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CLARIN

Eternal Urban Design Debate: Should Public Squares Be Green Or Dry?

The Latin world loves its city public spaces, and their evolving aesthetics can often lead to heated arguments that go beyond simple matters of urban planning.

Sunbathing in a Buenos Aires' park
Sunbathing in a Buenos Aires' park
Berto González Montaner

BUENOS AIRES – One day my mother, a botanical science professor and plant lover, became fed up and tiled over the patio, leaving just two pots around the edges.

In those days the only thing my friends and I cared about was playing soccer, sure to drag mud inside every time we came in for a glass of water. I can still hear the sound of the ring on my mother's finger tapping against the kitchen window: Boys.. the plants! She was trying to save what was left of them. We would have preferred she focused her attention on installing a fence around the yard to stop the ball flying onto neighbors' property.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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