Between 16 and 20 September the Republic of Tatarstan hosted a placement entitled “Regional growth projects: successes and challenges in the search for implementation resources”, organized for the winners of Timchenko Foundation Cultural Mosaic of Towns and Villages. It was attended by 11 representatives from project teams of past years from 7 Russian states.
Tatarstan is implementing an ambitious programme to grow communal spaces, which are created by experts tapping into cultural resources among other sources. Based on the results of the All-Russian Competition ended in May 2019, the republic won 14 grants to implement amenities projects in the republic’s historical settlements and towns that involve tapping into local cultural potential and studying and preserving cultural heritage sites and that cater to local communities.
Apart from the state capital, Kazan, the placees visited the towns of Kukmor, Elabuga, Nizhnekamsk, Bavly and Bugulma and the villages of Muslyumovo, Laishevo and others. Together with experts and spokesmen for local authorities, they reviewed the best practices of Tatarstan’s sociocultural projects.
Yulia Buldakovova, author of the project entitled “Tulun, my Homeland!” and CEO of Tulun.ru (town of Tulun, Irkutsk Oblast), notes that the subject of regional growth is currently relevant to her home town:
— For the first time as part of Cultural Mosaic study placements we have broached the subject of growing urban spaces. I took on board the important idea of a comprehensive approach to local growth. The local councils of our towns and villages think about growth, but unfortunately they rarely have an idea of how to do that in a comprehensive and consistent manner. Tatarstan has a special landscaping and amenity project office, which employs experts from various fields: civil servants, environmentalists and urbanists, to name but three. This is an effective format; local bottlenecks are essentially dealt with by a “rapid response team” in coordination with the locals.
For us Tulun residents, the subject of amenities is now relevant more than ever. This summer’s flood put a third of the town’s area under water. Top of today’s agenda is the question of changes to the Tulun urban development plan and urban amenities. I think that Tatarstan’s best practices could come in useful for us. Another question: does our town have the wherewithal?
According to Yelena Konovalova, head of the Culture programme at the Timchenko Foundation, Cultural Mosaic placements introduce project developers to examples of sociocultural development in small communities:
— We do our best to upskill Cultural Mosaic winners, and this calls for a comprehensive approach: they listen to experts, review case studies and compare notes. This approach aims to deepen theoretical knowledge, improve project vision and strengthen professional ties. We hope that the trip will teach our colleagues to analyse their own projects in more depth and open up new opportunities for local growth.