Tomsk “Museum Quarter” Project and Increasing of Well-Being of Older People


The timeliness of this research is necessity to develop ways of the urban environment designing, based on the interaction of the city with its citizens. According to researches, it is not possible to create a comfortable and proportionate to the citizens' needs city environment, using only the efforts of professionals - designers and government structures. Appropriate research and qualified satisfaction of citizens' needs are key factors for creation of such environment. Particularly this process is able to prevent absence of changes demand for ordinary citizens, as well as to ensure the investment attractiveness of projects aimed at the development of the territory. An effective mechanism for the implementation of an integrated urban policy concept can be public-private partnership. The paper considers the postindustrial paths in the process of regeneration of the city and investigates the possibilities of the project “Museum Quarter” to be the driver of the territory development and the factor of emotional well-being of older people in the city.

Keywords: Urban regenerationwell-beingliveable citymuseumolder people


According to opinion of B. Ruble – the director of Kennan Institute, manager of comparative urban studies project at the International Center of Woodrow Wilson, urbanization - a process that is happening currently in unexpected ways: “This urban expansion is not a phenomenon of wealthy countries. Almost all of the growth will occur in unplanned and underserved city slums in parts of the world that are least able to cope with added demands. The pace of urbanization far exceeds the rate at which basic infrastructure and services can be provided, and the consequences for the urban poor have been dire. Failure to prepare for this unprecedented and inevitable urban explosion carries serious implications for global security and environmental sustainability” Garland, Massoumi & Ruble (2007).

In this regard, he was one of the first, who formulated the need for a coherent urban policy, which implies an ongoing dialogue between different parts of society. Particularly intensely this dialogue should be conducted with respect to the postindustrial city with its revitalization: B. Ruble (2007), S. Miles & R. Raddison (2005), J. J. Gregory (2016), L. Lees & C. Melhuish (2015); gentrification (2007), C. Hochstenbach & W. P. C. van Gent (2015), A. Luque-Ayala & S. Marvin (2015), A. Gospodini (2009), P. Sacco, G. Ferilli, G. Tavano Blessi (2014); regeneration and cultural clusterization: Ph. Northall (2014), V. Jonathan (2007).

One of the most influential social scientists of the XX century P. Bourdieu notes that modern Russian exploring city program, for the most part, are not based on the “historic criticism”, which is an integral part of the social sciences Bourdieu (1989). The consequences of this approach are non-criticality and extrasocial post-Soviet discourse about city, whereas, in the current context, it should not be confined to one intellectual paradigm.

English-American geographer, one of the founders of “radical geography”, Harvey D. has advanced an idea of “entrepreneurial cities”. The phenomenon of “entrepreneurial city”, in his opinion, is to change “management” activities (aimed at the services distribution management among citizens) into the “business” (search for investment from local and international investors). Harvey (2000).

Change of activity leads to a change of responsibilities and contrasting values. “Value in use” is associated with the priorities and utilitarian needs of everyday life. “Value Exchange” is unrealistic, global view of urban space use. It refers, first of all, to the investment of citizens in themselves, in their lives and their businesses, in the creation of opportunities and possibilities for their children, and second, to investments, the right in which population trusts government structures in the hope that collected taxes will be used for the public well.

Nowadays, in the post-industrial, post-stage of global business as the growth of the disease, the society becomes inevitable alignment of equal relations of all actors of urban space. This will contribute to the development of urban policies that can meet the challenge of time properly. Ideally, the philosophy of “entrepreneurial city” may be supplemented by the ideas of “comfortable for life city” (livable city), in other words, the city where the balance between economic growth, the environment and the public interests will be maintained. Moore-Cherry, Crossa & O’Donnell (2015).

Also there has been confirmed the following view in the scientific community: “the fundamental assumption of a cultural sociology of space is that analysis must deal with the dialectical relations between socio-spatial practices and the symbolic and cultural meanings that social agents attach to their environments (these two spheres are separated analytically, not as an ontological statement)” Richardson & Jensen (2003).

Interests to the problems of post-transformational society’s development combined with the analysis of the consequences of globalization impact. In this context, it is necessary to notice the work of P. Marcuse, social and cultural scientist “Globalizing Cities: a New Spatial Order” P. Marcuse, R. van Kempen (2000).

Problem statement and methods

The tendency of advancing research practices of modern urban space by cultural practices is becoming increasingly apparent. The observation of actual cultural practices of Tomsk shows that the initiation of urban development projects by regional and municipal authorities, media support these projects, lobbying at the level of the Federation, but the absolute passivity of ordinary citizens. However, there is a center of urban communities with its active cooperation with the centers of urban studies and urban studies of TSU and TPU, its real participation in urban projects, but involvement of citizens in urban projects - still weak. Formation of unstructured urban policy is clearly happening without support of the urban space study, which exists in the city and in the country.

Among the communities in the domestic urbanists overdue debate about the post-industrial city development strategies, there is a collision of several concepts: “smart city”, “culture-led regeneration”, method of estimation of comfort in the city of J. Gehl. Marcuse & van Kempen (2000); Trapenberg, Weinzimmer & Waddell (2015); Miles & Paddison (2005). “Culture-led regeneration” involves “the promotion of arts-based events and attractions along with encouraging the development of high quality housing and retail, and the attraction of professional businesses to the area” Middleton & Freestone (2008). However, “cultural regeneration programmes should not be considered a guaranteed solution to long standing social and economic problems” Middleton & Freestone (2008). B. Doucet (2007) also suggests that “cultural regeneration can encounter problems if it is not supported by residents, particularly those with a strong sense of local identity” (e.g. Glasgow). This conflict is also reflected by projects, which are spatially-linked with the modernization of the historical center of Tomsk. These are following projects “Tomsk embankments”, the establishment of Inter-University Campus, in the walls of the TSU project has gained the name of “University mile” and, finally, the establishment of “the Museum of the History of Science and Technology”. There are more projects for the creation of public urban spaces indicated in the road map “Ino Tomsk” such as, “Pine Forest”, “Football arena”, “Michael's Grove”, “Ushayka River floodplain of the river”, “Tatar Sloboda”, “Academpark”, “City Avenue”, “Mavlyukeevskoe Lake”, “Camp Garden”, as well as the project “Petrel stadium – South side – Botanic Garden” (

Citizens do not have clear idea of how a number of projects will be combined, on a fairly limited territory of the Moscowskiy tract and Tatar street. There could be several explanations: the discussions were local in nature, without the involvement of the wider public; the general plan of development of Tomsk has not also been presented to the wider public yet; there must be not only a plot plan, but also the master plan. Although the master plan, developed with the help of Dutch architectural agency and Delft University, is not saved and did not lead to systemic change of the Perm. At our place there is still no understanding of how modernize the city center: by its preservation and the rule of purely-protective strategies, either through aestheticization, but also based on the preservative instruments. In these circumstances, the question arises: how to mobilize the city’s community for the implementation of at least one project that meets the interests of both the socio-demographic groups, which are the most active consumers of cultural services in the city - the older people and students.

The analysis of domestic and foreign experience of modern museums activity allows to determine an important trend in the development of the museum space – “expansion”. It is based on the accession of new facilities: the creation of the Museum Quarter, streets. This is a unique “museum boom”. Examples are the “Museum Mile” in New York, the Museum Quarter in Vienna, the Museum Island in Berlin. “Germination” museum space in the urban environment takes place through the use of stands, Poster cabinets, shop windows, windows. Distant presentation of the museums in the city environment through performance art, use of the city architectural ensembles as the exhibition one. So, there are precedents for use of transport for images of museum objects. For example, the Tretyakov Gallery in the project “Tribute to Kazimir Malevich” used trams. Russian Museum, Moscow metro train used to accommodate 36 watercolors from the collection. Space approach to development of the modern museum, in our opinion, ensures the continuity of the museum in time and history, ability to adapt in space of changing cultural needs, demand as socio-cultural institute and projective property as a cultural model.

The survey was held, it showed, that major consumers of cultural services in Tomsk are students and seniors. These are the biggest two target groups. According to statistic data, today there are72 thousands of students from 75 Russian regions and 10 thousands of students from 47 foreign countries in the city. Thus, each seventh citizen – is a student ( According to the data of Official portal of “The city of Tomsk” number of pensioners, registered in the Administration of the Pension Fund of the RF in the city of Tomsk is 122 737 people ( Thus, each fourth citizen – is a pensioner.

Results and discussion

Already established connection, collaborative studies of urban space, performed by scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University and Technology University of Delft, could promote inclusion of “Museum Quarter” into global cultural agenda. Besides, this idea works for the movement of Tomsk universities into Top 100 of the best world universities.

Data, obtained as a result of monitoring of Internet resources, will become a background for creation of the project “Museum Quarter”, based on modern conceptions of “integral museum” and “cultural expansion” of museum. Our approach to space development could be maned as “rhizosphere”. In our opinion, it makes sense to use, for example, ideas of creation of new University campus, museum of science and engineering history as a center of Museum Quarter with pedestrian axis Moskovsky tract – Sovyetskaya – Batenkova – Kuznechny vzvoz. Thus, museum will be considered not as a single building, but it will become center of Museum Quarter, and Museum Quarter, in its turn, could be the a driver of territory development, consolidation university museums, Museum of regional studies, First private museum of Slavic mythology, Museum of Tomsk history an even Museum of wooden masterpieces. Museum Quarter will be the place, filled with different houses, monuments of architecture and not only monuments, but simply with everything, what forms this quarter in the center of Tomsk city, where many different building of different time, value and quality are located. Citizens could have not only simple possibility to walk down the streets of Museum Quarter, visiting some distinct museums, but being at this territory, they could feel presence at special museum space, providing sense of cultural identity. The complexity of overbuild territory should be definitely considered in city planning process. We are not Vienna museum quarter, and not Museum Island in Berlin, we have special city space with its uniqueness and values, and it is very important how we could develop this space.

It is expected to start dialogue with the city and its citizens already in the nearest time in a new format – project session. It is possible to organize Annual transregional cultural event, dedicated to conceptual development of “Museum Quarter” with participation of experts in museum designing, cluster cultural policy, territorial planning and developing, architecture and design, history, area study, sociology and media.

At this session elaboration of aim and mechanism of project realization is expected; as well as team project formation; group of Russian and international partners; information platform and event map of “Museum Quarter”; formation of key approaches to development of business-plan and principles of participatory project budgeting.

Results of the poll, held among representatives of these target groups, showed, that both students and pensioners think, that there is lack of museums in the city. Regardless of the fact that in Tomsk there are active Museum of regional studies and Art museum, unique Museum of wooden masterpieces, Museum of Tomsk history, Museum of political prison of NKVD. Moreover, First private museum of Slavic mythology actively work in the city. School and university museums, in particular, in TSU: museum of TSU history, archeology and ethnography, museum of herbarium, book, mineral– paleontological and zoological museum; museum of TPU history, TSUAB history, TSUCSR (TUSUR) history, museum of turf under TSPU and many others. Moreover, there is one beyond the Urals Botanical Garden in Tomsk; planetarium. Also in Tomsk uptown, in Timiryazevo settlement, there is “Tomsk museum of forest” – the oldest museum of forest in Russia.

Supposing that under this quantity and diversity of museum conceptions in the city, major consumers of cultural services think, that there are not enough museums, because museum institution work, generally, separately, not forming unified museum space, connecting past and future of the city, giving possibility to citizens to find something essential and important for them during every visit to such space. Whereas, there is a need to provide interaction of the city with its citizens comprehensively and extensively, in order to meet needs of time. Exactly museum helps to do this as a social institution, providing connection between past, present and future.

Let us concentrate on the most numerous strategic segment –seniors (Tomsk pensioners). “When elderly citizens ages in a society it is vital that they stay active, creative, and they have access to public and commercial services. This improves their quality of life and reduces social isolation” Doucet (2007). At the same time the ageing trend challenges “infrastructure and urban form that need to be redesigned to increase the attractiveness of and well-being in cities and reduce a social isolation resulting from a reduced social network” OECD (2015). In the course of this research, focus group was held with representatives of this strategic segment. Results of focus group shows that senior citizens of Tomsk are conservators. Relevant semantic markers for them –adulthood, traditions, heritage. Representatives of Tomsk pensioners have the following opinion and priorities: nature, dacha, domesticity, past, moral high ground, classic art. Among participants of focus group 24% were members of culture organizations, 27% were volunteers during past year, 70% paid for any kind of exhibition, 40% spent money for culture in previous month. The 14 times per year is the average visit frequency of art events by seniors. Moreover, they have plenty of free time, like to spend free time close to their home or in historical center of the city, have established choices, traditional art views. They like history, period houses and interiors, parks and gardens, opera and theatre, classic music, bird watching. They do not like events, festivals, popular culture, experiments, «on the edge», new trends, contemporary art and architecture. Thus, senior citizens of Tomsk follow established choices during visits to the museums, not fashion. The major reasons for a visit are – search of awe, surprising and nostalgia. Art is the “light” escape from everyday life for them. Therefore, there are the following effective methods of influence on them: focus on nostalgia, emphasis on traditions, and value for money.


The establishment of multifunctional complex provides opportunities for the creation of interacting environment, common interests and authentic city consolidation. “Museum Quarter” of Tomsk could be one of the most important image projects of the city as cultural, intellectual and communicative center with different areas of activities, developed commercial infrastructure and qualitative transformation of adjacent territory.

The creation of unique public space with chain of museums and art-galleries, art- and time clubs, co-working centers, as well as active involvement into the project of residential complexes and neighborhood spaces, use of common territorial, organizational, administrative and informational resources – are the milestones of the event map of the «quarter» and its functioning.

«Museum Quarter» is the project with exactly infrastructure character and all risks, connected with its launch, should take into account complex nature of multilayer communications of postindustrial period. There were no projects, capable to focus on relations of city with its citizens comprehensively and extensively in Tomsk since the moment of its contemporary history. Investments for improvement, creation of really relevant public spaces, architectural masterpieces are also not expected. All efforts are spent on finishing building of economic welfare zones and road repair. The proposed project of “Museum Quarter” has different nature and character. This is the project of social consensus that is in-demand.


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Kolodii,  . A., Agranovich, V. B., Goncharova, N. A., & Chayka, Y. A. (2017). Tomsk “Museum Quarter” Project and Increasing of Well-Being of Older People. In F. Casati, G. А. Barysheva, & W. Krieger (Eds.), Lifelong Wellbeing in the World - WELLSO 2016, vol 19. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 223-229). Future Academy.