The Russian Urban System: Evolution Engaged with Transition

  • Clémentine CottineauEmail author
  • Irina Frost
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)


Russian urbanization has been a fascinating process shaped by a unique set of geographical, economic, and political constraints. The settlement pattern and the speed at which urban hierarchies have changed hold the mark of Soviet policies but also that of a gigantic territory endowed with numerous resources. Nowhere in the world had such a rapid industrialization and urban growth been met in the mid-twentieth century. However, since the 1990s, the transition to capitalism and a significant demographic shrinkage once again put Russian cities in a position of unprecedented evolution. In this chapter, we use two databases and a generic set of analytic tools to describe and model this urban evolution and analyze the impact of the transition on Russian cities. We do so quantitatively by looking at factors of growth and shrinkage before and after 1991 and qualitatively by looking at the specific features of cities in the post-Soviet world. We discuss the challenges that Russian cities face with respect to sustainability in the years to come and conclude with a discussion of multiscale governance.


Russia Transition Post-socialism Shrinkage Urban System 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis CASAUniversity College LondonLondonGreat Britain
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institut für LänderkundeLeipzigGermany

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