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Urban Studies
Reference:

Monitoring the Improvement of the Urban Environment through Exceptional Communication with the Population (Based on the Materials of the Kirov Region)

Starikova Mariya Mikhailovna

ORCID: 0000-0002-5820-8731

PhD in Sociology

Associate Professor, Department "Sociology and cultural studies", BMSTU

105005, Russia, Moscow, 2nd Baumanskaya street, 5, building 1

maria_kuzmina82@mail.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.7256/2310-8673.2023.1.39784

EDN:

HCWUMU

Received:

08-02-2023


Published:

15-02-2023


Abstract: For the improvement of cities, the project Formation of a comfortable urban environment has been implemented in Russia for several years. In many regions, a number of their own landscaping projects are being carried out. The analysis of feedback from the population can be used as a tool for monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of urban improvement programs. The purpose of the work is to evaluate the results of the implementation of improvement programs in Kirov, the regional center of the Kirov region, taking into account the opinions of the population as the main recipient of these programs. The object of the study is the current state of improvement of the city of Kirov. The subject of the study is the analysis of landscaping in a number of areas (road transport, house and communal infrastructure, accessibility and quality of work of socio-cultural facilities) through feedback from the population. The study was carried out by analyzing official statistics data, a formalized survey of the population and interviews with experts. Two clusters of citizens were identified according to the level of satisfaction with the current state of the city's improvement, a large proportion is a cluster with a low level of satisfaction. However, 60% of residents believe that the quality of the urban environment has been gradually changing for the better over the past few years. The majority of respondents have minimal experience of involvement in the co-development of the urban environment, usually expressed in voting for objects for priority improvement. The study made it possible to identify and concretize the problems of the urban environment: disproportions in the improvement of central and suburban neighborhoods, catching up with the nature of infrastructure development during housing construction, insufficient road capacity, insufficient landscaping of park areas and public recreation areas. A scheme for solving the identified problems of landscaping is proposed, combining two directions: urban planning and communication and managerial.


Keywords:

the infrastructure of the city, the quality of the urban environment, the improvement of the city, urban development, monitoring, feedback, improvement programs, infrastructure, participatory design, city problems

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

IntroductionThe quality of the urban environment determines a lot, from the investment attractiveness of the territory to the migration potential of residents.

The most visible expression of the state of the city is its infrastructure, it is prioritized in modern methods of studying the quality of the urban environment [1].

However, researchers highlight the difficulties of developing a comfortable urban environment in the regions. E.M. Stepanova, for example, notes that "most Russian cities were formed during the Soviet period. Such cities were created exclusively as working settlements necessary for the maintenance of industrial facilities" [2, p. 543]. Urbanists come to the conclusion that "the city consists of many territorial clusters that differ from each other in the degree of prestige" [3, p. 58]. Thus, within cities, disproportions between areas with different periods of development are growing, microdistricts of advanced and lagging development are emerging.

Modernization of the urban environment is associated with inclusion in the modern agenda of digitalization of the infrastructure of urban areas in line with the development strategy of "smart cities" [4]. At the moment, the success of the implementation of the "smart city" concept is quite contradictory, although the Ministry of Finance is actively developing digitalization projects of the housing stock [5]. In the future, digitalization of infrastructure facilities is expected to increase the comfort and quality of the urban environment, but at the same time, the inequality between individual neighborhoods with old and new buildings will persist, since digitalization of the infrastructure of Soviet construction is difficult.

In the light of the described trends and processes, the purpose of this work is to evaluate the process of infrastructure improvement on the example of Kirov, the regional center of the Kirov region, taking into account the opinions of the population as the main recipient. The object of the study is the current state of improvement of the city of Kirov. The subject of the study is the analysis of landscaping in a number of areas (road transport, house and communal infrastructure, accessibility and quality of work of socio-cultural facilities) through feedback from the population.

Theoretical aspects of research and review of improvement programs"The improvement of the city territory unites a set of measures that contribute to the improvement of life and management in the city" [6, p. 40].

In this article, by landscaping we will understand, first of all, the development and improvement of urban infrastructure.

Scientific studies of urban environment improvement face the problem of measurement [7]. Depending on the measurement parameters, there are objective and subjective approaches. Objective ones are based on statistics, ratings and official reports (for example, on the implementation of federal and regional development programs), subjective ones measure the state based on public opinion and expert judgments.

An example of an objective approach is the "Urban Environment Quality Index" formed annually since 2019 by the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Communal Services of the Russian Federation [8]. According to the methodology, most of the indicators (there are 36 in total, with the ability to evaluate from 1 to 10 points each) are of a formal statistical nature. For example, the indicator "the share of the city area cleaned by mechanized means in the total area of the city evaluates the cleanliness of urban space. Higher productivity of work in a shorter time reduces the amount of dust, snow ..." [1]. However, high scores on the indicator do not necessarily reflect the cleanliness of urban spaces. A number of other indicators are also relative.

Subjective approaches to the analysis of urban improvement also have their advantages and disadvantages. First of all, the risks are associated with unrepresentativeness of the results and low validity of the tools in specific measurements of public opinion. However, the topic of urban improvement is one of the priorities and open for discussion. As the results of a large-scale study of social network data conducted by the Tomsk State University team showed, "topics related to the development of regional infrastructure are most actively discussed in the regions in a positive tone" [9].

The comfort and quality of the urban environment from the perspective of residents primarily depends on the comfort and accessibility of housing, transport, healthcare, education, which is a significant part of the city's infrastructure. However, "the production, distribution and management of these facilities depends primarily on the state, and not on private capital, for which investing in these areas is unprofitable" [10, p. 65]. Therefore, the level of development of the urban environment is largely determined by government programs and subsidies.

Let's consider the situation of urban infrastructure improvement on the example of the regional center of the Kirov region.

Kirov, with a population of just over 500 thousand people, belongs to a cluster of 63 major cities in the country.

"In the rating on the standard of living by the end of 2020, Kirov took 52nd place out of 75 Russian cities with a population of more than 250 thousand people. The quality of life in the leading city was taken as 100 points. Kirov residents rated the quality of life at 64 points" [11].

According to the All-Russian urban environment quality index for 2021, Kirov received 190 points out of 360 possible, which is slightly higher than the median value (see Figure 1). In general, for 4 years of measuring the index in Kirov, there is a slow upward trend from 181 to 190 points.

Fig. 1. Kirov Urban Environment Quality Index for 2021 [8]From the details of the index, it can be seen that the development of the street and road network, social and leisure and social and business infrastructure is "lagging" in development.

According to surveys, there are significant problems of improvement and comfort of the regional center.

As part of the development of the "Strategy of socio-economic development of the municipality "Kirov City" for the period up to 2035" in 2020, a study of the social well-being and quality of life of the population was conducted. According to the survey, "just over a third of Kirov residents (34.8%) plan to move to another city in Russia in the next 2-3 years... As the main reasons for the planned migration, half of the respondents (50.6%) named poor infrastructure, low level of urban improvement; almost a third (31.1%) pushes the unsatisfactory level of service, accessibility and quality of work of educational and medical institutions to change the region" [12].

In the same survey, respondents identified the most acute problems of Kirov: "poor quality of roads (86.7%); high tariffs for housing and communal services (83.9%); insufficient landscaping of houses and streets (81.3%); unfavorable environmental situation (71.7%); poor garbage collection in streets and courtyards (70.2%); poor quality of tap water (62.6%). Two thirds of respondents (65.6%) rated the work of public transport as unsatisfactory according to the following indicators: high fare (56.8% of the population are dissatisfied), insufficient number of transport units (52.1%), dirt and gas pollution in the salons (44%); careless driving (41.8%); high traffic congestion (41.6%); poor equipment of bus stops (39.9%)" [12].

Thus, the 2020 measurements showed the crucial role of infrastructure in the sense of satisfaction of the population with the quality of the urban environment and the migration outflow of the population.

Low ratings and ratings of the population are due to many objective problems of the urban environment. For example, "in the housing and communal services sector, there has been practically no replacement of the main equipment over the past 20 years - 76.7% of the water utility networks have 100% wear and need to be rebuilt" [13].

At the moment, several projects aimed at improving the quality of the urban environment are being implemented in the region at once. Active improvement works are underway within the framework of the federal program "Formation of a comfortable urban environment" of the national project "Housing and urban Environment". "Over the four years of the project's implementation, 667 courtyards and 351 public spaces have been landscaped in the Kirov region" [14].

In addition to federal projects, a set of municipal programs in the field of infrastructure improvement are being implemented in Kirov:

"Development of communal and housing infrastructure in the municipal formation "City of Kirov" for 2020 2024" [15].

"Formation of the modern urban environment of the Kirov City Municipality in 2018-2024" [16].

"Development of transport infrastructure in the municipality "Kirov City" in 2020-2024" [17] and a number of others.

Considering cases of implementation of urban improvement projects in different regions, researchers come to the conclusion about the importance of participatory formation of improvement programs when citizens have the opportunity to participate in projects aimed ultimately at improving the comfort of their lives [18, 19]. However, a number of authors emphasize the modest opportunities of the population to influence and express their opinions and the needs for the development of urban spaces and infrastructure [20-22]. "Owners of premises, as a rule, are involved only in voting at general meetings on issues of financial or labor participation in the improvement of yard territories, but are actually excluded from the development of yard improvement design projects; their initiatives to include certain yards in the improvement program are simply not encouraged" [23, p. 37].

The programs implemented on the territory of the Kirov region to improve the comfort of the urban environment have the population as the main stakeholder. Therefore, full-fledged conclusions about the success of the work carried out can be made only taking into account feedback from citizens. Using the example of the regional center of the Kirov region in 2021, an empirical study of the state of urban space improvement in the estimates of residents of Kirov was conducted.

Methodology and empirical base of the studyFor empirical field research, the concept of infrastructure was operationalized as "a stable set of material elements that provide conditions for the organization of basic human activities in various spheres of public life" [24, p. 167].

In this study, the following indicators were included in the concept of "urban environment infrastructure" (see Fig. 2):

Fig. 2. Components of the city's infrastructureThe field study was conducted by the method of a formalized survey of the population in September-December 2021.

A gender and age quota sample was used, taking into account data from regional statistical bodies.

Taking into account the uneven development of urban areas, the level of improvement in the central and suburban neighborhoods of Kirov was compared, for this purpose, the respondents' residential neighborhood was monitored during the survey. Microdistricts were determined using Yandex Maps. "Part of the microdistricts, according to their conditional boundaries, which are fixed in the minds of residents, are at the junction, therefore, when analyzing, the indicator of the remoteness of the microdistrict from the city center was more important for us (the Theater Square area was conditionally taken as the city center)" [25, p. 48]. The final sample includes 29.3% of respondents from the central neighborhoods of 70.7% from the outskirts, since peripheral areas occupy a large area of the city and are represented by neighborhoods with multi-storey residential complexes.

The analysis was carried out based on the responses of 403 respondents, 174 men (43.2%) and 229 women (56.8%).

39% of young people aged 18 to 35 in the sample, 46% of people aged 36-65, 15% - elderly citizens over 65 years old.

From the array of respondents, 10 people were also selected as experts qualified specialists in the field of management and development of urban infrastructure: a deputy of the Kirov City Duma, local history scholars, city activists and journalists. They were additionally interviewed for an in-depth study of the subject of the study from a professional point of view.

Research resultsThe answers received made it possible to assess the satisfaction of the population with the infrastructure of the city and determine the effectiveness of the measures implemented within the framework of the programs.

Respondents demonstrated very low recognition and recall of targeted federal and regional urban improvement programs. Only every 7th resident noted that he had heard about such programs. The most recognizable program of the project is "Formation of a comfortable urban environment". Many gave examples of point projects for the improvement of playgrounds and public spaces, explaining that they did not know under which program this was done. Respondents described their role in the improvement of urban space most often as a recipient, as well as a voter in voting for locations for priority improvement. Only 7% of the sample (28 people) indicated specific landscaping projects in which they personally participated. Since the majority of the population does not know the exact names of the improvement programs implemented in the city, the survey did not ask questions about the implementation of specific programs described earlier, but assessed the indicators of the improvement of the city and the dynamics of their changes over the past few years.

Almost all indicators have a strong spread of satisfaction ratings, which speaks rather not about the subjectivity of respondents, but about the contrasts of the state of urban locations. The most problematic situation is with parking lots, the equipment of courtyards with places for recreation (benches, playgrounds and sports grounds) and transport infrastructure.

Differences in estimates of the house infrastructure by microdistricts were revealed: in general, satisfaction with the house and the house territory is higher among residents of suburban microdistricts (Figure 3). Most likely, satisfaction correlates with the year of construction of the house, and in Kirov, mass construction has been going on in recent decades in suburban neighborhoods.

Fig. 3. Satisfaction with the condition of the house territory (%, P = 0.01)There is a polarization of the infrastructure of the housing stock from the position of the period of construction of the house.

It is worth noting that this trend is typical for most large cities of modern Russia [26]. Although a lot depends on the activity of residents and management companies.

Thus, many respondents do not see the need to personally participate in the improvement of the house space, shifting all responsibility to the authorities and the management company (Table 1)

Table 1. Distribution of answers to questions about those responsible for the improvement of house territories (% of respondents)Response options

Who should improve

Who actually beautifies

Management Company (Housing and Communal Services)

92,0

62,0

City Administration

32,5

2,0

Residents of the house

53,5

64,5

City activists

5,3

0,7

Your own version

0,0

7,4

Total

183,3*

136,7*

* The total % is more than 100, since the question provided for the possibility of choosing several answer options.

Both ordinary citizens and landscaping experts note the lack of parking spaces and landscaping.However, experts suggest a rather radical solution to the parking problem. "Parking should be paid, no one is obliged to provide a place for people. If the land is municipal, then the city makes parking and also serves the city, and takes money for it, including money goes to road repairs and health compensation ..." (Anatoly Kurbatov, city activist).

This opinion of experts about paid parking is not shared by the population at all: 59.8% are categorically against paid parking.

Logistics and the state of urban public transport remain the most problematic component of road transport infrastructure: two thirds of residents are partially or completely dissatisfied with these parameters of urban infrastructure. The problem of city route schedules was more often highlighted by residents of neighborhoods remote from the center, who were forced to make daily trips to the center to work and back. This drawback was also noted by experts. "In the City Duma, we often discuss the problem of public transport... The problem is that he (transport author's note) came on time, all stops were announced, it was convenient to get in and out, it was clean inside." (Mikhail Kovyazin, deputy of the Kirov City Duma).

Almost half of the population notes low accessibility and dissatisfaction with the state of parks and recreation areas in the city. Experts note the insufficient efforts of the authorities to maintain and develop the park infrastructure: "Everything that has been done and is still being done in parks mainly at the expense of activists, i.e. benches were installed and lighting was carried out in the Palace of Pioneers, people put a hockey box themselves ... That is, everything that is being done in parks so far, all at the expense of the movement of people who like to relax in this place." (Alexandra Korobeynikova, journalist).

Kirov residents are quite critical of the dynamics of the results of the work of the authorities and organizations responsible for landscaping over the past few years (Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: "Evaluate the effectiveness of measures for the development of Kirov over the past few years" (% of respondents by line for each indicator)Types of events

High

Average

Opposite speech

Low

Zatr. to answer

They didn 't answer

Construction of new neighborhoods

34,7

36,7

15,7

3,6

6,5

3

Repair of old utility networks

4,8

33,1

28,5

20,5

10

3

Gentrification of the house territory (installation of playgrounds and sports grounds, benches, lighting, etc.)

16

46,2

16,9

14,2

3,6

3

Increase in parking spaces

7,9

28,4

20,8

29,6

10,3

3

Repair of roads and sidewalks

7,4

38,7

27,8

20,1

2,9

3,2

Commissioning of a new public transport

16,2

39,4

18,3

15,4

7,6

3,2

Modernization of pedestrian crossings and traffic lights

20,5

39

18,3

14,7

3,9

3,7

Increasing the number of children. kindergartens and schools

12,8

35,8

16,2

11,8

19,9

3,6

Opening of new trading cents

34,4

35

16,3

4,1

7

3,2

The emergence of new interesting places of leisure (cafes, clubs)

25,4

33,4

18,1

9,8

10,1

3,2

Gentrification of park territories

18,3

41,4

18,4

13,9

4,9

3,2

Opening of places for sorting garbage

7,1

23,7

21,8

32,2

11,9

3,3

Raising the level of wages

3,8

14,7

24,8

47

6,8

3

Increasing the number of jobs

3,9

18

29,9

33,4

11,8

3

Table data. 2 demonstrate the actual tasks of implementing urban improvement and development programs: there is a dissonance between the active construction of new residential neighborhoods and the delayed equipping of their infrastructure facilities. In residential neighborhoods, problems are associated with the reconstruction and renovation of infrastructure.

Correlation analysis revealed no differences in satisfaction with infrastructure in terms of proximity / remoteness of the respondent's residential neighborhood from the city center (P = 0.3), which indicates a contradictory situation and the presence of both pros and cons of the infrastructure of most urban locations. However, the majority of respondents (67%) expressed the opinion that the infrastructure of the central microdistricts is generally better. Most likely, the greatest role is played by the walking accessibility of socially significant objects and the high "livability" of neighborhoods.

The citizens named the most acute problems that form the basis of requests for improvement and improvement of the quality of life in the city. Since the questionnaire question was of an open nature, the wishes and requests were summarized and presented in the form of a list of the most common answers (Table 3).

Table 3. Answers to the question "What do you lack most of all to feel the comfort of the urban environment in Kirov?" (open question, % of respondents, generalized formulations of answers that scored more than 5% are presented)Citizens' requests

%

1. Good sidewalks with low curbs and paved roads.

49,1

2. Well-maintained recreation areas. More green areas and parks.

31,8

3. Full-fledged lighting in courtyards and streets.

19,1

4. Clean city, more garbage bins, high-quality cleaning of roads and sidewalks.

17,6

5. More jobs with high wages.

16,6

6. More shopping and entertainment centers and sports facilities (swimming pools, water parks, amusement parks).

13,6

7. Buses, especially in the morning. To adjust the schedule of public transport. Longer operation of public transport

11,9

8. More kindergartens, schools, free clubs and sections.

11,2

9. Good traffic light equipment. Aboveground crossings could solve the problem of traffic jams. Revision of transport interchanges.

10,1

10. More hospitals, opportunities to get an appointment with a doctor. Equipment of polyclinics with equipment. Shortage of specialist doctors.

8,4

11. More parking in courtyards and on the territory of the house

6,4

As you can see, there are problems related to the improvement of urban spaces in the top. The opinions expressed allow for a more realistic assessment of the results of the implementation of urban environment development programs and actualize the further front of work.

Some of the infrastructure shortcomings are already being actively eliminated (asphalting sidewalks and carriageways, modernization of local recreation areas), some are difficult to solve in a short time (modernization of utility networks, creation of new parks, construction of overpasses and increasing the capacity of roads), a number of inconveniences can be compensated by the gradual development of the digital economy (transport management traffic, increasing the share of remotely provided services). A number of problems of the city's infrastructure, based on the current situation, are likely to only worsen (spontaneous parking, deterioration of the environmental situation, contrasts and dilapidation of part of the housing stock ("Khrushchev" and "Stalin" houses).

Despite the expressed dissatisfaction with a number of parameters of the improvement of the city and the identified problems, the majority of citizens remain passive observers. Only a third of respondents take civic activity and steps to solve problems. 35% noted that they have personal experience of appeals and complaints to any authorities about infrastructure problems. The most popular channels of appeals are shown in Fig. 4.

Figure 4. Channels of appeals on the problems of urban space improvement (% of the number of experienced appeals)To segment the citizens in relation to the issues of improvement studied, a cluster analysis using the k-means method was carried out.

There are 2 comparable clusters of respondents expressing largely opposite views and assessments of the state of urban infrastructure. The most significant differences are presented in table 4.

Table 4. Characteristics of respondent clusters (% of cluster, N = 403, P< 0.05)Main Features

Satisfied with the landscaping, 46.4% of respondents

Dissatisfied with landscaping, 53.6% of respondents

At the time of the survey, they have been living in their neighborhood for less than 3 years

40,6

24,5

At the time of the survey, they have been living in their neighborhood for more than 10 years

31,6

50,5

Fully or at least satisfied with the state of the infrastructure of your neighborhood

75,9

20

Assess the condition of their home as good and excellent

80,2

38,4

Assess the condition of the transport infrastructure (roadway and sidewalks) both good and excellent

56,7

21,3

Satisfied with the state of improvement of parks and squares in your area

69

15,7

It is believed that Kirov is changing for the better in terms of the quality and comfort of the urban environment over the past 2-3 years

84,5

38,4

It is believed that Kirov is changing for the worse in terms of the quality and comfort of the urban environment over the past 2-3 years

9,6

41,2

They have experience in submitting appeals and complaints about the improvement and condition of infrastructure to the authorities

29

43,3

They believe that the residents themselves should improve the territory adjacent to the house

58,3

48,6

In fact, they ennoble the house territory themselves as tenants of the house

59,9

68,5

The purchase of most durable goods currently does not cause difficulties

30,5

19,5

They live from paycheck to paycheck, save even on food, the level of well-being is below the base layer

23,5

33,8

Do not have a higher education

14,1

21,3

As you can see, citizens who have been living in their neighborhood for a long time and do not have sufficient financial resources, for the most part, are more often not satisfied with the state of the urban space surrounding them. The effect of "adjusting" the perception of the city to the life situation is created. It is the dissatisfied half of respondents who are more actively contacting the authorities responsible for landscaping in an attempt to identify and solve the problem. But probably, these appeals are not always effective, since the overall critical attitude of the cluster in the estimates remains.

ConclusionThe study showed that the urban space of Kirov is perceived differently by two large clusters of citizens, there is no consolidated public opinion on most issues.

The social status of respondents determines the angle of view, the criticality of the assessment and the focus of attention to the problems of urban infrastructure.

There is an uneven and disproportionate development of urban infrastructure in central and remote neighborhoods.

E. M. Stepanova notes that historically "urban planning in Russia is a state matter, therefore it is extremely difficult to establish a dialogue between citizens and government administrative structures. A paradox is formed: cities are built for people, but people themselves are no more in this process than observers"[1] [Stepanova 2019, 167]. This leads to inefficient use of public areas. In turn, this fact generates hooliganism and vandalism on the part of people.

In official reports on the implementation of improvement and development programs, there is a tendency to cite the target results of planned work, while surveys of the population as the main stakeholder of urban development projects reveal rather critical assessments and expectations of great results.

In this regard, we see the most promising scheme for solving the identified problems of urban infrastructure improvement, which is based on a combination of two directions: urban planning and communication and management. The first direction should include official plans and strategies for the development of the territory based on economic, demographic, construction, technical, sanitary and hygienic and other calculations. The communicative and managerial direction should, first of all, ensure the coordination of urban planning plans with the actual needs of the population.

To do this, we propose the use of a comprehensive methodology for assessing the quality of the urban environment, including both objective methods based on territorial development plans and calculated statistical data of quality indices, and subjective ones obtained as a result of expert assessments and a survey of the population about the comfort of the urban environment. Therefore, it is necessary to attract the attention of government representatives and the expert community to the co-participating design and taking into account the opinions of citizens on the development and reconstruction of the urban environment.

Feedback in the format of a survey of the population on the effectiveness of improvement measures allows you to identify "pain points" in infrastructure facilities that should be paid close attention to, adjust the further front of work in ongoing projects. In the future, digitalization of urban infrastructures will allow obtaining data using online monitoring and geo-information systems. There are already examples of digital maps of regions where layers with different quality parameters of the urban environment are reflected in the regular monitoring mode [27]. It is important to combine such maps with a feedback platform for residents' requests, which is actively used in the region through the service "Public Services. We decide together." (URL: https://pos.gosuslugi.ru/landing/).

For Kirov, an alarming sign is a large proportion of the population that negatively perceives the development of the regional center almost half of them. These trends can be corrected, among other things, through the attention of the authorities to the requests of residents for the development of urban infrastructure. Working with "pain points" in landscaping gives a systemic effect of reforming problematic areas, cultivating the idea of "rodnopolises" as points of attraction, stimulating residents to regional settlement through the creation of a comfortable urban environment.

[1] Stepanova E. M. The necessity of forming a comfortable urban environment and factors hindering this process in Russia // Young Scientist. 2019. No. 49. pp. 542 545.

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In the peerreviewed article "Monitoring the improvement of the urban environment through feedback from the population (based on materials from the Kirov region)", the subject of the study is the analysis of landscaping in a number of areas (road transport, house and communal infrastructure, accessibility and quality of work of socio-cultural facilities) through feedback from the population. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the process of infrastructure improvement using the example of Kirov, the regional center of the Kirov region, taking into account the opinions of the population as the main recipient. The paper classifies approaches to measuring urban improvement into objective and subjective ones. The paper uses a subjective approach to the analysis of landscaping as a methodological basis, in which the comfort and quality of the urban environment are considered from the perspective of residents, since full-fledged conclusions about the success of the implementation of landscaping programs can only be made taking into account feedback from citizens. The empirical basis of the study was a survey of residents of Kirov. The study was conducted by the method of a formalized survey of the population in September-December 2021 with a sample of 403 respondents. Quotas by gender and age were used, taking into account data from regional statistical bodies. This allows you to recognize the sample as representative. The relevance of the work is due to the fact that modern cities face many challenges, and among them perhaps the most difficult is to combine a developed infrastructure with safety, comfort and attractive living conditions for citizens. It is impossible to answer this challenge without the participation of the population in the development of urban areas, direct participation in the discussion of urban improvement problems. In this regard, it seems extremely timely to turn to monitoring the improvement of the urban environment through feedback from the population. The scientific novelty of the reviewed work consists in fixing the fact that there is no consolidated public opinion regarding the urban space of the city of Kirov (the presence of two large clusters of citizens). The part of the citizens who have been living in their neighborhood for a long time and do not have sufficient financial resources is more dissatisfied with the state of the surrounding urban spaces. In addition, the work records the unevenness and disproportions in the development of urban infrastructure in central and remote neighborhoods. As a recommendation, it is proposed to use a comprehensive methodology for assessing the quality of the urban environment, including both objective methods based on territorial development plans and calculated statistical data of quality indices, and subjective ones obtained as a result of expert assessments and a survey of the population about the comfort of the urban environment. This study is characterized by general consistency and literacy of presentation. The article has a good level of scientific conceptualization and a competent presentation of the results of a sociological study. It will be of interest to scientists in the field of sociology of the city, as well as municipal employees and specialists in the field of landscaping. The bibliography of the work includes 27 publications, although a significant part of them relate to regulatory documents. Nevertheless, there is an appeal to the main opponents from the area under consideration. Conclusion: The article "Monitoring the improvement of the urban environment through feedback from the population (based on the materials of the Kirov region)" has scientific and theoretical significance, corresponds to the branch sociological sciences. The work can be published.
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