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Т. Reshetnikova
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Weimar, Germany,
Saint-Petersburg state university of architecture and civil engineering, Saint-Petersburg, Russia


Urban activation is the result of numerous events. We are defining two types of events: intellectual
(or media) and social. “Intellectual events” — educational or entertaining events, located in the city,
creating urban polylogue. «Social events» — events in the communicative environment of public

Event is a tool to make an experiment of urban defragmentation (the process of structure updating
and optimizing). It means a form of regulation of modern society behavior and modern
environment development by the means of information, media, and communication. The place in
the city starts evolve (change) due to connected to this point events, that are the means of
function, interest, advantage, financial gain. The indicator of the urban development is new
construction, new events, new look.

In the borders of this fact it is evident to create the concept of urban regeneration: creating events
recreates the urban fragments.

Keywords: urban renewal, urban communication, intellectual event, social event, information


Т.С. Решетникова
Университет Баухауз, Веймар, Германия,
Санкт-Петербургский государственный архитектурно-строительный университет,
Санкт-Петербург, Россия


Активизация среды – результат множественных событий. Выделим два типа событий:

виртуальный (медиа) и социальный. «Виртуальные события» – образовательные или
развлекательные события, локализующиеся в среде, создающие городской полилог.
«Социальные события» — события коммуникативной среды публичных пространств.

Событие — инструмент создания эксперимента средовой «дефрагментации» (процесса

обновления структуры и оптимизации города). Это означает форму управления поведением
современного общества и форму развития современной среды с помощью
информационных технологий, социальной коммуникации.

Место в городе начинает эволюционировать (изменяться) в результате привязанных к этой

точке событий, которые означают функциональную насыщенность, интерес, преимущество,
финансовую выгоду. Индикатором средового развития можно считать новые постройки,
новые события, новый образ. В границах этого факта очевидно формулирование концепции
средовой регенерации: создание событий создает и регенерирует городскую среду.

Ключевые слова: реновация, коммуникационная среда, виртуальные события, социальные

события, информационный эксперимент

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City space is a priori valent to — has a lot of attractions, urban links, can create any number of
event structures. City is changing, pulsating, breathing. The story of the city as an organism is told
by occurring various objects — architectural, artistic artifacts, social events and many other forms
of activity.

It is important to indicate that the activity of the city — the phenomenon of uneven, non-
continuous. There are city areas of bright flashes of people activity and nearly dead empty urban
“holes”. Why is this irregularity? What is the starting point of urban change? Can we find a tool to
manage the activity in the city, provoking the urban regeneration or defragging?
The idea of this study lies in the regenerating capability of the phenomenon of urban event.

Activating the urban environment is the result of multiple events.


"Event — is a point in space-time, which is determined by the position in space and time."
(Stephen Hawking. Brief History of Time. Glossary.)

"Urban" event — the phenomenon of city shift, changing urban situation. The event is the main
qualitative element that combines the active places in the city. Examples of such events shall be
considered facts of construction of all scales, social and cultural events in the city (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. The definition of urban event

Event of any morphology is an IDEA that causes a reaction in the real urban space. By type of
environment in which the event occurs and gives resonance, we distinguish two types of events:

1. Social events — events produced by social communication

2. Intellectual (Media) events — events produced by Media (internet, TV, radio)

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The division into "social" and "intellectual" (media) event is conditional, since they may overlap, to
move from one state to another.

Events linked to the spatial coordinates, create active zones in urban area. They can be named as
"growth points" of the city. These spaces (commercial (market square and shopping street),
recreation (walking lines, public areas, and parks), public space around entertainment, transit
(transportation routes, interchange nodes)) are connected to both types of events. These events
produce urban shift.


«The Place has to be created, to become a Form, to be confirmed by guess» (Savchenko M.R.
«Foundations of Architecture: An Introduction to architectural ontology, paradigms, and universals,
categories, types», 2006).

Let us consider in more detail the types of events:

1. «Social events»

By "social events" we mean events happening in the physical city space. Social events represent
communicative public spaces, areas of mass gatherings (Fig. 2(a-d)).

Social event area has a number of various functions:

ƒ Commercial property (shops, markets, food and drinks).

ƒ Communicative (social interaction).

ƒ Intellectual (cognitive).

ƒ Recreation (sport, leisure, entertainment).

ƒ Transit (transport, walking)

The social nodes are tied to developed zones: full of traffic, eventful, polyfunctional. These types of
city space are self-sufficient, self-organized and sustainable. The more activity – the quicker
evolution of urban fragment. In this case we can conclude that the formula of urban regeneration is
to tie to the city point more social – public – functions.

More over all public active zones have the media.

The media space connected with social active zones unveils other type of event – “Intellectual”.

The formula of the social events` influence on the space development:

Place Event → Media → Renewal

2. «Intellectual events»

The term media refers to events produced and announced by media resources (internet, TV,
radio). The study concerns the events that have a geographical anchor point in the city.

Various entertainments, culture, educational and other business organizations attract mass
attention by means of a variety type’s mass media. Media technology — is a powerful tool for
creating interest, desire for the open-city life and the available knowledge. Educational and
entertaining, social events make the territory of polylogue.

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Fig. 2(a-d). Social event space in Saint-Petersburg, Russia: a) Some social event spaces;
b) The connection of traffic and social event space; c) The connection of new construction and
social event space; d) The connection of media space and social event space

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In present media represent a new tool for creative and functionally update of the city. Media events
create an active zone around the public buildings and facilities — museums, clubs, theaters,
shopping malls, art spaces, parks and so on. Media events show on a map the hot points,
creating a special media routes, patterns and media points. Media routes, media points are
renewed by events every time: sensations, images, and photographs. Modern city life creates a
special places of legend looked like a mobile tag cloud. Metapolis ‘woven’ from the media focuses
— focuses on the unique, unusual, and shocking, on what is intriguing, concerns or excites.

Saint-Petersburg is one of the largest and brightest cultural centers in Russia and the world,
famous for its magnificent architectural ensembles, palaces and museums. The city attracts an
amount of tourists not only by its classical art collections, but also about 50 contemporary art
galleries and exhibition halls. The city has a great number of theaters and creative groups
including the world famous Mariinsky Theater, the Musorgsky Opera and Ballet House,
Philharmonic Hall and others. Every year the city hosts a lot of international art, music and theater
festivals, contests, hundreds of exhibitions and premier shows. In 2010 3 theaters, a museum,
children’s art school and a youth house were commissioned within the frameworks of a target
investment program.

For 2011 it were planned to put into operation two objects – a music school in Kronshtadt and a
high school of art in Pushkin. Two private museums – the «Erarta» and «New Museum», as well
as two new libraries were opened. (Investor’s Handbook: St. Petersburg – 2011). All these
agencies produce media events, using internet, radio, television, billboards, etc. The amount of
events directly depends on the economic, social, political situation in the country. For the last
20 years (from 1990 till 2010) the government has been changed, new society and new mentality
has been formed. The attendance of various public zones, which create cultural events, is
undulating. For the last 2 years it seems the increasing interest to cultural pastime (museums

Media is the main factor of information and events distribution. It is accessible to everyone. While
post boxes are reducing (Infostat :in 1999 by 9,4 ths. 4,9%), the number of internet access and PC
is increasing (Russia: 2000 - 123,0 ths internet spots, that is more than in 1999 - 2,8). The same
is with mobile connection. Despite the saturation of the market of mobile communications in
St. Petersburg, according to the forecast of CEDIPT the volume of services of this type of
communication will grow in the years to come by about 3–5 % per year (Infostat). In
St. Petersburg, the number of personal computers has exceeded 2.5 million units, 88.5 % of them
have access to the Internet (Fig. 3(a-d)).

Culture and educational agencies are the main media producers. They can be defined as city
centers, because of their leading role in city image. The formula of the intellectual events`
influence on the space development:

Media Event → Place → Renewal


Investment policy is conducted activity in Russia, which shows an increased interest in the
construction of new buildings in cities. The place of new buildings and construction is specified by
the government of Saint-Petersburg due to economic and urban development (Basic regulatory
legal acts concerning investment activity in St. Petersburg - St. Petersburg Government
Regulation, On Approval of St. Petersburg Strategic Investment Projects List and St. Petersburg
Strategic Investors List No. 837 dated June 21, 2005 (as amended on March, 1, 2011);
- St. Petersburg Government Regulation, On Approval of Statement on the Order of Decisions
Making as to Real Estate Property Providing for Construction and Renovation No. 1592 dated
September 21, 2004 (as amended on November 26, 2010)).

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Fig. 3(a-d). Intellectual event space in Saint-Petersburg, Russia: a) Cultural and entertainment
agencies attendance in Saint-Petersburg, Cultural and entertainment agencies attendance in
Russia, (INFOSTAT3, collection «Culture», 2010); b) Some media event “producers”;
c) The development of informatization in St. Petersburg; d) The connection of media space and
new construction

Several strategic development projects are determined (Pulkovo, New Holland Island, residential
buildings` renovation, etc.). This design is “top-down”. The investors` commercial initiative is
catching the “live” space for public zones and “anonymous” sites for other function development –
the design “bottom-up”. In this case it goes without saying that the space full of events have a
commercial, social, cultural potential. On the contrary if the goal to create a profitable and
interesting space, the solution will be to create eventful space (Fig. 4(a,b)).
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Fig. 4(a,b). New construction in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and the event space: a) The average
and growth of buildings; b) The overlap of new construction and media and social event space

The investigated social, cultural and eventful area in Saint-Petersburg, Russia:

- the 6-7 lines, Vasilievsky Island;

- Nevsky Prospect street;

- Sennaya Square.

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6-7 lines, Vasilievsky Island

The segment between Sredniy Prospect and University Embankment. The development was
started in 1710. Metro station was opened in 1967. The place became pedestrian in 1999-2003.
Before this time a lot of buildings were built and renovated (Fig. 5(a-c)).


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Fig. 5(a-c). The analysis of the 6-7 line Vasilievsky Island: a) The images and map; b) Urban data;
c) The activation analysis by media, social components and new construction

24-hour social life of this space provoked the emergency of numerous cafes, pubs, clubs and
hotels. After became pedestrian the street has been changing: new billboards are placed, the
facades are refreshed, cafes open new spaces, street musicians and other strange characters
widen the sense of street image.

Nevsky Prospect street

The segment between Admiralteysky Prospect and Ligovsky Prospect. The development was
started in 1703. The paving was changed several times. In 1835 on Nevsky Prospect gas street
lamps was appeared. The first cinemas are found in 1900-1910s. At the turn of XX and
XXI centuries, two pedestrian zone came to the Nevsky Prospect (In 1997 – Malaya
Konyushennaya Str. (the first in St. Petersburg), and in 2000 – Malaya Sadovaya Str.). Granite
paving was built (1999 – 2004). Communication changed, engineering services upgraded. In
2005-2006, almost all the facades of buildings adorned with artistic lighting. Nowadays Nevsky
Prospect continues to be a place where massive celebrations are held. In the New Year Day, Day
of Victory in Great Patriotic War (May 9) and the City Day (May 27) it is transformed into
pedestrian zone (Fig. 6(a-c)).

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Fig. 6(a-c). The analysis of the Nevsky Prospect: a) The images and map; b) Urban data;
c) The activation analysis by media, social components and new construction

The street is the most active space: the main traffic and tourist route. Despite the strict design
regulations for the center part, new construction and reconstruction grow "from the inside": attics
and atriums appear.

Sennaya Square

The development was started in 1703. In 1737 a market was established where hay, firewood,
oats and cattle were sold. It was called the Sennaya Ploshchad, "Hay Square." In 1753- 1765, the
Uspenskaya Church was built on the Sennaya Ploshchad. Sennaya Ploshchad was a bustling,
chaotic haymarket. During the Soviet era (the 1920th) the old market buildings were removed.
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In 1961 the church was demolished by order of local government to make way for a new metro
station. In 1910 – the first tram was launched (till 2007). New moll “Pik” was built in 2003 (new
steel and glass Metro stations and shops and landscaping). At the moment a new church is
building here in memory of the destroyed. The place is still bustling and chaotic (Fig. 7(a-c)).



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Fig. 7(a-c). The analysis of the Sennaya Square: a) The images and map; b) Urban data;
c) The activation analysis by media, social components and new construction

Hay Square is one of the most unstable places in the city. A large number of architectural and
urban planning projects focused on improving infrastructure, functional, visual appearance of this
space. Despite this, the character cannot be adjusted. Chaos social events are generating chaos
urban events: new construction occurs outside the context of the city, but with the same colors of
the market square.

All three spaces have a wide spectrum of telecommunication, functions, are diverse space,
heterogeneous. The zones are actively developed, a lot of new buildings, construction,
renovation are making here.


The concept of urban regeneration: creating events recreates the urban fragments. We believe
that the events have great regenerative and creative potentials, causing urban / environmental /
update. Events generated and distributed with the help of a virtual social web net, become a tool of
real city redesign. The place in the city is being developed as a result of the many events tied to
it. At the same time the indicator of development — is new construction, new feature, new
development, new image, new information.

The greater the number of events — the greater the updated physical shell of the city. The
better event — the better the environment (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8.
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Interaction of the existing urban structure with temporary environmental events, that is constant
information (virtual) and physical communication, leads to the formation of a new type of structure
(in line with the theory of self-organization). The city is evolving — and that is interlinked with the
evolution of "operators", affecting the people, events, ideas and situations. All of this suggests a
factor of chance and necessity of a responsible attitude to the events` making. The conceptual
focus of events forms a definite direction in the development environment. Thus, the event can be
considered as a tool activating the city:

- Environmental,

- Art,

- Patriotic,

- Commercial,

- Social, etc.

Some parameters to make an effective urban event:

- connected with urban space,

- involves various social stratum,

- ecological,

- creative,

- happened regularly,

- multifunctional,

- memorable.

Some parameters to redesign the city fragment in more effective:

- to attach various events to the place;

- to make the place polyfunctional;

- to design the place;

- to reflect the place identity;

- to create the scenario of public consumption of this place.

Urban context or structure is an open system, constantly exchanging information. The city is in a
state of disequilibrium, as there is a mobile environment, the fundamental instability and Innovation
(Ilya Prigogine, Isabelle Stengers. ORDER OUT OF CHAOS. Man's new dialogue with nature.
Heinemann. London. 1984).

Urban events that change the city — on the concept of Haken1 (Haken H. Self-organizing
company) — "order-parameters", are the control parameters. The urban area, in turn, determines
the appearance and behavior of these events, that is, there is a "cyclic of causality"
(Haken). Cause and effect mutually influence on each other. The same is Event + Urban

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Central to any of the situations is a creation, a reflection of creation, which causes further creative
process. The urban saturation of variety events leads to the formation of a diverse city.

The note

The paper was written for the International Conference on the knowledge basis for researching
contemporary urban development modes “The Media of the Metapolis” (Reflecting the knowledge
base of urban research Rencontres François Ascher) in Bauhaus-Universität Weimar , 24.-26.
May 2012


1. Norberg-Schulz Christian. Phenomenon of Place. Architectural Association Quarterly, no. 4,


2. Jacobs Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.

3. Haken Hermann. Information and self-organization: a macroscopic approach to complex

systems. Stuttgart, 2006.

4. Ruzavin Georgy. Self-organisation and organization in social evolution. Moscow, 1995.

5. Prigogine Ilya, Stengers Isabelle. Order out of Chaos: Man's new dialogue with nature.
Bantam Books, 1984.

6. Prigogine Ilya, Nicolis G. Self-Organization in Non-Equilibrium Systems. Wiley, 1977.

7. Information and publishing center "Statistics of Russia", Federal State Statistics Service.
Available at: http://www.infostat.ru/eng/index.html

8. The Territorial Authority of the Federal State Statistics Service in St. Petersburg and the
Leningrad region. Available at: http://petrostat.gks.ru


T. Reshetnikova
Architect, PhD student of Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Weimar, Germany, PhD student of the chair
“Planning and urban design”, Saint-Petersburg state university of architecture and civil
engineering, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
e-mail: reshettarch@gmail.com


Т.С. Решетникова
Архитектор, аспирант факультета урбанистики университета Баухауз Веймар, Германия,
аспирант кафедры «Урбанистика и дизайн городской среды», СпбГАСУ, Санкт-Петербург,
e-mail: reshettarch@gmail.com

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