- ‘Situating’ Western Planning Ideas Within the Post-Soviet Realities. The Case Study of Perm, Russia   click here to open paper content1427 kb
by    Starodubtseva, Ekaterina | ekaterina.starodubzeva@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The case study describes an unprecedented effort of transferring Western
planning expertise to Russia through the work of foreign consultants and
illustrates the clash between the latest European planning trends and the
Soviet-style planning culture.
Once widespread and influential, Soviet urban planning techniques and
models, created for entirely different social and economic conditions, have
long lost their relevance. While the Russian planning system is undergoing a slow recovery process, many cities continue to be in terrible state. If the Russian planning school is to ‘catch up’ with the leading European planning schools quickly and relatively easily, borrowing from the outside may become a natural solution, providing useful guidance without ‘re-inventing the wheel’.
However, the important question is whether Western planning techniques and
concepts are compatible with the current practice of planning in Russia,
which still retains the features of the Soviet model of urban planning and
development. The paper describes the recent attempt to apply Western
planning ideas to Perm, a city in the North-East of Russia with one million inhabitants, through the work of Dutch planning consultants.
The study draws on primary data from interviews with representatives of Perm local authorities and local planners and allows an opportunity to observe the clash between the latest European planning trends and the out-dated practices inherited from the Soviet Union. Various aspects of the latter include planning methods and regulations of Soviet origin, which are still in use among indigenous planners, and the inertia of thinking of post-Soviet professionals; a weak participatory tradition and overall apathetic attitude of the general public towards planning initiatives.
The case study demonstrates that before any changes can be seen in the
urban environment, changes should occur in thinking of politicians,
planners and even ordinary community.

post-Soviet, planning culture, transferability of planning experience
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