American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Projects Summaries

Projects Summaries

 

Mythology and Morphology of Urban Rivers in Bishkek

In the context of the environmental crisis and a significant shortage of public spaces in Bishkek, rivers play an immensely important role not only as natural but also as cultural elements in the life of the City. The project aims to open peoples’ eyes to the potential of the river for ecological development, public health improvement, support for social interaction, urban mobility, and aesthetics. The research intends to focus on two different, but complementary aspects of Bishkek rivers: their mythology and morphology. The urban mythology of rivers is about their historical and socio-cultural features: the roles rivers played in the lives of city residents in different periods of Bishkek’s history, how citizens and city agencies perceive and envision the rivers, how rivers are used by people, and how they are depicted in media, films, and literature. The morphology of rivers involves the physical form and shape of the rivers and their physical components: riverbanks, riverside passages, bridges, buildings adjacent to rivers, greenery, and public spaces.  The team will propose examples of design solutions for sections of the rivers that are in disrepair or hazardous.

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 27.11.2020:   Active, Funded by AUCA

Project Leads and contacts: Emil Nasritdinov emilzn@gmail.com 

For More Information: CLICK HERE 

 

Development of a Standardized Tool for Measuring Social Capital in Kyrgyzstan

The World Bank describes social capital as a concept that characterizes how members of the community interact. In communities with a lot of social capital community leaders identify problems and organize the community to find and implement solutions.  Communities with low social capital look to the government to take care of them.  There is the perception that there is little social capital in the neighborhoods of the major cities of Kyrgyzstan. SILK will evaluate existing models for calculating social capital and propose a methodology that is appropriate for measuring social capital in urban communities in Kyrgyzstan. The SILK Social Capital Measurement Methodology will provide community leaders and the research community with a convenient and standardized tool to help design effective community projects. The tool will also be used to measure the success of projects in terms of increasing or decreasing the formation of new social capital as measured before and after an intervention.

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 27.10.2020:   Approved, Funded by Soros

Project Leads and contacts: Seth Fearey fearey_s@auca.kg 

For More Information: CLICK HERE 

 

Measuring Walkability in Bishkek

Researchers will develop a standardized methodology for evaluating walkability and pedestrian mobility in three types of urban spaces in Bishkek: city center, micro-districts, and the low-rise, urban, periphery. The team will test the methodology in selected locales and document the final methodology for the use by others.  The goal of the project is to reveal and highlight problematic areas in order to help prioritize, strategize and accelerate improvements that would make the city more walkable.

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 27.10.2020:   Approved, Funded by Soros

Project Leads and contacts: Emil Nasritdinov emilzn@gmail.com 

For More Information: CLICK HERE  

 

Public Art 

There is a belief that public art in Kyrgyzstan is not about aesthetics but is a medium for political propaganda.  It is likely that there is not enough funding and political will for a strong program, but this needs to be researched.  There are no tools in use to evaluate the effectiveness of public art programs in Central Asia, however, the potential benefit of public art is enormous. It can be a tool for civic engagement, boost local economies, raises public awareness of issues, and create an environment that cultivates a creative class.  Today’s arts community is looking for opportunities to stretch themselves and explore new avenues for self-expression. SILK’s intention is to identify and summarize best practices in public arts management, document the benefits of having public art programs, and propose a model for promoting and managing public art programs in our region. 

 

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 23.02.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Lead: Seth Fearey fearey_s@auca.kg

The Researcher:  Meder Ahmetov,  medermara@mail.ru 

 

 

Industrial zones of Bishkek 

The industrial zones along Lev Tolstoy street form an enormous belt of abandoned, incomplete, and deteriorating factories and structures that stretch across Bishkek city from West to East. SILK will evaluate the zones to understand the current situation, identify existing problems and weaknesses, and look for opportunities to develop better uses for the sites. The research is also being conducted as a part of the Urban Design class at AUCA University, under the guidance of the researcher. After the evaluation and analysis of the current condition of the zones, the students will develop proposals for sustainably redesigning the existing structures to improve their appearance and create economic value for the City.

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 23.02.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Leads: Baiborieva Zhamilia, baiborieva_z@auca.kg 

The Researcher:  Baiborieva Zhamilia

 

 

Urban Poverty 

SILK’s intention is to map urban poverty in the City of Bishkek. SILK’s intention is to identify the communities where low-income people tend to live, to evaluate the state of the area, and interview people there to learn about their opinions of their communities and identify their needs and desires. The goals of the project include establishing a methodology for classifying low-income people according to official economic measures, and for locating where people live in ways that can be updated periodically. SILK wants to study urban poor to understand where they live and the accessibility of the basic resources they use - e.g. grocery stores and shelters.  The goal is to be able to ensure that there is a fair distribution of parks, safe public spaces, and other public resources near where the urban poor live.

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 23.02.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Leads: Emil Nasritdinov emilzn@gmail.com 

The Researcher: Tolgonai Kozhokanova, Talgat Zhumashev

 

 

Overview of Urban Technological tools Available for Researchers

SILK wants to research current trends in innovative technologies that can be used in urban studies and implemented in Kyrgyzstan. Today, with the advent of the Internet of Things, immense databases, prototyping centers, and free or low-cost analytical tools, there is a plethora of new research tools which we believe can affordably facilitate, speed up, and improve the quality of social research. The researcher will create a catalog of tools with brief descriptions of the most promising technologies for Kyrgyzstan and describe how they can be used, their costs, training requirements, and benefits.  

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 23.02.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Leads and contacts: Baiborieva Zhamilia baiborieva_z@auca.kg 

The Researcher:  Altynai Nogoibayeva

 

City Dashboard

New technologies open up a completely new set of approaches and solutions for democratic governance. One of the fundamental tasks, that new technologies can help us to solve, is an increase in government accountability to its citizens.  With the concept of Smart City, especially in the developing world, the two fundamental questions to the concept rise – Smart for whom? The city for whom? The overall idea of technology use for better governance should be based on the principle of co-creation, with the active participation of all stakeholders in the city. But the first challenge one faces is how to develop a holistic understanding of the city pattern, how to assess the decisions made by the city managers, and how to build a constructive dialogue of the city residents, business, and government of the city. Together with Soros Foundation SILK is exploring the possibilities of implementing city governance projects in Bishkek city.

Host Organization: SILK, Soros Fund

Current Status as of 17.03.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Leads and contacts: Seth Fearey, fearey_s@auca.kg, Emil Nasritdinov, nasritdinov_e@auca.kg.

 

 

Evaluating state of schools in Kyrgyzstan with data

With the pandemic and subsequent transfer to online education, a lot of public attention was on the insufficient preparedness of children in rural areas for studying at home, taking into account the lack of computers and smartphones, access to the internet, and household. However, even the schools don’t provide the necessary conditions for proper education which is important now, with children getting back to schools. The project aims to collect all the datasets on this topic, analyze them and produce data-driven stories in different formats and a white paper, to be presented to different audiences including parents and teachers in rural areas, policymakers, and researchers. The media will be published in partnership with local newsrooms.

 

Host Organization: SILK

Current Status as of 17.03.2021:   In progress, Funded by Soros

Project Leads and contacts: Anastasia Valeeva, valeeva_a@auca.kg 

American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
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