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Urban Conflicts Resolution: The Influence Of Activists On The Process Of Contesting Urban Spaces (The Case Of St. Petersburg, 2000-2020)

Student: Anastasiya Golubeva

Supervisor: Anna A. Dekalchuk

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Political Science and World Politics (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The work is devoted to the analysis of the activists` influence on changes in the process of resolving urban conflicts in St. Petersburg in the period from 2000 to 2020. In particular, the focus is on the tactics of challenging the urban space by “weak” (local communities, activists, urban movements) and “strong” (city authorities, investors) interest groups, as well as the dynamics of their behavior. The theoretical foundations of the research are the theories of collaborative and critical planning. J. Habermas, E. Giddens, D. Harvey, and P. Healy, and the theory of civil infrastructure by A. Zhelnina and E.Tykanova. To analyze the dynamics of the process of contesting urban space, a cross-temporal study was conducted, which included a series of semi-formal interviews with city activists, members of public storm protection organizations, deputies and political figures. The author identifies two periods in the process of challenging the urban space of St. Petersburg. Until 2012, the “March of Millions” and the subsequent strengthening of the political regime, there was a positive trend in St. Petersburg: the influence of activists on decision-making and changes in legislation, cooperation between lightning protection communities and the city administration, the evolution of forms of participation, formal and informal tools of civil infrastructure. After 2012, the negative dynamics of conflict resolution is mainly due to the uncollaboration of the administrative and political system, the tightening of legislation that reduces the available forms of participation. Keywords: urban conflict, St. Petersburg, civil infrastructure, urban activism, lightning protection movement

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