Еkaterinburg is in search of a brand meaning
22.10.2021 — News
The authorities of Ekaterinburg will soon announce a competition to decide the city's new brand, timing this must have to coincide with the city's 300th anniversary, which will take place in 2023. It so happened that since the beginning of the 21st century, the megalopolis on the Iset River has been searching for its modern identity. For the past 20 years, the governors of the Sverdlovsk Region and the mayors of Ekaterinburg have each had their own vision of the city with a population of over 1.5 million people, of course, influenced by various national and social trends.
An echo back from Yeltsin's times tells us that this was an opposition city (and still is!) The location between Europe and Asia creates the role of a hub city. The shortage of qualified staff reinforces the strategy of a higher education city. A plethora of theatres, museums, architectural objects, and people from the world of culture have their voices heard louder and louder.
The year 2021 will most likely become the point of no return to the shuffling image of Ekaterinburg. Alexey Orlov, who became Mayor this year, clearly understands that this must be a city that one wants to live in and not leave. And this can be done by citizens who care. This is how the Council of Indifferent People was created under the Mayor.
Maria Loshak, Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, invited to the Council meeting on October 21, could not hide her excitement about the idea and even asked to include her, a Muscovite, into its composition. According to the guest, Ekaterinburg is revealing its museum potential before our very eyes. Currently, there is a branch of the Pushkin Museum in the city - the Contemporary Art Centre - but Loshak sees a possibility to increase the "capital city" presence. And this, in particular, is prompted by the opening of the Hermitage-Ural Cultural and Educational Centre in 2021.
From the very beginning of its work, the team of Alexey Orlov took the course towards finding a consensus between the interests of various groups of citizens. Historic preservation activists in Ekaterinburg have been in conflict with developers for many years, environmental activists have criticized the development plans for logistical centres, and officials receive a portion of criticism from journalists for the lousy state of transport. This discussion may be eternal; conflicts must not torment the city.
The discussion on turning Vainera Street, a pedestrian walkway that literally begins at the city hall, into the city's highlight has been discussed more than once over the past decade. Sure, Ekaterinburg's Arbat has undergone some changes, but it still does not attract the locals like a magnet, and tourist guides do not lead guests there. However, as RusBusinessNews mentioned earlier, the Mayor's office is attempting to help and provide what is required and what appeals to both the architectural firms and the public.
The situation is similar to the Iset River, which gave life to the city, but now leads a miserable existence. The competitive environment, including in the public discussion of ideas for developing the embankment, which could become the longest in Europe, reduces the degree of the city's protest. Socially significant, socially beneficial - this becomes a leitmotif for the city administration's decision-making.
Ekaterinburg, named after the revolutionary Sverdlov in 1924, has had its historical name for 30 years, but it seems the "revolution in the minds" has not subsided. This is the symbol of the city's third century, but we cannot enter the fourth century with this mindset.
What is the point of the competition for a new city brand? It is not about changing the coat of arms adopted at the end of the 90s. Instead, we must change the cultural code, the dominant of the metropolis. The development of its territories through dialogue is timely and undeniable. And further, Ekaterinburg doesn't need a standard indicator of the quality of life; instead, it needs a feeling of the unique sense of life in this city.
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