Staunton, January 26 – Many Muscovites who view Russian beyond the ring road as an undifferentiated set of provinces fail to understand that differences in the standard of living in different parts of the Russian Federation have a profound effect on both the housing market and spatial development of the Russian capital.
Nikolay Kurichev and Yekaterina Kuricheva, geographers at the Higher School of Economics, have now published one of the first studies of this interrelationship (“Interregional migration, the housing market, and a spatial shift in the metro area: Interrelationships in the case study of Moscow,” Regional Science: Policy and Practice, November 2019, summarized by Darya Kuznetsova at iq.hse.ru/news/337419627.html
The two geographers analyzed purchases of housing at 877 apartment blocks with 37.7 million square meters of space which became available in 2015 and show that there are six distinct zones as far as purchasers or renters were concerned. The closer to the center the more likely purchases were to be Muscovites or residents of mid-sized cities elsewhere.
Conversely, the further from the center, the more likely purchasers or renters were to be from villages or poorer regions. Up to 70 percent of those acquiring housing in the zone 30 kilometers from the center were from the poorest areas. Some of those will move closer to the center as they acquire more income and savings.
Kurichev and Kurichev provide extensive and detailed data on this pattern, but their overall conclusion is especially important. Because poorer residents are concentrated further from the center. “the Moscow agglomeration now is developing extensively and leading to a deterioration of the quality of life of citizens and destroying the environmental situation of the region.
That reflects three things: the absence of a serious urban development plan, failures to develop infrastructure that would make more regions attractive for residents of all income levels, and the variations in the income levels of the regions of the country that despite Muscovites lack of notice are transforming their city too.