Social and environmental 'sustainability through changes' of Russian mega-cities: the search for theoretical and methodological approaches

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Abstract

The article provides a critical understanding of the conceptual foundations of the study of social and environmental sustainability and urban transformations based on the concept of ‘green’ city, the analysis of the historical, social, economic and political contexts of the development of such cities for Russia, as well as relevant theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the ‘sustainability through changes’ of Russian mega-cities based on the meta-analysis of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers. The ‘green’ city in Russian context is a city, combining high efficiency and innovation; a city in which the best living conditions of its population have been created (given the existing limitations and opportunities), a city that can survive in response to global changes. Among the main features of the development of ‘green’ cities in Russia, the authors highlighted their double transformation, direct connection with modern geopolitical processes in the world and the state's resource policy, rapid informatization and digitalization, exacerbation of old and emerging en-vironmental risks (primarily problems waste disposal in large cities). Analysis of the existing methodologies for meas-uring the sustainability of Russian cities showed that all of them are based on quantitative (statistical) data, which on the one hand is their advantage, mak-ing their results maximally objective, but on the other hand, is a drawback, because due to the delay in the publi-cation of statistics or even its absence, it does not allow to observe the annual dynamics. The authors believe that the main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the ‘green’ city in the modern Russian context should be problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approaches, including the concept of socio-bio-technical systems, the so-cio-ecological metabolism approach, sustainability transitions framework and the related middle-range theories. Under the framework of these approaches, changes in urban systems are understood, firstly, as complex, dynamic, systemic (changes occur immediately in a variety of systems) and nonlinear processes, and, secondly, the trajectories of changes arise from joint interactions between multiple systems.

Details

Translated title of the contributionSocial'no-jekologicheskaja «ustojchivost' cherez izmenenija» rossijskih gorodov: poisk teoretiko-meto-dologicheskih perspektiv
Original languageRussian
JournalMonitoring Obshchestvennogo Mneniya: Ekonomichekie i Sotsial'nye Peremeny
Volume150
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • green city, sustainabili-ty-by-means-of-changes