investment in climate change adaptation and resilience measures
As many newly build neighborhoods, The Distrikt as well is incorporating climate change adaptation strategies in the urban design. The application of clean technologies will lead to the goal of becoming carbon neutral in the short and carbon-negative in a long term. However, together with climate change prevention and mitigation actions, an adaptation strategy is developed to increase resilience towards extreme weather, flooding, heatwaves, stress on water resources, draughts, air quality decline.
One of those measures is the construction of passive buildings. These buildings have decentralized energy and heat generation systems and are earthquake and extreme-weather resilient due to the design, the construction materials used and technologies applied.
Permeable concrete that will be used throughout The Distrikt is a great way against flooding. The benefits of permeable concrete are numerous – stormwater runoff reduction, underground water quality improvement, heat-island effect mitigation, traffic noise reduction, and skid resistance improvement.
As soil and water are one of the riskiest resources affected by climate change, a water-recycling-based aquaponics system is a climate-resilient solution for food production supplementing traditional agriculture and aquaculture.
Urban Regeneration and Green Economy
The city with cultural and industrial heritage is for many years relying on the import of goods and the migration of talented people. While many cities in the world are in transition to the green economy, experiencing innovations of sustainable technologies, Gyumri has still many social problems to solve. Initiatives coming from the private sector towards the green economy should fill in this gap and become a showcase for the local enterprises. Therefore, the Distrikt takes The UN SDGs as a framework and puts local targets with the aim to be the sparkle of Gumri’s urban regeneration.
A_IN_01 Gyumri ‘Green Business’ concept
The goal of The Distrikt is to become a carbon-neutral community and avoid using any polluting technology. Thus, application of the sustainable technologies is one of the core objectives. For this purpose, there is a huge research and engineering work behind it. We aim to create a model of how sustainable technologies can be incorporated into different business models and how they can be coupled together to build a whole neighborhood.
Besides The Distrikt itself as a complete Green Business concept, it hosts enterprises that are examples of sustainable entrepreneurship. For instance, IoT-based aquaponics systems for sustainable food; prefabricated green building production as a viable solution for Gyumi’s housing crisis; and 0 waste shop as an example of wasteless production and consumption, to name a few.
In addition to applying them, we aim to share The Distrikt model and technologies for wider use and particularly in Gyumri setting a precedent of the “Green Business” concept in the city.
A_IN_02 Green Business Coordination Platform “Gyumri Green Economy Club”
As an interdisciplinary hotspot of sustainability, creativity, and entrepreneurship, The Distrikt will host several platforms with the coordination and consulting function.
One of those is the SDG Center. The center will provide consultancy to the local enterprises to become more sustainable and include SDG framework in their business models. In addition, the center will be a focal point for the different stakeholders in sustainability such as local NGOs, universities, and state organizations. Yet another core function will be measuring the SDG performance and evaluating specific initiatives.
A_IN_05 Remediation of former industrial sites for urban regeneration
One of the abandoned sites of Gyumri is located in the western part of the city, around 2 km far from the city center. The area occupies 25 ha of space with multiple obsolete buildings constructed around 10 years ago. As the built environment, the surrounding green ecosystem and small lakes are abandoned.
The Distrikt is based on the regeneration of the desolate space converting it to a mixed-use place. The former military campus will become a productive neighborhood, one of the social-economic focal points and iconic parts of the city. It will combine several concepts – eco-industrial park, residential buildings, recreational green zones, public spaces, greenhouses, and commercial units.
While the existing buildings will be recycled for renewal application, new innovative constructions will be installed for various concepts listed above.
In addition, natural regeneration will follow with the “10,000 tree-planting” project and with conservation measures to protect the local ecosystems.