The Soviet city as a landscape in the making

Aerial view of Samarkand in 2020 showing the old city (yellow), the colonial city (green), and Soviet-era apartment blocks and micro-rayons (orange). The areas of the city that are not coloured feature a mix of private dwellings, commercial and administrative buildings. The white box indicates the boundaries of the map by Ernst Giese (see Figure 1). Numbers indicate the approximate location of respondents’ houses
(c) Copernicus Sentinel data 2020, modified by the authors.

Following the launch of the mass housing campaign under Nikita Khrushchev, the cityscape of Soviet Samarkand still remains some changes and continuities of it. This paper examines the planning, building, appropriation, and renovation of public and private housing on the level of practices rather than policies and discourses. It relates these practices to the specific temporalities of Samarkand’s landscape, such as the life cycles of inhabitants, the change of seasons, or the timelines of material decay, among others. Continue reading “The Soviet city as a landscape in the making”