Biases of interwar city planning heritage 2

Kastytis Rudokas, 2014-08-21
Students’ Square planted with greenery, 1956. Photo by J.Kiškis, from archives of

In brief: Students’ Square in Kaunas is an interesting idea of Kaunas City Municipality approved of by most of the inhabitants most probably. Many hopes were related with the implementation of the project in the Unity Square of Kaunas.

When the author saw trees cut on the lawn of the Soviet times called the Students’ Square, he remembered two things: Paris near Eifel Tower, where citizen had lunch on the lawn, and himself in the first year of studies, when there was no lawn for sitting down and all benches were occupied. Therefore, he anticipated that a lawn would be left in the square. Still, the author was frustrated when he saw workers planting flowers in the entire square.

Where is heritage here? If one visits the website of the Architecture and City Planning Search Centre (, one will find photographs with the captured Unity Square (Students’ Square) as well as the Town Hall Square planted with greenery densely. One could think that the managers of Kaunas know history and continue the set narrative of public space in the city. However, one should not forget that in the interwar period no space was left for the man in public spaces.

Therefore, the author poses a question why the part of the Unity Square called Students’ Square was not given to students but to flowers instead. Most probably the aforementioned photographs did their work.

Finally, the author states that we are often misled by material artefacts of the past. The harmonious development of the city is always defined by the dichotomy of tradition versions novelty. Novelty should be introduced into tradition in time so that it could become tradition in its turn. It would be the logical change of the city organism.

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