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Regular version of the site

Article

Local debates on 'global' planning concepts: The compact European city model in postsocialist Russia - The case of Perm'

Europa Regional, Germany. 2015. Vol. 22. No. 1-2. P. 39-52.

Although urban planning and design presents a discipline that is strongly influenced by international and interurban exchange, urban landscapes are far from globally convergent but instead reveal local characteristics and new forms of disparity. In the field of urban planning and design, the concept of the ‘compact European city’ replaced the paradigm of functionalist modernism. Although it has been contested too, the concept reached a hegemonic status in Central and Western Europe. The aim of this paper is to trace how the ‘compact European city’ model is travelling to Russia. Based on the case of Perm it will be demonstrated that the concept is presented as a counter-model to Soviet and post-Soviet urbanism. Furthermore, it is promoted as a product for transforming Russian conurbations into prospering, international, ‘European’ cities. Local actors, structures and urban legacies acted as an (allowing, transforming, hindering or resisting) infrastructure for the model, which in the case of Perm finally led to the failure of the strategy. The paper applies two bodies of literature, which involve research on the global transfer of urban concepts on the one hand, and studies on post-socialist cities conceptualizing the role of (urban) legacies in the on-going transition on the other hand.