Public Service Planning for Populated Areas

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Public Service Planning for Populated Areas


the aggregate of work and measures carried out to create healthy, comfortable, and cultural living conditions for the public in cities, urban-type settlements, rural populated places, health resorts, and mass-recreation sites. These services include some areas that come under city planning. Above all, the term concerns the level of engineering equipment of populated places and the sanitary and hygienic condition of their atmospheres, reservoirs, and soil. Public services include preparatory engineering for a territory, road construction, and the development of municipal transportation, the construction of main installations and community networks for water supply, sewage, power supply, and so forth. Public services also include planting trees and shrubs, improving the microclimate, sanitizing and protecting from pollution the atmosphere, the reservoirs, and the soil, providing waste disposal, lowering the level of city noise, and reducing the possibility of street injuries.

Prerevolutionary Russia had an extremely low level of public service planning. For example, in terms of the condition of its water supply, Russia was one of the most backward countries in Europe. There were sewage systems in only 18 cities, and there were no central heating systems. Under Soviet power a great deal of success has been achieved in the field of public services. The state allocates considerable capital investment for this purpose. The high degree of organization of public services depends on rational planning, comprehensive organization of industrial and residential sectors, and a system of urban and regional centers that determine the networks of public, cultural, and service establishments and create the most favorable conditions for work, home life, social activity, and recreation.

The municipal administration plays an important role in public services. It ensures the uninterrupted operation of community networks and enterprises (city boiler houses, heat and electric power stations, gas substations, gas works, refuse-processing plants) and also municipal transport and communal service establishments (bathhouses, laundries, everyday services). The municipal administration makes the most expeditious use of residential and public buildings, sports installations, and parks.

In the Soviet Union measures for public services are determined by the general plans for the development of cities. The choice of a territory that meets basic city-planning requirements is of particular importance for new cities and new residential areas that are being constructed in old cities. Solving problems of public services is made substantially easier if the territory chosen includes forests and reservoirs that are preserved for the construction of parks and recreation sites and if there are no swampy sections, ravines, landslide areas, or other difficulties. Unfavorable features can be eliminated by preparatory engineering on the territory, including the construction of drainage facilities and embankments, the filling in and silting of soil, vertical planning (changing the relief of the terrain), drainage of surface atmospheric waters, and so forth. In the reconstruction of cities, public services include reinforcing the banks of city reservoirs, improving sidewalks, laying underground communications lines, and constructing embankments, transportation bypasses, and tunnels.

In order to improve the sanitary conditions of the environment, there are plans for a gradual transfer from residential areas of industrial enterprises that discharge unhealthy waste. There are also plans to change their technological processes, hermetically seal equipment, and introduce effective purifying facilities. Heat and electric power stations and boiler houses are being converted from ash-yielding fuel to gas, and tall chimneys that effectively disperse smoke are being constructed. Newly constructed industrial enterprises, railroad stations and junctions, and heat and electric power stations are located at distances determined by sanitary norms, and their construction proceeds according to technological plans that ensure maximal recovery of by-products to prevent pollution of the atmosphere by harmful contaminants and of reservoirs by unpurified sewage. Important for industrial areas are the planting of trees and shrubs at industrial enterprises, the organization of safe, comfortable, and rapid transportation from the place of residence to the place of work, and the creation of stops and parking places for public and individual vehicles. Examples of a high standard of public services at places of work are the V. I. Lenin Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Station, the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU Volga Hydroelectric Power Station, the Likhachev and Kalibr plants in Moscow, the metallurgical combine in Rustavi, and the Zaporozh’e Steel Plant.

In residential areas integrated public services are provided in microraions. In addition to the construction of cultural buildings, trees and shrubs are planted, and sidewalks, thoroughfares, playgrounds, and athletic fields are built. A successful example of integrated planning, building, and public services is the new residential district of Zhirmunai in the city of Vilnius. A great deal of attention is paid to providing public services for the entire urban (or settlement or village) center and other public centers. With the growth of city traffic, there has been an increase in the scale of public service work for streets, improvement of the pavements and intersections of city roads, construction of underground crossings for pedestrians, and the lighting of streets, squares, embankments, gardens, parks, and public gardens throughout the community.

Municipal power, which includes heating and electricity and gas supply, is very important for public services. Rational organization of heating, electrical and gas networks, municipal boiler houses, electrical substations, and city gas plants is one of the important factors in raising the level of public services and improving the sanitary condition of communities. A long-term trend in the organization of public services is the use of electric power for heating and preparing food. Central heating, cooling, and electrical supply, as well as airconditioning in public and residential buildings, is being introduced in populated places in the hot regions of the USSR.

An important aspect of public services is the sanitation of populated places (the collection of garbage and waste, use and destruction of waste, observance of cleanliness in city areas, and rational use of the fleet of communal vehicles). One of the essential problems of Soviet city planning whose solution is closely associated with a rise in the level of public services is the planting of trees and shrubs in cities and settlements. In addition to their architectural and artistic value, green plants promote sanitary living conditions for the population. (They improve the microclimate of the community, lower the noise level, protect against wind and snow, and are among the most important factors in soil protection.) The role of green plants is particularly important in the provision of public services in health resort cities and districts (the resort cities of Sochi, Kislovodsk, and others). Outside city limits, public services provide for suburban and green zones that are used for the expansion of cities, organization of public recreation areas, construction of installations associated with public services (water intakes, electrical substations, electrical transmission lines, and purification installations for water pipes and sewage), and the planting of trees and shrubs for their protective and sanitary hygienic functions.

Public services for rural communities include electrification, roadwork, the construction of water hydrant networks, the planting of trees and shrubs, and sanitation. These public services are provided above all in the central settlements of sovkhozes and kolkhozes, which are being gradually transformed into consolidated urban-type communities.

Foreign city planning is characterized by an extremely uneven degree of public services for individual cities and communities. In the USA, for example, there have been many achievements in public services in the area of city roads, parking places, national parks, recreation areas, and so forth. At the same time, in some large cities—New York, for one—such problems as purifying the air and providing the necessary lighting remain unsolved. In many cities in capitalist countries one frequently finds, along with well-planned areas, entire blocks of slums that lack rudimentary public services. This is evidence of the deep contradictions in capitalist cities, the source of which is private ownership of land and the means of production.

In the USSR modern demands for the development of communities require a steadily increasing scale of public services. The Program of the CPSU declares: “In the forthcoming period a broad program of communal construction and organization of public services for all cities and workers’ settlements will be carried out; it will require completion of their electrification, the provision of gas and telephone networks to the degree necessary, the provision of public transportation, water pipes, and sewage systems, and the implementation of a system of measures to make living conditions in the cities and other communities more healthful, including the provision of greenery and water and a resolute struggle against pollution of the air, soil, and water” (1965, p. 94).


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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