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Urban Improvement: the Making and Using of Green Spaces in St. Petersburg (1870s-1910s)

Student: Mikhail Vsemirnov

Supervisor: Aleksandra Bekasova

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: History (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

With intensive industrialization process St. Petersburg faced with urbanization by the second half of the 19th century. Due to the transformation of the city green spaces became part of this process, so environmental as well as health care issues occurred at the center of public debates. It was then that issues related to urban green spaces occurred in the focus of public attention. They became the main topics in periodicals, as well as in special brochures and publications on urban development. Gardens and parks were perceived as an important element of the urban environment, as a significant public good, and they were crucial due to the recreational and sanitary point of view, as places necessary for residents to relax and to improve their health while walking there. However, the (re)making of green spaces in St. Petersburg was a result of a clash of interests of different actors involved – gardeners and architects, who were members of professional communities, representatives of the city municipality. The same interest was paid by citizens whose voices are explicitly seen in periodicals. Each interest group had different vision of how urban gardens and parks should have been organized and functioned. Examining extensive body of sources that included journal and wallpaper publications and official documents of the office of city authorities I would like to analyze how different communities of experts that were involved in these transformations worked with nature in the urban environment and to focus on contested character of the emerging green public spaces.

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