The Baltic Region

2015 Issue №3(25)

Back to the list Download the article

Saint Petersburg as a Global Coastal City: Positioning in the Baltic Region



The Baltic region consists of coastal areas of nine countries — Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. The region’s hubs are the port cities located along the Baltic Sea coast. However, Peter Taylor and Saskia Sassen’s classification identifies higher status cities and ‘global cities’, which are to be considered in the global context. Seven coastal regions are distinguished within this region, whose organising centers are the global coastal cities of Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Riga, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, and Malmö. The concept of a “global city-region” (Sassen) can be used as a methodological framework for analyzing this connection. Within this hierarchy, the dominant alpha group global city is Stockholm. The authors argue that, as a global coastal city, St. Petersburg forms the St. Petersburg coastal region, which can be defined as a typical "global city region". The index method shows that the position of St. Petersburg in the system of global coastal cities of the Baltic region is relatively favorable in view of its transport, logistics, and demographic potential and the advantageous geo-economic situation. St. Petersburg has certain competitive advantages in the region brought about by its demographic potential, port freight capacity, and the favorable geo-economic position of the "sea gate" of Russia. However, the level of high-tech services and ‘new economy’ development is not sufficient for the port to become a match for the top three cities (Stockholm, Helsinki, and Copenhagen). This is increasingly important because transboundary global city networks demonstrate that global cities are functions of global networks. Saint Petersburg is just starting to integrate into these networks through the Pulkovo airline hub and seaports of Ust-Luga, Primorsk, and Saint Petersburg.


1.Coastal zone management: integrated policies, 1993, OECD, Paris.
2. Green Paper. Towards a Future Maritime Policy for the Union: a European Vision for the Ocean, 2006, COM, no. 275 final, 7.6.2006.
3. Pak, A., Majd F. 2011, Integrated coastal management plan in free trade zones, a case study, Ocean & Coastal Management, no. 54, p.129—136.
4.Small, C., Nicholls, R. J. 2003, A global analysis of human settlement in coastal zones, Journal of Coastal Research, Vol. 19, no. 3, June 2003, p. 584—599.
5. Strategija razvitija morskoj dejatel'nosti Rossijskoj Federacii do 2030 goda, utverzhdennaja rasporjazheniem Pravitel'stva Rossijskoj Federacii ot 8 dekabrja
2010 g. № 2205-r [The development strategy of maritime activities of the Russian Federation to 2030 approved by the Federal Government of December 8, 2010
№ 2205-r], 2010, Moscow.
6. Scott, A. J., Agnew, J., Soja, E. W., Storper, M., 2001,Global city regions. In: Scott, A. J. (ed.), Global City Regions. Trends, Theory, Policy, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, p. 11—32.
7. O’Connor, K. 2010, Global city regions and the location of logistics activity, Journal of Transport Geography, no. 18, p. 354—362.
8. Oficial'nyj sajt «Edinaja gosudarstvennaja sistema informacii ob obstanovke v mirovom okeane» (ESIMO) [The official website for "Unified state system of information
on the world's oceans" (ESIMO)], available at: URL:// /index.html (accessed 9.06.2015).
9.Merk, O. (forthcoming), 2013, Meta-analysis of Port Impact Studies, OECD Regional Development Working Paper.
10. Lachininskii, S. S., Semenova, I. V. 2015, Sovremennye podhody k issledovaniju transformacii jekonomiki Sankt-Peterburgskogo primorskogo regiona [Modern approaches to the study of the transformation of the economy of St. Petersburg Primorsky region], Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta. Serija 7: Geologija.
Geografija [Bulletin of St. Petersburg State University. Series 7: Geology. Geography], no. 3.
11. Lachininskii, S. S., Lachininsky, A. S., Semenova, I. V. 2015, Vydelenie jelementov geojekonomiki Sankt-Peterburgskogo primorskogo regiona s pomoshh'ju GIS
[Sel ect elements of geo-economics of the St. Petersburg Primorsky region through GIS], Geografija i prirodnye resursy [Geography and natural resources], no. 4.
12.Mogilevtsev, А. А. 2013, Formirovanie portovo-promyshlennyh klasterov na territorii primorskih provincij KNR [Formation of the port and industrial cluster in
the coastal provinces of China], Regional'nye issledovanija [Regional studies], no. 2 (40), p. 50—76.
13. Valev, E. B. 2009, Problemy razvitija i vzaimodejstvija primorskih territorij v Evrope [Problems of development and interaction of the coastal areas in Europe], Региональные исследования, no. 1 (22), p. 11.
14.Postanovlenie Pravitel'stva Sankt-Peterburga ot 13 maja 2014 goda N 355 «O Strategii jekonomicheskogo i social'nogo razvitija Sankt-Peterburga na period do 2030 goda» [Resolution of the Government of St. Petersburg on May 13, 2014 N 355 "On the Strategy for Economic and Social Development of St. Petersburg for the period till 2030"], 2014, Saint Petersburg.
15. The World According to GaWC 2012, 2012, available at: URL:// (accessed 5.06.2015).
16.Kuznetsov S. V., Lachininsky, S. S. 2014, Modern understanding of ‘geoeconomic position’ and the Saint Petersburg agglomeration, Balt. Reg., no. 1, p. 79—92. DOI: 10.5922/2079-8555-2014-1-7.
17. Zhabrev, А. А., Mezhevich, N. M. 2010, Geojekonomicheskoe polozhenie Sankt-Peterburga i Leningradskoj oblasti v konce XX — nachale XXI veka: ot periferijnoj bar'ernosti k subcentral'noj kontaktnosti [Geo-economic position of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region at the end of XX — beginning of XXI century: fr om the periphery to the barrier subtsentralnoy sociability], Vestnik Rossijskoj akademii estestvennyh nauk [Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences], Saint Petersburg, no 4, p. 40—42.
18. Zverev, Yu. M. 2010, Mirovoj opyt «zon pererabotki importa» i Kaliningradskaja osobaja jekonomicheskaja zona [World experience "import processing zones" and the Kaliningrad special economic zone], Region sotrudnichestva [Region cooperation], no. 1, p.13—32.
19. Fedorov, G. M., Korneevets, V. S. 2009, Trans-Border Regions in the System of the Regional Hierarchy: the Systemic Approach, Balt. Reg., no. 2, p. 26—33.
DOI: 10.5922/2079-8555-2009-2-3.
20. Competitive Position of the Baltic States Ports, 2011, KPMG Baltics SIA, November, available at: (accessed 07.06.2015).