The life and afterlife of Soviet planning: (Post)industrial urbanism, built environments, and geographic politics

Conference: British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES 2023), University of Glasgow, 31 March–02 April 2023

Organizers: Victoria Donovan (University of St Andrews), Eglė Rindzevičiūtė (Kingston University London), Irina Redkina (University of Hamburg), Victoria Fomina (University of St Andrews)

In this paper we aimed to rethink the past and the present of Soviet urban space by exploring the everyday lives and experiences of inhabitants as well as public representations of modernist architectural projects and industries in the USSR and beyond. We address a broad range of questions, including:

What are the differences and similarities in the trajectories of post-Soviet planned cities or neighbourhoods? How are these dynamics affected by geographical and national context, proximity to regional metropolitan centers, and/or the nature of key industries?

What are the peculiarities of myth- and identity-making in Soviet-era planned cities?

How do local residents and tourists engage with industrial heritage and the ruins of shut-down factories or depopulated apartment blocks?

How do people resist the economic and symbolic devaluation of their hometowns? And what visions of future development do they seek to articulate?

Image © British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.
Image © British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.

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