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Article

Вниз по лестнице, ведущей вверх: локальные сообщества и преодоление муниципального кризиса

Against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis of local government in Russia, caused, among other things, by legislative changes in recent years, the question of preserving self-governing institutions, including the ones within cities, has become quite acute. Factors such as extending the spatial limits of local government to sometimes very extensive boundaries of urban districts, the distancing of city power from the population, the use of territorial administration tools to solve local problems at the city level without taking into account the views of residents of inner urban districts and settlements do not only put under attack the values of local government as an institution of democracy, but also adversely affect the development of cities as complex territorial and social structures. The author of the article maintains that the answer to the arising difficulties could lie in the formalization of local communities as subjects of municipal administration in certain territories within city boundaries. The article, with due regard for the differences in the models of local government in Russia and foreign countries, discusses theoretical approaches to the concept of local communities and describes approaches to the establishment ofspatial limits for their functioning. The author notes that the identification and institutionalization of local communities requires a comprehensive work to account for both socio-geographical and functional factors that determine community genesis. In this sense, a promising method would be in compilation of mental maps of local residents' areas of communication within submunicipal territories. The article also makes recommendations regarding the organizational and functional foundations of the institution proposed for implementation. According to the author, the institution of local communities has a different nature and specificity, as compared to the institution of territorial public self-government that already functions in Russia. Accordingly, the competence component of the legal status of local communities should also be broader - including the mandatory participation of local communities in solving a number of common municipal issues affecting the development of the respective territories, as well as exercising a control function in relation to local issues.