We are pleased to announce the launch of our new series of social media publications: "Residents' Stories," a part of the subproject “Institutional Practices.”


For the past three years, we have dedicated ourselves to studying various neighborhoods in six Russian cities across two regions. Our case studies span pre-revolutionary historic quarters, where every fifth house is a protected heritage site, and typical microdistricts from the Khrushchev and Brezhnev periods, which are emblematic of Soviet urban development.


Our research focuses on two regions: Rostovskaya oblast in Southern Russia and Sverdlovskaya oblast in the Urals. We selected cities based on two extremes: large cities with over one million inhabitants ('millionniki'), which house 33% of the Russian urban population, and small cities with up to 50,000 residents, which make up 71% of Russian cities (795 out of 1116). Additionally, we included mid-sized cities ('Bol’shoy gorod') with 100,000-250,000 inhabitants.


We explored six different cities:

  • Two large growing cities, regional capitals: Rostov-on-Don (1,135,968 inhabitants) and Yekaterinburg (1,539,371 inhabitants).
  • Two secondary big shrinking cities: Taganrog (242,327 inhabitants) and Kamensk-Ural’sky (162,177 inhabitants).
  • Two small shrinking cities: Zernograd (23,608 inhabitants) and Sysert’ (20,436 inhabitants). 

In this series, our focus is not on the buildings and monuments but on the residents who inhabit these diverse, or sometimes very similar, homes. From June 2023 to March 2024, we conducted 121 interviews to hear and share these residents' stories.


Our interviewees come from 20 different residential areas, varying in housing typology, period of construction, architectural styles, morphology, building materials, physical condition, infrastructure, and methods of managing the housing stock. The participants included 81 women (67%) and 40 men (33%), with the least represented age group being those under 30 (6%) and the largest group being those aged 30-65 (64%), followed by those over 65 (30%).


We asked residents about their satisfaction with their neighborhoods and homes, building and infrastructure conditions, participation in housing maintenance, interactions with neighbors and housing management organizations, community organization involvement, and suggestions for legislative improvements. We meticulously analyzed 37 hours of audio recordings to bring their voices to you.


We will be sharing these insights on our official social media pages. Follow us on › Facebook and › Instagram to stay updated with "Residents' Stories."


Authors: Elena Batunova, Albina Davletshina, Carola Neugebauer


© Mikhail Bolotov