The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine forced around 12 million Ukrainians to leave their homes. Of those, 6.5 million people moved to the Western part of the country.* In Ivano-Frankivsk, the remarkable CO-HATY project emerged as a ray of hope for those who had lost their homes due to war.
CO-HATY – BUILDING FUTURES WITH LOVE[edit | edit source]
CO-HATY is a co-housing project for people who became internally displaced during the conflict. The name "CO-HATY" is a combination of the Ukrainian word "HATY" meaning "houses," and "CO" as in co-creation and co-working. Taken together, the Ukrainian word “COHATY” actually means "love" - a fitting name for an initiative that focuses on creating co-housing solutions with care and compassion. The project was launched in March 2022 and is a collaboration between METALAB, an urban laboratory in Ivano-Frankivsk, and members of the independent agency Urban Curators, who relocated from Kyiv. With the support of partners and a dedicated community of volunteers, they set out to renovate buildings and create homes that would provide shelter and dignity for the displaced individuals.
Tolocar <3 CO-HATY[edit | edit source]
The first Tolocar intervention in May 2022 was a collaboration with Metalab and CO-HATY. Together with Tolocar, they embarked on a journey to transform the former Hotel Olga, one of the six buildings of the CO-HATY project.
Hotel Olga had been abandoned for about a decade, and extensive work was needed to transform it into suitable homes for mid/long-term living for internally displaced people. The Tolocar team's contribution was invaluable, as they undertook various tasks such as planning, preparation of drawings, task and workflow management, procurement and transportation of materials, and construction of a woodwork station. As part of their collaboration with CO-HATY, the Tolocar team played a vital role in constructing new furniture, dismantling old plumbing and heating systems, bringing water supply to the dining hall, assessing the state of utility systems, and restoring parquet floors and existing wooden windows. Basic hand tools and woodworking equipment proved to be essential for the successful completion of the renovation.
What made this collaboration truly special was the involvement of 30 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who would eventually have the opportunity to live in Hotel Olga once the project was completed. The entire undertaking served as a community-building activity, fostering a sense of camaraderie among the people involved in the renovation project.
“There are so many amazing people here that we worked with on this project. I think that was a very encouraging experience for all of us.” Kristin Feddersen, Team Lead CADUS
By the end of the four-week Tolocar intervention, the collaborative efforts had resulted in completing 40% of the renovation project. Though further work was needed to bring the project to its full completion, the foundations were laid for a brighter future for those who had been displaced by war.
Beyond the physical renovations, the project's impact reached far beyond the walls of Hotel Olga. The designs of the furniture created during this collaboration could be replicated in similar projects, spreading the idea of sustainable and community-oriented housing solutions for the displaced.
Distributed Design and Manufacturing of Furniture[edit | edit source]
An essential aspect of CO-HATY is the distributed design and manufacturing of furniture, which aligns well with a similar project in Hamburg called Production Next Door. The idea is to design products whose plans are shared with carpenters and can thus be locally produced anywhere in the world. It's about creating supply chains of ideas, rather than supply chains of products. A notable example of this vision is the CO-HATY bed, designed by Tania Pashynska. The bed was created with the specific needs of people living in compact spaces in mind. It is easy to assemble and transport, multifunctional, provides ample storage space, and is accessible for older individuals. The bed is locally produced from regionally sourced materials, making the process sustainable and supporting the local economy.
Outlook[edit | edit source]
The collaboration between CO-HATY and Tolocar exemplifies the power of unity and the shared vision of building a better world. They show that when organizations and individuals come together with love and determination, they can make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by conflict.
MetaLab is a resident of Promprylad.Renovation, an innovation center on the premises of an old plant, which focuses on four areas of regional development: new economy, urban design, contemporary art, and education. Embracing the impact investing model, Promprylad and its residents, including MetaLab, contribute to social changes in the region while receiving dividends as a return on investment. The center is a hub of diverse projects and programs, such as a capacity development initiative for entrepreneurs. The combination of Promprylad’s, MetaLab’s, and Tolocar’s visions sets the stage for a brighter future - one that transcends mere utopian dreams and lays a concrete and practical foundation for their realization.
You can support CO-HATY financially, provide tools and materials, or become a volunteer yourself!
*As of 25 May 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 5.1 million people are still internally displaced within Ukraine.