Geography Students At Moscow State University Determine Value Of Yekaterinburg's Green Zones

The participants of the expedition. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University
The participants of the expedition. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University

The recreational value of Yekaterinburg's urban green areas was determined by the students at the Geography Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University as part of a winter expedition of the Department of Physical Geography and Landscape Studies. The group from Moscow was greatly assisted in conducting research by employees at Ural State Pedagogical University and activists of the Sverdlovsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society.

In the period from January 25 to February 6, the expedition participants created winter landscape descriptions of parks and their functional areas. Sociological surveys were conducted within the framework of the project. The result of the study will be a rating of parks according to several criteria at once. Among them are natural value, aesthetic appeal, landscaping, transport accessibility, safety, and suitability for various types of recreation. It is also planned to conduct a spatial analysis of the supply and demand of leisure activities in the city.

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The participants of the expedition are at work. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University
The participants of the expedition are at work. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Lomonosov Moscow State University

“Yekaterinburg is a progressive industrial city in which industrial zones, residential buildings, and green spaces occupy approximately the same area. In addition to the rather dense landscaping of the streets, an abundance of squares and parks, the city is surrounded by a ring of forest parks. The main purpose of these forests is to reduce air pollution, moderate the climate, and preserve indigenous landscapes, but they are also actively being developed for various types of recreation. It is important for the city to maintain a balance between the ecological functions of parks and their recreational use. This balance allows to maintain the functional zoning of the territory. In simple words, we are building cafes, sports areas, and playgrounds in the most accessible and landscape-resistant parts of the park, and we do not even lay paths through the most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems, thereby reducing the flow of vacationers. We carried out route surveys of almost all major parks of the city describing the landscape diversity and landscaping of the territory, assessed transport and pedestrian accessibility, and conducted a survey of residents of the city. Thus, we want to balance supply and demand for different types of leisure activities, preserving the most valuable landscapes of the city's green zones," said Tatyana Kharitonova, head of the expedition, Associate Professor at the Department of Physical Geography and Landscape Studies at the Faculty of Geography of Lomonosov Moscow State University.

The geographers at the Moscow State University worked together with landscape specialists from the Department of Geography, Methods of Geographical Education, and Tourism of USPU. The objectives of the expedition coincide with the scientific research topics of the university and the Sverdlovsk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, meeting the needs of modern Yekaterinburg. Plans have been outlined for further cooperation with Yekaterinburg landscape scientists and Ural State Pedagogical University (USPU).

The expedition participants express their gratitude for the help and hospitality to Svetlana Minyurova, Chairman of the Sverdlovsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society and Rector of USPU; Oksana Yanzer, Director of the Institute of Natural Sciences, Physical Culture and Tourism; Olga Guryevskikh, Head of the Department of Geography, Methods of Geographical Education, and Tourism of USPU; and Natalia Skok, Associate Professor at the Department.

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The participants of the expedition. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University
The participants of the expedition. Photo: Faculty of Geography of Lomonosov Moscow State University

Alexander Zhirnov