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Article

Local Communities in St. Petersburg: Politicisation of Claims to Contested Urban Spaces

Tykanova E., Хохлова А. М.

This paper considers the opportunities of local communities in St. Petersburg, Russia, to claim their right to the city under the conditions of aggressive urban (re)development initiated by strong advocacy groups from 2008 to 2012. It questions whether and to what extent local communities conceptualise their demands to influence decision-making in urban planning and development as ‘political’ and, in doing so, acquire collective identity. It also describes the role of political opportunity structures in such conceptualisation. Its purpose is, ultimately, to determine whether the politicisation of protest initiatives is an effective tool that local communities use to defend their neighbourhoods against outer threats. To tackle various responses of the locals to unwanted urban change, this article focuses on four of ten investigated cases of negotiations and conflicts between advocacy groups with differentiated bargaining power around residential areas subjected to redevelopment, spot construction, demolition, etc.