Geodemography of the Saint Petersburg Suburbs
In this article, we analyse the structure and the development dynamics of the Saint Petersburg suburbs — home to over 1.6 million people. To this end, we employ statistical, historical, and empirical research methods and carry out a comparative analysis. Geodemographic studies should take into account not only demographic data but also the characteristics of the settlement system. Such studies are particularly important for suburbs. Russian social geography pays little attention to suburban studies, although such territories have become an independent object of research in international geographical science. The Saint Petersburg suburbs are of special interest from the perspective of geodemography, which is explained by the significant size of the area — a result of the territory’s historical development. The formation of the settlement system of the Saint Petersburg suburbs started with the foundation of the city, and continues to this day. Today, their spatial structure is shaped by the current administrative border between Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region — a product of the territory’s development in the Soviet period of Russia’s history. The lengthy process of border formation has given it a peculiar character. The most vibrant and attractive areas of the suburbs are located at a distance of 14—32 km from the centre of Saint Petersburg, between the isochrones of forty- and ninety-minute transport accessibility. Lying at a distance of approximately 60 km from the city centre, the two-hour travel time band marks the border of both the commuter zone and the Saint Petersburg agglomeration. A new settlement system is emerging within the suburban area of Saint Petersburg — the most economically, demographically, and socially vibrant territory of Russia’s North-West.