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The Russian Phenomenon of Megalopolis-Type Cities

V. N. Leksin () and B. N. Porfiriev ()
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V. N. Leksin: Russian Academy of Sciences
B. N. Porfiriev: Russian Academy of Sciences

Regional Research of Russia, 2018, vol. 8, issue 2, 133-140

Abstract: Abstract Global urban science has established the notion of a megalopolis (a city with a population of over 10 mln people), the characteristics of which, after publication of the classical work by J. Gottman and the results of numerous studies by foreign and domestic scientists, were described in detail, making it possible to isolate megalopolises into a separate group of settlements that play a leading role in global and national socioeconomic systems. In Russia, the only megalopolis is Moscow; at the same time, there are about 100 other cities exhibiting features characteristic of megalopolises. In this article these are labeled megalopolis-type cities that involve above all regional capitals—the administrative centers of the federal subjects. These centers host federal and subfederal state power bodies (very important administrative resource in Russia), and practically all of them surpass in terms of population other cities and towns of their respective regions (in some cases, concentrating 40% or more of the region’s entire population). Consolidating about 30% of Russia’s population, megalopolis-type cities make up 40–70% of GRP and the bulk of revenues of each federal subject; their actual unemployment levels are 30–40% lower than in the rest territory of the region. They concentrate the majority of service sector facilities, higher education (about 90% of the Russia’s higher education students study there), modern health care and cultural and leisure organizations. Russian megalopolis-type cities for many years have been the foci of relative (compared to the periphery) well-being, and their influence on the spatial environment is limited mainly to providing low-skilled jobs to labor migrants and sites to chain hypermarkets on the outskirts. Experts voice concerns that the implementation of plans to form large agglomerations based on several megalopolis-type cities would deepen socioeconomic and demographic differences between these cities and the periphery.

Keywords: megalopolis-type cities; settlement system; migration; economic development; social structure; socioeconomic reforms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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