Astrakhan Region awaits comprehensive changes

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Posted on: December 30th, 2020

Astrakhan Region awaits comprehensive changes

Announcement / News

In December, by order of Astrakhan Region Governor Igor Babushkin, a large-scale project was launched. It should result in a comprehensive re-boot of the region’s capital, one of the centres of the Caspian Sea.

In the summer, the governor for the first time announced a large-scale project to transform Astrakhan through preparation of a comprehensive strategic document – the master plan for the agglomeration.  The governor put forward the proposal on the necessity of this document at the Urban Planning Council, which has resumed its work. During discussion of current issues with the expert community, Igor Babushkin raised the importance of preserving the unique historical environment of Astrakhan and the formation of an integrated approach in solving the problems of the region: the nature of urban development, transport problems, improving housing and communal services, and improvement of public spaces. “Our goal is to move from the development of individual objects to the integrated planning of territories. At the same time, we will be able to use the best Russian and foreign practices for development of the region,” said the head of the region at the time.

For several months, the region has been collecting baseline data, and forming re-sources for effective interaction with citizens on issues of urban planning, architecture and urban environment development (in November, the digital “We are Astrakhanites” platform was launched). All this helped start the process already this year, which should bring the city to the level of leading regions of the country.

A Master Plan is globally accepted as the most effective strategic planning tool. It determines the priorities for the development of a territory, takes into account existing socio-economic factors as well as the tasks of spatial development and offers mechanisms to achieve the goals set. Explaining his decision to create the plan, Governor Igor Babushkin pointed out that Astrakhan not only has a glorious past and a unique historical heritage, but also has plenty of resources. All this will allow it to become a region that sets the vector of development for other cities.

The head decided not to postpone development of the project until 2021. An analytical study was launched at the beginning of December. Based on the data collected and tools of interaction between the authorities and the public, it should assess the potential for the development of the Astrakhan agglomeration and propose scenarios for the region’s development.

The study will be of a practical nature. Experts will analyse the socio-economic situation and main directions of development of the Astrakhan city, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the prerequisites for the development of the Astrakhan agglomeration, identifying the key areas of the territory, and propose the most effective development scenarios, taking into account its resource supply and areas of economic specialization. It is important that there are plans to get both federal experts and the local community actively involved in making major changes in the region. Agency for Strategic Development CENTER will work on the study. The company’ portfolio includes several dozen urban studies and major international professional competitions.

It is planned that the study will be complete in March 2021. Its results will form the basis of the objective for the open international competition for the master plan of the Astrakhan agglomeration, which is also due to start in March. Top Russian and international companies specializing in the integrated development of territories and urban planning, architecture, design, economics and financial modelling will be invited to participate. The expert jury will act as guarantors of quality and compliance with all procedures. It will consist of Russian and international experts in the field of urban planning, territory development, and historical heritage preservation. The competition will be held in two stages and will end in July 2021 with the announcement of the winner, who will then be able to participate in implementation of the master plan with the region and the city.

Astrakhan Region is a centre of the Caspian Sea, which is a multinational and multi-confessional region. The region is home to almost 900 cultural heritage sites, 600 of which are located in the capital. Thanks to this, in 2010 the city was awarded the status of a historical settlement of federal importance. According to the Urban Environment Quality Index developed by the Russian Ministry of Construction jointly with the DOM.RF Foundation, Astrakhan entered the list of cities with a comfortable environment, with 181 points out of 360. The results of the study carried out by the Foundation for Civil Society Development (FCSD) showed that Astrakhan was among the top five most efficient regions of Russia in terms of the ratio of budget expenditure on administration and procurement to GDP. The city ranked fourth, behind only Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Republic of Tatarstan.

Monocentric is an urban agglomeration on the territory of Astrakhan Region. The core of the agglomeration is the city of Astrakhan. The agglomeration includes Ikryaninsky, Narimanovsky, Krasnoyarsky, Volodarsky, and Kamyzyaksky districts. The total area of the territory is 20,890 square kilometers. The population of Astrakhan urban agglom-eration is 635,000.

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