“Historical Settlements and Small Towns” Study

28 September, 2018 – 5 June, 2019

A comprehensive study prepared by CENTER experts, based on the results of the Nationwide Competition among the best projects aimed to create a comfortable urban environment in small towns and historical settlements in 2018.

The nationwide competition among the best projects aimed to create a comfortable urban environment in small towns and historical settlements was first held in 2018 on the initiative of the Ministry of Construction of Russia in strategic partnership with Agency for Strategic Development CENTER. The competition was focused on towns with a population of 100,000 or less and federally or regionally recognized historical settlements, except for administrative centers and federal-level cities.

As part of the 2018 partnership, CENTER was responsible for the whole range of issues related to the organization and conduct of the competition procedure, including work with competition applications as well as expert and consulting support to competition participants. Based on the results of this work, CENTER experts prepared a comprehensive study – a unique analytical project that accumulates all information obtained when working with 455 competition applications received from 82 regions.

The study is free of charge and intended for a wide range of readers.


  • The most important effect of the competition was the coordination of efforts of regional and federal authorities, municipal authorities, small businesses, designers, experts and the public. For small towns and historical settlements, this means the attention to local marketing, development of new tourist routes and events, more active participation in federal and regional target programs, involvement of the local population in the creative process, emergence of new jobs, strengthening the sense of belonging to the territory, growth of civic activity, and as a result, development as distinct “growth points”.

  • Comprehensive evaluation of competition applications showed that the division of cities and towns into categories according to the generally accepted classification “by population” does not reflect the real differentiation of cities and towns considering the social and cultural potential, territorial and functional features of public spaces, the level of budgetary provision, conditions for small business development and other factors.

  • A variety of natural and climatic features of the Russian Federation with the territorial predominance of the zone of uncomfortable conditions requires the development of a systematic methodological approach to creating a comfortable environment that provides for:
    • the rejection of the monocentricity of the field of initiative, and unification and replication of methods for creating a comfortable environment for human settlements located in one sixth of the Earth’s land area;
    • the formation of individual principles of creating a comfortable environment in settlements considering climatic and engineering and geological conditions, historical prerequisites, availability of resources, and social needs of the local population conditioned by living environment;
    • the adaptation of environmental design to the natural and climatic conditions of the territory, and individualization of design solutions in relation to the territorial principles of creating a comfortable environment.
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