Conference: 57th ISOCARP World Planning Congress “Planning Unlocked: New Times, Better Places, Stronger Communities” 8-11 November 2021 | Doha, Qatar website
Place and date: Doha, Qatar, 08. - 11. November 2021
Authors: Boyko Dmitry
After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, spatial planning at the regional level instantly turned from a specific area of practice-oriented knowledge into an anachronism, unsuitable in the new economic conditions. The initial socio-psychological orientation to the implementation of reforms to weaken government interference in the economy gained popularity, as a result of which the previously existing rules and regional plans developed according to them turned out to be unsuitable. The rethinking of their role in the new conditions was hampered by practical, scientific and educational traditions that developed in the USSR, isolated from global examples and based on their own vision of the goals and objectives of regional spatial planning.
The return to regional planning is currently taking place in response to emerging challenges, interpreted within the framework of the scientific schools that have developed in the Soviet Union, first of all, “geographical” and “regional economic”. One of these challenges, widespread in the urban regions of Russia in recent years, has become the observed examples of uncontrolled urban growth due to the development of agricultural, forest and natural lands on their outskirts. The “geographic” school in the Soviet regional planning (‘rayonnaya planirovka’) proceeds from the solution of the problems of the optimal location of production centers, and therefore traditionally presents the territory of the city as an agglomeration. The “regional economic” school is focused on the tasks of ensuring the economic development of the region, which also presupposes an undeniably positive assessment of the impact of the agglomeration effect on the spatial development of the city. In this regard, in Russia in the current conditions, spatial planning on a scale larger than the city is considered exclusively from the standpoint of strategic planning of the socio-economic development of the agglomeration. Such optics of analysis, assessment and planning of urban growth does not take into account the criteria of sustainability and resilience of the urban form, the influence of the spatial organization and transport system of the city on climate change, and ensuring the preservation of natural landscapes and biodiversity. It also does not take into account the possible decline in the population as an objective circumstance for many Russian cities.
In order to overcome the identified limitations, taking into account the urgency of the problem of urban sprawl in Russia, we have proposed a set of systemic changes to expand the content and clarify the procedure for implementing regional plans. The proposed changes are considered on the example of the urban region of Nizhny Novgorod, which has signs of the most intensive sprawl among the million-plus cities in Russia. The key proposal is to strengthen the logical link between the regional plan and the planned land use in the periphery of a large city, which found expression in our experimental regional plan. To study the possible consequences of the proposed reform of regional planning, interviews with experts were conducted, from which conclusions were drawn about the advisability of strengthening regional planning to counter urban sprawl in Russia.