Thoughts about the Future of Russian Cities: Evidence from Ekaterinburg
With the beginning of the development of spatial strategies in Russian cities, discussions on the choice of the future trajectory broke out with renewed vigor. We build our reasoning on the example of Yekaterinburg, a large Russian industrial center with a rich history. Many specialists from various fields and just the citizens took part in the public discussions of the Yekaterinburg spatial strategy. In addition, much of the discussion was concentrated on existing or prospective buildings, roads, highways. Therefore, the discussion deviated to some extent from the key point- 'How do you see the city of the future?'
The strategic models of industrial city or logistics center are still very popular in Russia. In our opinion, the achievement of the goals of the 21st century requires fundamentally new approaches based on the knowledge generation and development of human capital. Therefore, the future of Ekaterinburg is seen as a global knowledge city, which is based on the concepts of global city and knowledge city. The latter, in turn, is an integral part of the broader theoretical frameworks of the knowledge economy and knowledge-based society. This research area is rapidly developing causing sharp discussions. At the same time, Russian cities face very serious challenges. The federal subordination of higher education institutions and scientific organizations turns them into "foreign bodies" in the regional and municipal environment; the wave of optimization of regional universities and branches of the Russian Academy of Sciences threatens to kill regional scientific identity, local scientific schools. Science concentrated in the capital cities simply cannot meet the needs of such a huge country like Russia.
The aim of our work is not the development of a final model of prospective urban development, but only defining of a certain theoretical and methodological foundation that will be used in future research. This research should answer the main question - 'How can we create regional science-driven cities with a high level and accessibility of culture and science?'