Areas of interest:

  • urbanism
  • post-socialist cities
  • small and mid-sized cities
  • territorial and strategic planning on the municipal level of urban policy
  • participatory planning
  • DIY urbanism
  • urban shrinkage and regeneration/revitalization in small cities, in particular in the Russian North

Researcher at the Department of Social and Economic Geography at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Project head of «The Role of Local Initiatives in the Regeneration of Small and Mid-Sized Peripheral Cities of Russia» (Russian Foundation for Basic Research, 2018−2019) and «Strategies and Tactics of Territorial Planning in Depopulated Cities of Russia» (Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation).

Guest researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig in 2015 for the project «Urban Reconfigurations in Post-Soviet Space». Articles and papers published in journals such as Cities, European Planning Studies, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. Author of numerous academic papers and research studies.

List of academic publications:

Gunko M., Medvedev A. Dull place or green idyll: local identity and migration intentions of small city youth // Tijdschrift Voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. — 2018. — Vol. 109, no. 5. — P. 661−676. DOI: 10.1111/tesg.12 336

Gunko, M., Bogacheva, P., Medvedev, A., Kashnitsky, I. Path-dependent development of mass housing in Moscow, Russia // Housing Estates in Europe. Poverty, Ethnic Segregation and Policy Challenges / Hess D. B, Tammaru T., & van Ham M. (eds.). — The Urban Book Series. — New York: Springer International, 2018. — P. 289−311

Batunova E., Gunko M. Planning under conditions of shrinkage: the case of Russian small and medium-sized cities // Dealing with Urban and Rural Shrinkage: Formal and Informal Strategies / Hospers G.-J. & Syssner J. (eds.). — European Regions. — Munster (Germany): LIT Verlag, 2018. — P. 58−72

Batunova E., Gunko M. Urban shrinkage: an unspoken challenge of spatial planning in Russian small and medium-sized cities // European Planning Studies. — 2018. — Vol. 26, no. 8. — P. 1580−1597. DOI: 10.1080/9 654 313.2018.1 484 891

Гунько М. С., Пивовар Г. А. Участие /неучастие населения в городском планировании // Регион: экономика и социология. — 2018. — № 2. — С. 241−263

Уездный город N: образы малых городов России среди их жителей и в федеральных СМИ. // Современные тенденции пространственного развития и приоритеты общественной географии. Материалы международной научной конференции. Барнаул, 2018

Gunko M., Nefedova T. Coping with employment issues through commuting: Evidence from Central Russia // Moravian Geographical Reports. — 2017. — Vol. 25, no. 2. — P. 118−128. DOI: 10.1515/mgr-2017−0011

Kashnitsky I., Gunko M. Spatial variation of in-migration to Moscow: Testing the effect of housing market // Cities. — 2016. — Vol. 59. — P. 30−39. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.05.025

Гунько М. С., Глезер О. Б. Малые районные центры и окружающие территории в Центральной России в 1970−2010 гг.: динамика и распределение населения // Известия Российской академии наук. Серия географическая. — 2015. — № 1. — С. 64−76

Гунько М. С. Малые города центральной полосы Европейской России: социально-экономическое состояние и роль в организации пространства // Известия Российской академии наук. Серия географическая. — 2014. — № 2. — С. 42−52

Gunko M. (2014). The place of Central Russia’s small settlements in the rural-urban continuum. In Cities in a complex world: Problems, Challenges and Prospects. Proceedings of the Annual conference of the IGU Urban geography commission (179−192). Poznan: Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe

List of media publications, speeches at conferences and seminars:

Гунько М. Стратегия фонтанов и детских площадок. Государство не понимает, как сделать малые города более пригодными для жизни. Часть вторая. Как это часто происходит, скорость расходования бюджетных денег важнее качества реализуемых проектов // Republic, 20.03.2019.

Управляемое сжатие. Как российские города приспосабливаются к новой жизни после того, как оттуда массово уезжают люди. Объясняем на примере Воркуты. Интервью с Марией Гунько // Межрегиональный интернет-журнал 7×7, 20.02.2019.

Transformation of spatial planning under conditions of urban shrinkage: a tale of two Russian Arctic cities

In the last decades of the 20th century, urban shrinkage has become an evident process in many countries. Contributing factors include the mutually reinforcing effects of post-Fordist deindustrialization, globalization, and second-wave demographic transition, as well as regionally specific factors. Significant, long-term, and stable depopulation as its main and most agreed upon feature.

In post-Soviet Russia, cities with populations less than 100,000 (small and medium-sized cities — SMSC) are the ones depopulating most rapidly. In 182 of them, population loss since 1989 accounts for 25% and over of the countries' total depopulation. This new demographic reality alters the cityscape and its infrastructural requirements, and calls for a rethink of urban planning. The present study aims to analyse projected spatial developments in SMSC under conditions of significant depopulation to highlight the utilized strategies of long-term urban planning. Attention is also given to how the choice of strategies may be shaped by the main actors and their coalitions. Empirical data was obtained through the analysis of planning documents and semi-structured interviews with the representatives of administrations, business, and the local communities in Vorkuta (Komi Republic) and Apatity (Murmansk oblast). Drawing on the previous research, Vorkuta turned out to be the only city where shrinkage is acknowledged in official planning documents. The results of the current study indicate that Vorkuta resorts to a strategy of adaptation, with resettling, demolition, and planting of greenery serving as the main planning tools. There are several actors interested in such planning strategies, their coalition aiming at the reduction of costs. Apatity, on the contrary, is a typical case of planning for growth under conditions of shrinkage due to the lack of interested actors, as well as a deep misunderstanding of the complexity and consequences of depopulation as a process. Shrinkage is ignored as a current and future reality, while the key topic of urban planning lies in the creation of conditions for maximizing profits from the use of real estate and land.