Ilsur Metshin: “We must preserve the Kazan identity, but at the same time develop the city”
Today, the All-Russian
forum “Model of the City's Identity. Continuity. Sustainability. Development”
started in Kazan at the center for contemporary culture Smena. The forum is
attended by International and Russian experts, chief architects and artists
from ten Russian cities.
“In order to
manage the immaterial heritage properly, it is necessary to have a clear
framework for decision-making”
The main subject of the forum is preservation of the
identity and immaterial heritage of cities-a unique cultural code, and the
search for a balance of these areas of work with the constant development of
the urban environment.
“It is pleasant, that we have reached the point of
discussing issues such as the identity and immaterial heritage of our cities
–the Mayor noted when opening the forum. – Even 10 years ago, when every fourth
roof in Kazan was leaking, half of the elevators in the houses were on the
verge of breakdown, there were bad roads – the idea of holding such a forum
would seem at least weird. But now Kazan has been put in order with the support
of the Federal center and the President of our Republic. And there was a
question-what should be built in the next 20 years? What should be a priority
for our architects and designers of public urban spaces? Do we need to copy or
try to maintain our identity? I am sure that the discussion that will take
place at our forum is important for many Russian cities, and working together
will help find answers to important questions”.
Cultural values, history, and citizens have an important
role in creating unique atmosphere in cities. For example, the individuality of
Kazan is inextricably connected with the mutual influence of the Tatar and
Russian peoples, Islam and Orthodoxy, East and West, said I.Metshin.
The head of the city recalled that in the capital of
Tatarstan there is a practice of discussing with citizens the reconstruction of
infrastructure facilities. However, when discussing immaterial heritage, it is
often difficult to come to a single decision.
A remarkable breakthrough was the law on cultural
heritage sites adopted in the Republic. The Mayor recalled that a working group
on the development of the historical center of Kazan was created on the
initiative and support of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, one of its
main tasks is development of practical recommendations for Kazan immaterial
heritage management -the concept of sustainable development of the historical
“Citizens do not claim us to become an open-air museum
– we must preserve the Kazan identity, but at the same time develop the city,
making it comfortable, green and attracting,”- I.Metshin said.
Participation of experts from different Russian
cities, as well as experts from other countries, will allow us to consider the
issues cities’ identity from different sides, the Mayor said. “This forum is meant
to strike the right balance between the interests of developers and those
people who guard the architectural heritage, but also to unite the joint efforts
and get the energy to move forward”, - he said.
“It is important
to find immaterial heritage not only in the historical center of Kazan – there
are memorable sites in all districts of the city”
The immaterial heritage of Kazan is located not only
in the historical center, but also beyond, said Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina, chief
architect of Kazan. In her opinion, each part of the city is linked with a
history that includes customs, forms of expression- language, artifacts, and
cultural space. It is this heritage that creates the city’s identity and allows
citizens to identify themselves with a certain territory.
The issue of preserving the city’s immaterial heritage
is one of the blocks of developing the sustainable development concept of the
historical center of Kazan. At the moment, according to the chief architect of
the city, two stages of the concept have already been developed. “The third
stage is the most difficult, but we are going to discuss it at the forum to
take into account all the details”, - said I.Tukhvatullina.
The forum will be held for three days. On February 8,
it is planned to discuss the practices of sociocultural programming of certain
territories. The forum will end on February 9 - on this day, a project seminar
will be held to discuss the sociocultural block of the concept of sustainable
development of the historical settlement.