Planning of Rural Populated Areas

Planning of Rural Populated Areas


(planning and construction of rural populated areas), in the USSR, the set of measures for reconstructing existing towns and villages and building new, consolidated rural settlements in a single settlement system with the cities.

The planning of rural populated areas takes place in the course of the socioeconomic transformation of the countryside. It involves solving engineering and technical problems, as well as problems in architecture and construction and in health and hygiene, by a number of measures, including replanning, improving public amenities in a particular area from the standpoint of engineering, choosing sites for construction work, and organizing systems for providing the population with cultural and domestic services. These measures are carried out with due regard for the importance and location of rural populated areas in the pattern of settlement, as well as for the natural environment and national traditions and customs.

The CPSU and the Soviet government believe that it is a matter of state importance to reconstruct rural settlements and overcome the fundamental differences between the living conditions of the rural and urban populations. At each stage of the development of the national economy, the planning of rural populated areas has faced specific problems. In the 1920’s, measures were adopted to organize land use, ensure the observance of fire prevention and sanitary requirements, and improve the appearance of rural settlements. In the 1930’s, after the collectivization of agriculture was completed, new complexes of buildings and installations (clubs, brigade yards, and livestock farms) were erected, giving rise to the preconditions for changes in the structure and principles of the planned organization of rural settlements and creating the foundation for the development of the socialist village. The first designs and plans were drawn up at this time.

During the second half of the 1940’s, the towns and villages destroyed during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) were reconstructed. In addition, projects for planning and construction were elaborated, as were model designs for kolkhoz villages, sovkhoz farmsteads, MTS’s (machine-tractor stations), and livestock farms. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the consolidation of farms and the development of the virgin lands, efforts were directed at regional planning of rural raions, at planning the central settlements of sovkhozes and kolkhozes, and at developing a series of model plans for residential and production buildings, as well as facilities for cultural and domestic services. The Program of the CPSU (1973, p. 85) set the goal of gradually transforming the kolkhoz villages into consolidated, urban-type populated areas, in terms of cultural facilities and everyday services. A program for the reconstruction of rural populated areas was elaborated in the decisions of the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses of the CPSU and the March 1965 Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, as well as in decrees issued by the Central Committee and by the Council of Ministers of the USSR—On the Regularizaron of Construction in the Countryside (1969) and Measures for the Further Development of Agriculture in the Nonchernozem Zone of the RSFSR (1974). In addition, these decisions and decrees included organizational and material and technical measures to make possible a practical and large-scale solution to the problems of the reconstruction of rural populated areas.

A number of factors predetermined the formation of populated areas of different production and functional types and the development of local systems of interdependent settlement: the transition to industrial agriculture, the establishment of agrarian and industrial conglomerates and associations, the expansion of interfarm and intersector links, the intensification of labor and cultural and everyday contacts between the urban and rural populations, and the development of the road network and transportation. The plan calls for identifying “promising” settlements among the already established rural settlements. Promising settlements are usually distinguished by greater size; convenient location with respect to management, production, and transportation; favorable natural conditions; basic residential, cultural, and production buildings; and rudimentary public service engineering facilities. Population is gradually concentrated in those settlements, which become focal points for the construction of production, residential, and cultural buildings, as well as facilities for domestic services. Public services are also improved. The rest of the populated areas (more than 60 percent of the rural settlements) are called unpromising because they are, for the most part, small and economically unimportant. Their inhabitants are to be gradually resettled in the promising settlements. Nevertheless, necessary (minimal) construction is carried out and necessary public services are provided in the unpromising settlements, which are to be maintained for a certain time.

The planning structure and the types of buildings are established with due regard for the production and functional characteristics of the settlement, its role in the pattern of settlement, the surrounding landscape, the character of existing planning and construction, and territorial conditions of development. When a plan for a settlement is drawn up, a number of problems are considered: functional zoning; the organization of transportation and pedestrian links within the community and with neighboring areas and farmland as well as with production complexes and livestock farms located outside the settlement; and the purposeful location of residential and production construction sites.and public buildings. The plan also takes into account the development of a public center and the organization of leisure time. The architectural and spatial composition of the entire settlement, as well as its basic elements as a single ensemble, is defined by the plan, as are the order of development and the sequence in which the settlement and its various components are to be completed. Functional zoning provides for open areas between livestock complexes (for veterinary purposes and fire prevention) and between production and residential zones (for public health and sanitation).

The raion administrative centers, the central settlements of kolkhozes and sovkhozes, the agrarian and industrial settlements, and other promising rural populated areas have well-developed links with other settlements and cities, an expanded set of cultural institutions and facilities for domestic services, and a well-developed production zone. They also have high-density residential construction, with two- to four-story residential buildings, and they benefit from a variety of architectural and planning concepts. Most of the settlements of sovkhoz divisions and livestock farms have individual residential units, a limited number of cultural institutions and facilities for domestic services, and the traditional rural appearance. Some of them have a simplified layout.

The initial standards and regulations, as well as the methods for designing and building settlements, are determined on the basis of regional characteristics, including natural and climatic conditions, economic development, national customs and local mores, and differences in the social and demographic composition of the population. Among the standards and regulations that must be established are the structure of residential buildings, according to the type of apartments; the number of floors; and structural concepts for houses.

Unfavorable natural and climatic conditions (excessive heat and hot, dry winds; cold winds; and drifting snow) predetermine the space and volume concepts that ensure the protection of a settlement from harmful effects of the environment. Under favorable conditions, by contrast, planning concepts ensure openness and the interpenetration of built-up areas and the natural environment. The area of residential construction is usually divided into blocks or groups of residential buildings (“residential groups”) of various types. In some of them, the apartments are provided with plots of land for private gardens. (Usually, these are individual, two-apartment, or multiapartment interconnected buildings, one or two stories high.) Other residential groups (modular, two- to four-story hotel-type apartments) do not provide plots of land. Residential groups or blocks are also divided into green areas with gardens, leisure areas, children’s play areas, athletic fields, and areas for economic units. The group, or block, method of planning is most typical of settlements located in relatively flat areas, where every apartment is provided with a plot of land. In planning, groups of residential buildings permit the most economical construction of street and engineering and technical networks, better adaptation to relief and other local conditions, and the creation of picturesque architectural and spatial compositions.

The establishment of public centers reflects the rising level of social activity and culture and the development of communication among the rural population, outside of their production links. The composition and capacity of the cultural and domestic services institutions of a settlement’s public center depend on the size of the settlement, its national economic importance, and its position in the pattern of settlement. In conformity with the uniform, three-step territorial system for establishing cultural and domestic services in rural administrative raions, institutions for everyday services are located in the settlements of sovkhoz divisions and other settlements assigned to step I. Institutions providing everyday and periodic services are built in central and agrarian and industrial settlements, which are assigned to step II, and institutions for everyday, periodic, and occasional services are established in the step-III settlements, small cities, and raion administrative centers. The public center usually includes an administrative building, a club or a House of Culture, stores, and sometimes a school and sports facilities.

The planned organization of the best rural settlements, where there has been a significant degree of reconstruction or new construction, is characterized by rationality and convenience. These settlements have a high level of cultural and domestic services and feature expressive architectural ensembles that complement the natural environment. Among the most outstanding rural settlements are Dainava in the Lithuanian SSR, which has been under construction since 1965 (architects, R. Kamaitis, V. K. Simkus); the village of Kodaki in Kiev Oblast, the Ukrainian SSR (architects, V. la. Kriuchkov, M. M. Mel’nikov, B. A. Pritsker, and L. L. Semeniuk); and the community of Saku in Harju Raion, the Estonian SSR, where construction was begun in 1958 (architects, B. B. Mirov, V. Pormeister, and V. Herkel).


Kondukhov, A. N., and A. B. Mikhailov. Planirovka izastroika sel’skikh poselkov. Moscow, 1966.
Planirovka i zastroika sel’ skikh naselennykh mest (rekommendatsii po proektirovaniiu). Moscow, 1971.
Tobilevich, B. P. “Problemy arkhitektury sela.” Arkhitektura SSSR, 1971, no. 9
TsNIIEPgrazhdansel’stroi: Rekomendatsii po proektirovaniiu eksperimental’ no-pokazatel’nykh poselkov sovkhozov i kolkhozov. Moscow, 1973.


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