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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Principles of rating the livability of cities look outdated

The criteria by which the government determines the most comfortable city of Russia, look extremely archaic, and the ongoing improvement – “as the good luck of the new Russian”. At least this is according to urbanists, offering very different approaches to the assessment of the quality of the urban environment.

The Ministry of construction and housing and communal services has summed up the results of the first category (administrative centers of constituent entities of Russia) competition “the Most comfortable urban (rural) settlement of Russia” by the end of 2015. The winner is named Stavropol, second place was taken by Ufa and Khabarovsk, and the third – Krasnoyarsk.

“Issues of environmental quality and the issues of improvement not related to the number of boxes, planted cedars and the presence of small architectural forms”

According to the regulations of the competition posted on the government website, and written, as usual, the bird’s bureaucratic language, from which it is difficult to understand anything, municipalities are evaluated on several parameters. Namely, the level of development of housing and communal services and improve livability in the target area. Here are 10 activities, including the sanitary-epidemiological condition of the area, execution of normative legal acts and enforcement of state and municipal programs, transportation, accessibility for people with limited mobility. Also assessed the level of development of public-private partnership, the state of labor protection in the organizations, improvement of energy efficiency in housing, quality of public services and the provision of facilities of life.

However, according to the Dean of the Higher school of urban studies, National research University “Higher school of Economics” Vitaly Stadnikova, the criteria for selection of cities the competition is still questionable.

“Issues of environmental quality and the issues of improvement not related to the number of boxes, planted cedars and the presence of small architectural forms. This is a complex issue, which is now trying to think through the development of standards for residential and other environments. It is important, like the houses as they come to the red lines of the streets. And in this case the first plan falls how the designed environment and not as she cleaned up”, – said the expert newspaper VIEW.

A native of Krasnoyarsk, the author of the blog “City for people” Arkady Gershman adheres to similar opinion. He believes that on the national level there is no understanding of the principles of landscaping. In the first place in that key, for whom it is worth doing.

“Personally, I think we need to create public spaces that people will love to use. We have it is at the level of second half of XX century. An approach like this: to lay asphalt, plant trees, and even better – to put a Playground, and everything will be fine. But if we look at global examples, on the Krymskaya embankment or Gorky Park in Moscow, we understand is the minimum of what is possible in the city to do,” Gershman said the newspaper VIEW.

Gershman critical of his hometown, which became the winner of the contest. The blogger believes that in Krasnoyarsk there is also no understanding of how to develop public space and the level of accomplishment in the capital of winter Universiade of 2019, he said, low.

In turn, the winner of the contest – the city of Stavropol that such was already the second time, Vitaly Stadnikov called really cozy and comfortable. However, commented on the victory of the Stavropol with some irony.

“The type of this improvement is approximately the same as the villas of the new Russian, a his wife. I have the feeling that there’s just acres of vegetation planted, bought in the store. Planted arborvitae trees, some bushes, and God knows what. And it certainly is striking! Everywhere the tile is crumbling and here this beauty (trees – approx. OPINION). So – Bravo!” – summarizes the urbanist.

According to him, so ironic opinion formed after visiting the city in 2015. At the same time nationwide the situation he never called. But he added that due to the insufficient development of civil society in different regions have such rudimentary approaches to urban space. As noted Stadnikov, it can be equally as good and not so good.

The main problem in the improvement of Russian cities is to coordinate movement and operation of the various departments, according to the urban planner.

“You can do my make-up, sweeping the streets and putting the expensive tile. But a sudden relocation network, it negates all. Because one hand usually knows what the other is doing. It is observed in almost all regions. Therefore, the question of coordination between city agencies is extremely important. Needs to have a strategy for planning and criteria for reporting, plus a study of the properties of each city, because everywhere has its own habitat,” – said the expert.

The city for all categories

If you talk about what should be well-maintained modern Russian city, Arkady Gershman believes that first and foremost it needs to be for all categories of people so they could find possibilities for self-realization, away, etc.

“The city should be so to man itself, it found. This can happen in the plan of work, University, entertainment”, – said the speaker.

The same opinion and Vitaly Stadnikov. According to the urbanist, it is important not the content and design of the urban environment.

“Relatively speaking, the neighborhood and the historic center requires a different approach for improvement. By the way, another problem Russian cities – average approach, as in Soviet times, when all were supposed to live in the Khrushchev. Because of this, and it turns out low quality habitat,” said he.

“Of course, it should be comfortable for everyone since there can be a single layer. But you need to know what social groups are prevalent in a particular locality, and have them focus”, – concluded the expert.


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