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Prof. Dr. S.V. Zagraevsky


Problems of historical environment of small and medium-size

Russian towns


Published in Russian: .. . , 2 (32), 2011 .



The following text was translated from the Russian original by the computer program

and has not yet been edited.

So it can be used only for general introduction.






First of all it is necessary to remember the term "historical city". This notion appeared in 1970, when the Ministry of culture of RSFSR approved the list of 115 historical cities and other settlements. In the future this list is constantly expanding, and in 2002 the number of historical urban settlements in the Russian Federation amounted to 478.

Of course, this category%Dhistorical settlement was considered to be an urban or rural settlement, the boundaries of which are the objects of cultural heritage (monuments, ensembles, sites), as well as other archaeological, historical, architectural, aesthetic, scientific or socio-cultural values. On what basis in the list of such settlements entered Saransk, Volgograd, Kemerovo, Grozny or Novokuznetsk - could only guess.

But the list looked quite adequately, and was more than strange, when in July 2010, the Minister of culture of the Russian Federation signed the order 418/339, according to which the list of historical cities of Russia was reduced by more than an order of magnitude. To date, it has only 41 city (Azov, Arzamas, Astrakhan, Belozersk, Veliky Ustyug, Verkhoturye, Vladimir, Volsk, Vyborg, Galich, Gorokhovets, Derbent, Yelabuga, Dace, Yeniseisk, Zaraysk, Irkutsk, Kasimov, Kargopol, Kineshma, Kolomna, Kostroma, nettle, Kyakhta, Ostashkov, ples, Rostov, Saint-Petersburg, Smolensk, Solvychegodsk, Starocherkasskaya, Suzdal, Taganrog, Tomsk, Torzhok, Toropets, Totma, Tutaev, Chistopol, Shuya, Yaroslavl).

Why it did not include such cities as Moscow, Pskov, Novgorod, Nizhniy Novgorod or Pereslavl-Zalessky is a mystery far more mysterious than in the previous list of Saransk or Kemerovo.

And, for example, in the Moscow region before it was 22 cities that had this protected status (Balashikha, Khotkovo, Vereya, Volokolamsk, Dmitrov, Yegoryevsk, Zaraysk, Zvenigorod, Istra, Kashira, Klin, Kolomna, Mozhaysk, Noginsk, ozyory, Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Pavlovsky Posad, Podolsk, Ruza, Sergiev Posad, Serpukhov, Chekhov), and there were only Zaraysk and Kolomna. Why, according to the government Ro%

This situation is very sad, because, according to the legislation, in the historic village of state protection are subject not only monuments of architecture, history and culture, but all the basic town-forming components (planning, construction, composition, natural landscape, archaeological layer, the relation between different urban landscapes, spatial structure, fragmented and ruinous urban heritage and others in order).

But let's hope that this list will eventually be added. The question is how it can help your cities? And, what are the problems with the preservation of the historical environment is not only made to him small and medium-sized cities, but also deposited?

The problem is extremely serious, and roots they go back to the late nineteenth century - the period of the beginning of large-scale industrialization.

In the middle of the XIX century in Russia there was a clear division of city - for the authorities, aristocrats, merchants and relatively small artisans, village - to the peasants. So, the urban residential development was relatively homogeneous and varied only depending on the property status of the residents.

But at the end of the century there was a rapid industrialization, which has primarily affected major cities. In them, the Central core of residential development by that time were already big and developed (especially in the two capitals - Moscow and Saint Petersburg), and plants together with their workers ' settlements were built on the outskirts. However, after the rapid urbanization 1960-80-ies of the pre-revolutionary factory outskirts was almost in the center, and this became a source of serious urban issues (as with AMO, now ZIL Moscow or Putilov, now Kirov factory in St. Petersburg). And if we talk about urban centres at the beginning of the twentieth century, there also appeared a lot of industrial enterprises (such as power plant MOGES-1 in front of the Kremlin). In our time of conclusion of such enterprises from the centre or at least their conversion is a serious problem, particularly intractable in the commercialization and high land prices.

But now we are talking about small and medium towns. Before the revolution they had built much smaller industrial enterprises than in the capitals and large provincial centers, but the Central core of residential development in these cities were smaller, so the plants at once was not far (at least by the standards of those years) suburbs, and almost in the centre.

And when in the 1930s, began a new wave of large-scale industrialization, these plants in urban centres began to grow. (Of course, were built and new). Government and representative functions of small and middle towns not carried, the administrative functions were insignificant (maximum at the district level), and eventually with the historical urban centres, the authorities did not stand on ceremony and turned it into a workers settlement, not to spend money on new construction. Moreover, each time the plant was boiler room that also heated the nearby town homes, which was also beneficial to the municipal governments.

And development of working settlements had much less chances for conservation than the development of administrative areas. So the historical environment of small and medium towns and died. Historic building that could become the monuments of history and culture, there has replaced the cheap standard houses.

About mass demolition in the 1930-ies churches and bell-towers - urban high-rise dominant - and say no. In the end, to the end of Soviet power from the historic centers of most small and medium-sized cities have little left.

There were exceptions, due to the fact that industrialization on some random reason passed some city. For example, the historical environment of Pereslavl-Zalessky survived primarily because merchants Alexandrov paid a lot of money to the railway Moscow-Yaroslavl did bend and passed through their town. Pereslavl thanks to left and from the railway, and from the subsequent industrialization. Similarly, being away from highways and Railways, "preserve" and Suzdal. But these exceptions only confirm the General rule.

In the late 1970's attitude to the historical environment of small and medium towns began to change for the better, during the development of General plans of historical urban settlements are taken into account and the buffer zone of monuments (although not always - for example, in the early 1980s in Kashin was built a big plant near the ancient trading area).




New Russian socio-economic and legal conditions have created a situation in which on the historic cities of threatened with complete loss of their original and unique environment.

Industrial enterprises was disfigured by the centers of cities, turned them in working settlements, disturb the ecology... But until then, the company worked, it was not so bad. Half troubles came when they stopped working. And no factories, no tax revenues to local budgets. Accordingly, no money and support in a more or less decent condition (and even more for restoration), the surviving historical buildings.

And in small and medium towns, which became involuntary hostages of one or more major city-forming enterprises, stop these enterprises causes and social collapse. The population of these cities is constantly diminishing, most of the remaining residents is below the poverty line. In these circumstances the authorities and residents, or not to historical, cultural and architectural heritage, or their efforts to save it become not that desperate, and some hysterical nature.

Very indicative of the situation recently occurred in Vyshny Volochok. The city is in a difficult position, enterprises of "lie", population is steadily decreasing (1989 - 65 thousand, 2002 - 56 thousand, 2010 - 51 thousand). However, in 2010 at the Venice Biennale several leading Russian architectural Bureau presented the ambitious projects of new public and recreational areas in the city. At the presentation in Venice was present even the head of city administration Vyshny Volochek.

But the mismatch of scale design of public buildings, real needs, and even more financial opportunities of the city is so blatant that suggests whether on grasping at the last straw, or about elementary irresponsibility. Indeed, is it possible seriously to believe that the establishment in Vyshny Volochok several major recreation and community centers will be able by itself, solely on the basis of the merits of high-quality modern architecture, bring the city masses of tourists and those to improve the economic and social situation? The authors of the submitted projects (Plotkin, Skuratov, Choban, Yavein and others), yet not so well known in the country and the world, as Gaudi, Le Corbusier or Wright.

And complex reconstruction and restoration of all the historical centre (for example, on this scale, as in his time in Suzdal) projects do not provide. Note that Vyshniy Volochek needs a bypass road, in unloading the roundabout of the highway Moscow-St. Petersburg, on which are built the giant tube of heavy trucks, creating an ecological disaster on a local scale... All this lies outside the sphere of interest of designers.

There is no doubt that these projects in the hypothetical case of their realization (suddenly, for example, to allocate money to the state budget or some of billionaires?) will be very expensive "Potemkin village." We already have a sad example of the kind, not addressing the real needs of the city: "the Ice Palace" ("Skating center of Moscow region in Kolomna. The huge scale, the cost is enormous, and most of the time "Palace" is empty.

There is another problem. Even if the designed building in Vyshny Volochok will be the most organically inserted in the environment, yet in reality it will mean the replacement of large areas usual natural relief (primarily Islands) large modern buildings. Whether there will be in the end, the same catastrophe of the historical environment of the city, which occurred in Kolomna after the construction of the already mentioned "the Ice Palace"?

But because the implementation of these projects for economic and social reasons, it is extremely unlikely, it is likely that we in this case we deal with only a "paper architecture". So to say, the architects "played" and moved on to more pressing tasks. And Vyshny Volochek will stay alone with their problems.

If the city is not only "alive", but relatively "healthy", the main danger for the preservation of historically valuable natural environment is the construction of new buildings and reconstruction of old buildings, including monuments of architecture. Homeowners seeking to increase the useful area of their housing, nastraivaet floors, replace a tree, a brick, building at slid%DSpecial issue - "new Russian" Villa specific architecture for high fences that their influential and wealthy owners manage to place almost at the Central squares of the cities.

Many villas have appeared, for example, in the centre of Dmitrov near Moscow. The destruction of its historical environment began in the mid-twentieth century in connection with the construction of new buildings (including industrial), and these trends are firmly live today. In the city centre is a newly constructed modern building market, the registry office, hotel, bus station, which in architectural style is absolutely alien to the existing urban ensemble. To the 850th anniversary of the city without the coordination with bodies of protection of monuments were carried out works on reconstruction of the square in the buffer zone of the Dmitrov Kremlin, at the foot of the ancient walls, and also found a set of bronze sculptures dubious artistic merit.

In Zvenigorod, a few years ago was given under building brick cottages territory Pereslavsky burial grounds of the IX-XII centuries. This is despite the fact that protection zones were approved and regional and local authorities! And in Zvenigorod the Kremlin ("on the Town") near the assumption Cathedral the newly appeared "replica" - brick Church considerable size.

But construction in Kolomna already mentioned "the Ice Palace"? But several "new Russian" villas on the territory of Kolomna Kremlin? And villas in the centre of Sergiev Posad? And demolition in Noginsk for the construction of a pedestrian bridge through the Klyazma several houses let not monuments, but constituted the characteristic historical buildings? The construction in the same Noginsk "employment Center", and height, and architectural decision sharply dissonant with the historical center environment and blocks the view of the Cathedral? And the destruction of monuments of architecture of XIX century in Volokolamsk?..

But the preservation of the unique historic face of the city - an important factor of education of the so-called "spiritual commitment", the sense of pride in his "small Motherland". It is unlikely that feeling can awaken erected next to the ancient walls of a modern building.




How can you make such good intentions, as the improvement of the city, was not pave the road to hell is loss of monuments of architecture and the destruction of the historic environment?

Most often offered two solutions. First - the provision of historic buildings investors in long-term lease or ownership rights. With the restoration and adequate maintenance of the monument to investors can be granted privileges on a rent or property tax (the more so in accordance with the law on objects of cultural heritage it is possible). And if, for example, the same investor will be restored the next monument, the benefits can be increased.

Generally speaking, private ownership of monuments of architecture, history and culture of compliance with all requirements of the protection regime - a practice common to all civilized countries. But as you know, human greed unlimited, and the security mode is cumbersome: the building will not rebuild and does not reschedule, repair insanely expensive (requires specialized restoration organization), the law obliges periodically to ensure access to the monument of experts, scientists, tourists... besides historical buildings usually have a low level of engineering support, their technical condition and a level of comfort not correspond to modern conditions, most of them have not been repaired for many decades ...

Therefore, to assume and carry this burden makes sense for the owner only in one case: when a bona fide possession of the monument provides honor and respect on the part of the state and society. If the latter are indifferent to the fate of monuments, the desire by the owner, as a rule, one thing: at the first chance to get rid of this burden. But the way of the "deliverance" or the demolition of the monument (even with the payment of fines)or targeted communication to destruction (that is, "not saved"). Then on this place built remake (in the best case a hoax).

A second frequently proposed solution to the problems of historical environment of small and medium towns development of tourism. This one does not argue, and there are well-known positive example in this area - Suzdal. Costs for restoration of monuments, creation of the service sector has paid off there for a few years, revenues enable and maintain monuments and to develop the social sector is%

But the problem is that in the case of tourism, we have a "vicious circle": to tourism has brought the money, we need the regeneration of the historical urban environment, and for its regeneration need money. In the case of Suzdal costs needed is relatively small, because the city is small (11 thousand inhabitants), and historical environment was originally in good condition, and in those timesBut at regeneration, for example, the historical environment Alexandrov, home to 63 thousand people and the necessary conclusion from the city centre of industrial enterprises, the demolition or reconstruction of the many ugly buildings of the Soviet era - will need much more capital and to take them today, out of nowhere. Yes and the prospect of their payback of more than kgs%D

Yes and developed tourism itself is not a panacea. An example is the town itself. Despite the good preservation of the historical environment, convenient access roads (highway, a Marina on the Volga), the opening of new museums, a running program "Munchkin - classical city province and the construction of tourism as a priority policy for urban development, is the city's population over the last decade has decreased from 6.5 thousand to 5.8 thousand, of which almost%

How to solve problems of preservation and regeneration of the historical environment of small and medium towns?

Only in a complex. It is necessary to proceed in two ways.

The first is economic (respectively, and social development. Small and medium-sized towns should gradually, step by step, to develop capacity for sustainable self-development, first of all by enhancing economic opportunities in combination with the Federal and regional policy of selective support of the problem areas.

About necessity of development of tourism we have said. But no less necessary and the revival of local industry, which in the current environment means stricter approach to environmental requirements, and making enterprises presentable appearance. This is especially important if the plant is located in the historical centre, and the output from one reason or another is not possible.

Thus, the administration of Kirzhach could bail out one of the largest textile enterprises of Russia - "Kirjasalo", finding an efficient owner. And, for example, an important part of economic policy of Uglich (in addition to the developed tourism) is to stabilize the situation at the watch plant "Chaika". To save the city authorities did everything possible: provided tax exemptions and deferrals of payments to the budget, allowed to carry out mutual settlements for electricity and heat. And these measures were justified, because the number of the employed at the "Chaika" is about 5 thousand people, and the collapse of this plant would mean the collapse of the social sphere of the city.

Another positive example is the suburban town of Bronnitsy, where the city-forming enterprise is the factory "Electroizolit" - in the Soviet time was focused exclusively on the needs of the military-industrial complex, but in the 1990s with the support of the city administration quickly got rid of the "military" dependency, created a joint venture with the German company "Busing" and successfully produces a wide range of electrical products. Work and other urban facilities. In combination with a high level of tourism (Pokrovsky Kotikov monastery, the Museum-estate "Abramtsevo") all this creates a situation that can be summarized as follows: the city is in a satisfactory condition on all economic, social and cultural indicators.

In parallel with the first way to go second is to improve the mechanisms of action of the legislation on the protection of the historic environment and to form in the society (including via media) intolerant attitude to damage and destruction of monuments of architecture.

New construction in the historic centres of cities should not begin without the master plan of urban development, without appropriate historical and architectural studies, with the obligatory coordination with bodies of protection of monuments.

It will be useful to refer to the experience of developed countries. In addition to the main ways, which we have discussed above, there are several important components of a positive process of preserving unique historical environment of small and medium towns.

In these countries in the process of development of programs of socio-economic development and urban planning projects involved not only the city, but also representatives of large corporations, small and medium business, social structures. Constantly improving the skills of all participants in the process of designing and implementing paragraph is%

It is important to note that the West has a very developed horizontal contacts between small and medium cities. It concerns the development of town-planning projects and social-economic programs, and revival of cultural traditions, and tourism development, and environmental issues, and problems of an accomplishment.

In this regard, it is appropriate to recall adopted in the USSR and in the world the tradition of "sister cities". We, in most cases, she gone with the Soviets or remained only on paper, but in the developed Western countries it is very strong and plays a significant role. Each municipality is proud of having such a "sister" and maintains a constant dialogue with them.

Considering the experience of the most developed countries of the world, where with the widespread introduction of information technologies and the presentation of increasingly strict environmental requirements to quality of life urbanization is gradually replaced by desurbanization, we can conclude that the future economic and socio-cultural life of Russia - not for metropolises and small and medium cities. And the preservation of their distinctive historical environment is one of the primary tasks of the state and society.


Sergey Zagraevsky

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