© Agency for strategic development center
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 centers 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 ser-vices, 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 de-termines 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 mecha-nisms 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 poten-tial 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 analyze the socio-economic situa-tion and main directions of development of the Astrakhan city, conduct a comprehen-sive assessment of the prerequisites for the development of the Astrakhan agglomer-ation, identifying the key areas of the territory, and propose the most effective devel-opment scenarios, taking into account its resource supply and areas of economic spe-cialization. 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 Stra-tegic 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 interna-tional companies specializing in the integrated development of territories and urban planning, architecture, design, economics and financial modeling will be invited to par-ticipate. The expert jury will act as guarantors of quality and compliance with all proce-dures. 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 center 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 sta-tus of a historical settlement of federal importance. According to the Urban Environ-ment Quality Index developed by the Russian Ministry of Construction jointly with the DOM.RF Foundation, Astrakhan entered the list of cities with a comfortable environ-ment, with 181 points out of 360. The results of the study carried out by the Founda-tion 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 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.