The experience of Estonian housing associations helps three municipalities in Ukraine plan the future


The local governments of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr in Ukraine are planning to restore and modernize multi-story buildings that were destroyed in the war or are energy inefficient, supported by the experience and innovative technologies of Estonian apartment associations. “The cooperation program “Towards Ukraine’s Residential Reconstruction: A Capacity-Building and Cooperation Programme for Housing Recovery in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr“ gives us a good opportunity to support our long-term cooperation partners in Ukraine. Estonia’s innovative experience in renovating houses, for example, reconstruction with prefabricated panels in a factory,  could be useful there. Also, the modern reconstructed building is more energy efficient, which is very important from the point of view of Ukraine’s energy security,” explained Andres Jaadla, the leader of the project, chairman of the board of the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations.

From May 2023 to October 2024, the project “Towards Ukraine’s Residential Reconstruction: A Capacity-Building and Cooperation Programme for Housing Recovery in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr“ will support the reconstruction of war-torn residential areas in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr, helping to prepare for financing the reconstruction and management of apartment buildings. initial tasks necessary for the development of the apartment building management model. As a result of the activities, at least two descriptions of the apartment building renovation process and the development of joint activities in the housing sector will be completed in each project area, the development of which has taken into account the Estonian experience in the reconstruction of apartment buildings and the model of Estonian apartment associations in organizing the joint management of apartment buildings.

“Estonia’s experience is extremely important to us. The housing policy implemented in Estonia, years of experience in the reconstruction of Soviet-era houses and the operation of apartment associations give us the opportunity to develop a sustainable Ukrainian housing policy,” emphasized Serhii Komnatnyi, honorary chairman of the Ukrainian housing organization Housing Ukraine.

In the Kharkiv region, almost 10,000 residential buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed as a result of Russian aggression. In 2024, city leaders have confirmed that the issue of housing restoration is a priority for Kharkiv. In total, about 160 buildings are planned to be reconstructed – to restore damaged structures, repair facades, roofs and modernize insulation, etc. Since the residential buildings of the region consist largely of 5-16-story apartment buildings, two five-story apartment buildings with a standard design, built between 1950 and 1990, were chosen for the project. “Participating in the project allows us to use the experience of Estonian architects and apartment associations in implementing new technologies when reconstructing houses and building new houses,” said project experts Larysa Zaikina and Kostiantyn Krytskyi from Harkiv.

In Mykolaiv, 1,100 residential buildings have been damaged in the war, and the restoration of housing is a priority here as well. The model buildings of the project will be five- and nine-story apartment buildings. “We made the choice with the local standard building in mind in order to get the maximum benefit from the project,” explained city architect Yevhen Poliakov.

In Zhytomyr, two five-story residential buildings were chosen as model houses for the project – a panel house built in 1964 and a brick house built in 1969. “Property management is also important, which forms of management to use and how to involve residents in it,” explained project expert Olha Bronstein in Zhytomyr.

The building renovation project descriptions prepared in the cooperation program allow Ukrainian municipalities to turn to donors for the necessary support in order to start reconstruction works immediately after the end of hostilities. As activities, a study program for housing experts related to the construction of three project areas will be carried out, including a study week in Estonia, and the activities of Ukrainian experts will be supported with Estonian and UNECE know-how. The direct beneficiaries of the project are the regions and residents of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr. The project partner is Housing Ukraine and the project cooperates with UNECE projects in the same regions. The project is supported by the Estonian Center for International Development (ESTDEV), a government foundation that manages and implements Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects.

BACKGROUND: The Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) was founded on April 17, 1996 in the city of Rakvere. The organization represents and protects the interests of apartment associations and building cooperatives at the national and local level. Today, more than 1,400 apartment associations across Estonia belong to EKYL. EKYL is a member of Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, associated member of Housing Nordic, and UNECE Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Housing in Estonia. The union is also a partner in the BuildEST project, which brings together the knowledge and experience of various stakeholders for the reconstruction of the housing stock in Estonia.


Spokesperson: Andres Jaadla,
Project manager: Anu Sarnet,