The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №1

Spatial structure and development of settlements in the Saint Petersburg agglomeration

Abstract

This article explores the spatial structure and development of settlements comprising the Saint Petersburg agglomeration. Previous studies and database sources, which were never used before (the Federal Tax Service [FTS] database and SPARK-Interfax), are analysed to reveal factors in the economic development of metropolitan areas as well as to understand how settlements develop in Russia’s second-largest city agglomeration. The borders and composition of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration are brought up to date. Examining the population size of the settlements helps locate the ‘growth belt’ of the agglomeration. Lists of major enterprises of the city and the region make it possible to identify patterns in the economic development of the study area. The SPARK-Interfax database aids in clarifying relationships between spatial elements of the agglomeration (its core and satellites) in the distribution of revenues of economic agents. Data on the location of the largest retail stores — shopping malls and hypermarkets — are used to identify the main centres of commerce in the Saint Petersburg agglomeration. A map chart has been drawn using 2GIS and Yandex Maps geoinformation services. An important step in agglomeration analysis is the identification of residential development hotspots. FTS data on property tax base are the main source of relevant information. FTS reports contain data on the number of residential buildings and units covered by the database. Further, FTS statistics is employed to trace income and job distribution across the study area. The current functions of settlement in the Saint Petersburg agglomeration have been determined. According to the findings, the spatial structure of the agglomeration has three groups of ‘backbone centres’. The agglomeration includes a core, a population growth area (‘growth belt’), commuting sources and recipients, and ‘backbone centres’.

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Response of the Lithuanian municipalities to the First Wave of COVID-19

Abstract

This article analyses the response of Lithuanian local authorities to the first wave of COVID-19 with a special focus on the economic support measures they took. The main goal of this in-depth study is to compare the economic response measures included in the action plans of Riga and Tallinn, two large Lithuanian municipal administrations, as well as to analyse the narrative developed in the two cities. The methodology of this research is based on the review of literature, the analysis of action plans, and a case study. The Vilnius and Klaipėda city municipalities adopted action plans to support residents and businesses. Although there are many measures the plans have in common, they differ in the context and scope of application. Municipalities are willing to grant exemptions from various fees and taxes. They have used innovative measures: Vilnius allowed the opening of outdoor cafes, the practice, which was observed by global media. According to the research findings, the actions of municipal authorities can be successful, as municipalities are closer to the residents and can respond to their needs and those of entrepreneurs more quickly and flexibly. The approval of COVID-19 management action plans by municipalities has contributed to the narrative of recovery and hope.

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Cultural types and the perception of current environmental risks by local communities of the Baltic Sea region

Abstract

This work presents findings from research into the relationship between the structural organisation and cultural attitudes of local communities in the Baltic Sea region and the way they perceive environmental risks. The response of the Kaliningrad community to the development of a local potassium and magnesium salt mine is used as an illustration. The article deals with how local communities perceive the image of risks formed and reproduced via various communication channels. The structural context and the context of communication are taken into account. Another focus is on how this perception is affected by the type of community members’ cultural attitudes (according to Mary Douglas’s grid/group model). The space of categorical variables obtained through multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) aids in clustering the cases (respondents) as well as in testing theoretical assumptions for compliance with the findings. The communicative practices characteristic of all the clusters (classes of cases) are examined; the relationship between the structural organisation of groups, their cultural attitudes, their perception of environmental risks, and the performance of environmental agencies are explored. An evaluation of the comparative efficiency of different ways and means of risk communication with the identified groups is made. It is concluded that the proposed model is methodologically promising and there is a need for differentiated risk-communication strategies.

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