The online talk “This is Where We’ll Live. Square Meters of the Future” was held at 6 p.m. on October 12.
Almost 80% of housing in Russia is in neighborhoods designed in the USSR for people to live in under socialism and a centrally-planned economy. That lifestyle is gone, and now completely different people are forced to inhabit an environment ill-suited to their notion of comfort. The Ministry of Construction has even launched a feasibility study to explore possible changes to housing design concepts and metrics in order to bring housing designs up to date and anticipate the needs of generations to come. On the other hand, according to some surveys, new Russian housing developments -- predicted by some to eventually degenerate into ghettos -- are perceived favorably by their residents as comfortable urban habitats.
At the talk, we discussed the metrics and factors to be considered when designing and developing an urban environment conducive to positively influencing the everyday well-being of residents, as well as ongoing research in this field.
- Yekaterina Maleyeva, Director of Projects, Strelka KB. An Urban Development graduate of St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Yekaterina has pursued a career combining design of architectural and urban development projects with consulting services. She has organized international architectural competitions, worked on neighborhood development concepts, and designed housing and site planning projects. Since joining the Strelka KB team in 2014, Yekaterina has contributed to such projects as “Historic Towns of Moscow Oblast: Conservation and Development”, “The Strategic Master Plan – a Tool for Managing the Future”, and “Architectural Policy as a Driver of Urban Growth”. She oversaw the design of the Street and Public Space Improvement Standards for the City of Moscow, as well as End-to-End Neighborhood Redevelopment Standards.
“Russian cities may all look different to us, but when you look closer, the bulk of their housing falls into one of five categories, each type having specific spatial parameters. The daily lives of people are different in these different living environments. Would it be possible to regulate the quality of life by tweaking the development parameters? And which parameters are the ones to be tweaked? We have tried to answer these questions in our research.”
- Karl Samuelsson is a doctoral candidate at Gävle University, Sweden, currently studying how the urban environment impacts the well-being of urban dwellers and how to engage communities for the betterment of urban spaces. Karl’s research integrates urban geography, environmental psychology, and sustainable development. Using an approach based on collective data collection and spatial and statistical analysis, he seeks to understand urban environments’ impact on city dwellers’ daily life and their subjective experience of well-being. In his presentation, Samuelsson shared the findings of three surveys conducted in Stockholm before and during the pandemic. The findings of these surveys aided in formulating three recommendations on how to adapt the urban environment so as to avoid a negative impact on the personal experiences of residents.
- Lyubov Chernysheva is an urban sociologist, graduate of the European University in St. Petersburg, and doctoral candidate at the University of Amsterdam. She is a researcher at the Center for Independent Social Research (St. Petersburg) and the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her research focus covers mass-market housing, relations between neighbors, and conflicts over urban space. Lyubov has contributed to a number of applied interdisciplinary projects on the Open Urban Lab (O.L.G.) expert platform and conducted research for a number of participatory design projects. She was the science editor of the Russian translations of several books on urban studies.
“My colleagues and I have conducted research in one of St. Petersburg’s typical new residential neighborhoods -- Severnaya Dolina in Parnas. Our aim was to find out what the residents of these new buildings have to say about the quality of life there, as opposed from what pundits might say, as they often tend to criticize or even stigmatize new housing developments. We wanted to know why people chose to buy or rent housing in these neighborhoods, what they like about this housing, what they consider its biggest downsides, and how they deal with the problems and challenges that come up. We identified (self-)management as a topic overlooked by the expert rankings and estimates, even though (self-)management is a critical aspect of urban sustainability and well-being in large residential neighborhoods. I will explain how housing (self-)management ties in with what a new neighborhood’s residents think about the quality of their living environment.”
The event’s moderator, Vera Reichet, is advisor to the President of Manege Central Exhibition Hall on educational matters.
You can watch this talk on our YouTube-channel.
Event Partner – Strelka KB.