The political economy of place at the post-socialist urban periphery: governing growth on the edge of Moscow
What economic and policy conditions and power relations govern the transformation of the metropolitan periphery in post-socialist nations and to what extent do these converge on those observed in similar locations in the United States and Western Europe? Drawing on original empirical research conducted on location, we consider the case of the rapidly growing city of Khimki at the edge of Moscow in order to expose the post-Soviet variety of the political economy of place on the metropolitan periphery. We analyse both a broader institutional context of post-socialist urbanisation (ideology of transition, Soviet legacy, urban planning, relationships between stakeholders) and more specific aspects of local growth and placemaking in Khimki. Superficially, recent development in Khimki includes elements that resemble those apparent in edge cities in the liberal market economies and even appear to be promoted by a post-socialist variety of growth machine politics. On closer inspection, however, the post-socialist local growth regime operates as specific political-bureaucratic processes that question the relevance of the Western understanding of place-centred coalitions as the key elements of a political economy of place. Accumulation strategies in the post-socialist case are found to be less cartelised and localised than in the West and seen to be largely decoupled from any collective placemaking or growth agendas. We argue for the need to de-emphasise the word ‘place’ and to accentuate the word ‘political’ in notions of a political economy of place when speaking of the post-socialist metropolitan periphery.