Gentrification in central Moscow - A market process or a deliberate policy? Money, power and people in housing regeneration in Ostozhenka

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  • Oxford University


The recent process of housing redevelopment in central Moscow is examined in the light of the theory of gentrification. The study is based on the case of Ostozhenka as an emblematic example of a large-scale transformation of a central residential neighbourhood into the most expensive quarter of central Moscow. Using data collected through interviews, archive enquiries and field surveys, the paper addresses the preconditions, dynamics and mechanisms of this socio-political process. It is argued that gentrification in Ostozhenka shares many features observed in the other large cities of the world but, as predicted by theory, is locally embedded. It has been a product of a complex interplay of the market pressure aiming to meet demands from Moscow's successful post-Soviet economy and Moscow government's entrepreneurial and pro-development strategy for the city centre regeneration. The government privileges market forces: it empowers them vis-à-vis the original population and allows them to circumvent conservation institutions, while the achieved profit is shared between the private and public sides. Whereas the physical improvement of the city centre signifies departing from the Soviet legacies of under-investments in the housing built environment, the growing socio-spatial polarization undermines the social achievements of the Soviet system and denotes the triumph of the neoliberal urban regime in Moscow.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalGeografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005