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Book chapter

Post-socialist as palimpsestic: Embracing the multiplicity of places by means of cultural & regional geography, space semiotics & place branding

P. 178-178.

The contemporary urban space is stressed to be complex, heterogeneous, multifaceted, interrelated. This vision of the new space constitution revives the idea of a palimpsest, as the latest embraces that very endless multiplicity co-existing in one & the same (totally urbanized) region. Lived / real-and-imagined urban regions are regarded as palimpsests with everyday practices seen as processes of (re)construction of new layers.

The palimpsestic idea of multiplicity of layers is especially useful in the Post-Socialist cities, as they are produced and reproduced through opposing, exaggerated, outdated or imposed imageries, and the meaning of Post-Socialism itself is multi-layered. Scholars studying the Post-Socialist landscape transformation focus on a certain value change creating that multiplicity.

The purpose of the paper is to present a theoretical framework of place as palimpsest combining the concepts of cultural geography (place as symbolically constructed), critical geography (thirdspace as lived space), regional geography and mythologies’ theory (constructing a place narrative), space semiotics (realizing the connections between those narratives) and place branding (the connection of brand identifiers to place identity) as embracing the complex multiplicity of Post-Socialist cities under the conditions of Post-Urbanity.

The methodological interconnections are used for a series of case-studies of outstanding places surrounding Moscow (Russia), from the search of the unique features of Yasenevo standardized residential district of the Soviet modernism of the late 1970s to the possible exopolis of Skolkovo Innovation Centre.

*The publication was prepared within the framework of the Academic Fund Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2019 (grant 19-04-052) and by the Russian Academic Excellence Project “5-100”.