Industrial Heritage as a Driver for Placemaking. Urban Regeneration and Heritage Consideration in Saint Petersburg
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Many former industrial buildings are considered as significant historical monuments that impose certain restrictions for private developers and public authorities. However, preservation of heritage values produces various environmental and socio-economic benefits as strength of place identity, boosting tourism and attracting the creative sector. This master thesis aims to explore the role of industrial heritage in urban regeneration and placemaking processes in Saint Petersburg. Most of the research on this topic is conducted in the Western context. In Russia and other post-socialist countries, similar processes are taking place, but they attract less attention. This qualitative research is based on the review of relevant literature and policy documents, exploring case studies of industrial sites regeneration in Saint Petersburg, including semi-structured interviews with involved stakeholders. To answer the main research question, firstly, the concepts of heritage planning, industrial heritage, urban regeneration and placemaking were linked in the theoretical framework. Secondly, characteristics of industrial heritage sites transformation in St. Petersburg were examined, highlighting the main barriers and opportunities for development. On the example of the Sevkabel Port project, the study described what actors are involved in urban regeneration processes, and how do they combine the preservation of heritage values with achieving spatial development goals. Subsequently, the contribution of industrial heritage to placemaking was discussed. Although various barriers (lack of investments and legislations issues) of industrial heritage revitalisation in St. Petersburg, Sevkabel Port has made it possible to find new modern functions for these industrial monuments, to restore them and to open to citizens and visitors. The case study analysis of the Sevkabel factory redevelopment project revealed that the clash in the management of the site can not only create difficulties for the diverse stakeholders but also open up new possibilities for the placemaking process, presenting the new city symbol. Through this project, the research studies how collaboration between the city government, business and grassroots organizations can be facilitated. Therefore, this research explores the contribution of industrial heritage to placemaking and community empowerment in post-socialist countries. In conclusion, further elaboration of comprehensive regeneration and placemaking strategies would help St. Petersburg to transform its industrial heritage into the main identity sites and increase living standards.