Socio-ecological challenges to Russian megalopolises

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Chief researcher
Affiliation: Institute of sociology Russian academy of sciences
Address: 117218, Krzhizhanovskogo str., 24/35, bld. 5, office 524, Moscow, Russia
Journal nameObshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost
EditionIssue 1

Drawing on Russian and western scientific literature, on participation in a set of international and national projects, and on his personal experience as an architect and city planner, the author has organized his argument in ten theses. First, in the run of theory and practice of urban planning the notion of ‘ecological’ has evolved. Second, recently Russian megalopolises are included in a local-global context. Therefore, the notion of ‘ecological’ means for city dwellers not only favorable living conditions but relatively safe living milieu. Thirdly, Russian megalopolises are subjected to laws of modern capitalist economy with its crises and twists. Fourthly, the current local-global context is not favorable for the implementation of any long-term pro-ecological measures. Russia is on the eve of the ‘jump’ from industrial epoch into a digital one plus sanctions, unfavorable invest climate, and so on. As the recent discussion on the ‘renovation project’ in Moscow showed, a civic activity in it is forcefully regulated. Fifthly, today, a tempo-rhythms of urban life is far ahead the existed norms and regulations created by social institutions. Therefore, a practice of functioning and development of Russian megalopolises should be a starting point of their research. Sixthly, their functioning has a double, territorially-based and network-based structure. Seventhly, for the reason of shifting of struggle of stakeholders into virtual sphere the changes in socio-ecological structure will be slightly seen, but an overall instability of it will grow. Eighthly, since Moscow and Kazan’ are the state and republican centers their ecological politics will be developed by their power structures, whereas grassroots activity of urban residents will be restricted by local issues. Ninthly, but the domination of power-property tandem is not excluded the grassroots efforts in bettering their living space. Tenthly, an achievement of the EU green standards in Russian megalopolises may by mainly realized by mobilization means. For example, by the strengthening of federal and republican laws, by taking ‘temporal measures’ aimed at regulation of civic activity as well as by the strengthening the struggle with corruption, by means of raising taxes for public utilities, alcohol, etc.

Keywordscapitalism, civic activism, digitalization, environmental politics, ‘green standards,’ globalization, megalopolis, networks, power, territory
Publication date29.01.2018
Number of characters2387
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