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Regular version of the site

Institute at RSA Annual Conference 2016, Graz, Austria

Deputy director Evgenij Pliseckij took part in the Annual Conference 2016 "Building Bridges: Cities and Regions in a Transnational World" (3rd - 6th April) with the report "Sustainable infrastructure development model for Russian cities".

Sustainable Infrastructure Development Model for Russian Cities

By Irina Ilina (NRU HSE), Evgenij Pliseckij (NRU HSE), Carol Leonard (NRU HSE)

Urban infrastructure is a driver of regional growth (EY, 2014). Pro-cyclically, it stimulates real estate development and services. High quality infrastructure can attract new sources of demand, high skilled labor, and entertainment complexes, and it can encourage improved quality of educational institutions.  The prominence of infrastructure in investment attractivness has made it a key strategic objective of regional governance in Europe, North America and Asia ((de Goei B. Et al., 2010; Martinus, 2012; Graham, 1999; HABITAT, 2015; KPMG, 2012; Hoornbeek et al., 2009; Beneš, 2006; Burger et al, 2013; EU, 2008). Although there is a considerable literature on the importance of infrastructure investment for growth in the EU, there is less on the Russian Federation: this paper addresses the role of infrastructure in investment and sustainable outcomes in the regions of the Russian Federation.

There is a rich literature on the definition of public goods (Roehrich, 2014; Caldwell, 2012, Productivity Commission, 2014; Тачалова, 2009; OECD, 2013) To this can be added more specific treatments of infrastructure, which contribute to categorization of public goods important in attracting investment to regions (Musgrave, 1939, 1983; Stiglitz, 1997; Iakobson, 1996) and to the urban economy (Burak et al., 2009; Il’ina, 2013; Glazychev, 1982, 2008). This paper contributes to that literature by assessing the role of public goods investment in urban transport, utilities, engineering, social infrastructure. The European model begins by using models of future urban development for a comfortable living environment that affect the direction of the development of social infrastructure. These include: 24-hour business activity; rational energy consumption, enhancement of public spaces, shifts in consumer culture toward multifunctional use objects, and new quality housing standards. The Russian model is constrained by a lag in development, produced by legacies of Soviet regime infrastructure.


The approach in this paper is an economic analysis of statistical indicators of the development of urban infrastructure for 1097 cities in the Russian Federation, 2000-2014. The data were compiled from interviews with exports in urban development and officials in city government, interviewed in January and February 2015, for official documents, strategies for the development of Russian cities.

The assumption is that there are systematic trends in the challenges to Russian urban infrastructure investment in the Russian Federation. Two factors may be most responsible for the trends: Soviet-era planning of urban development and current administrative divisions, which place cities in a hierarchy of socio-economic space.  However, there are also procedural obstacles for urban infrastructure planning that relate to routines currently in place (a mix of Soviet and post-Soviet procedures): budget constraints on local governments which are responsible for some elements of infrastructure; lack of arrangements to foster relations with business that might help investment.

The main obstacles to the improvement of public infrastructure are: the absence of clearly defined and established mechanisms for the development of such infrastructure; budget constraints of local budgets, under the responsibility of which are elements of the infrastructure itself; lack of interest on the part of businesses to invest in infrastructure development of the Russian cities.

More specifically, some problems in improving public infrastructure, typical for Russian cities, include: deterioration of public utilities (according to the study of the Russian Union of engineers in 164 Russian cities the average deterioration is 70 percent per annum), electricity shortages, loss of heat and water during transport, low quality environmental infrastructure, accelerated dilapidation of buildings, dilapidated housing (for example, the share of dilapidated housing in Kysyl-Syr in Yakutia is 92 percent; in Babaevo in Vologda, 41 percent, in  Salekhard in Yanalo Nenetsk, 15 percent, i Arkhangelsk, capital of Arkhangelsk region, 7 percent).  There are also problems with rapid growth of car ownership producing traffic jams, inadequate social infrastructure, for example, accessibility of preschool education.

In this paper we include a design for future research to model urban planning for infrastructure development: an inertial model, a centralized innovation model, a decentralized innovation model, and an integrated innovation model.



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