Daria Volkova

Vita

Daria Volkova is a PhD student at the Institute for European Urban Studies at Bauhaus University Weimar. She holds Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning from HSE University. Being a researcher at the Laboratory of Urban Sociology at HSE University in Moscow in 2019-2021, she explored the topics of urban and housing policy: residential mobility of citizens, urban expertise and consultancy, urban governance and interrelations between residents and authorities. Alongside her academic career, she participates in projects which promote public and research interest in prefabricated mass housing on post-socialist space and residents activity in such neighborhoods (“ACT|UP” project by Dekabristen e.V. and “Pro Nachbarschaften” by Kompetenzzentrum Großsiedlungen e.V.). In her PhD thesis, supported by DAAD scholarship, Daria focuses on the system of maintenance of mass housing and explores it comparatively on the example of cases from Russia and Germany.

Abstract

Ecologies of maintaining mass housing: Cases from Russia, former East, and West Germany

The study explores how different actants frame ecologies of maintenance on the example of mass housing located in Russia (Kaliningrad), former East and West Germany: three housing systems where the question of how to provide infrastructure was approached differently. I argue that differences in how well the mass housing in each case is sustained till the day could not be explained purely by turning exclusively to institutional peculiarities or the flow of investments. Not downplaying these factors, this research takes a micro-perspective on materiality and maintenance, unpacking those factors, and sees them in action. In research, the materiality of mass housing is covered surprisingly unsystematically: some researchers focus only on the physical environment, others omit materiality as it does not influence any social process. This study treats materiality as an important actant in the net of human – non-human relationships and uncovers how maintenance is framed institutionally. The study is based on in-depth interviews with the residents of mass housing blocks, experts on city development, authorities, technical specialists, experts in the repair, and ethnographic observations, supplemented by schemes of maintenance, instructions, and plans. It focuses on the techniques and borders of repair, interaction with the material environment outside the apartments, and on shared infrastructure: utilities such as water supply, electricity, as well as staircases, yards, and greenery, and develops a complex approach to study mass housing.

Publications

Volkova D. (2021) Boutique Consultancy and Personal Trust: Advising on Cities in Moscow. In: Hurl C., Vogelpohl A. (eds) Professional Service Firms and Politics in a Global Era. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-72128-2_5

Volkova D. (2021) Cheloveko-metry, potrebiteli, «pravil'nye» i «nepravil'nye» zhiteli: reprezentatsiya gorozhanina v diskurse o novykh zhilykh rayonakh Moskvy [Resources, Consumers, Non-citizens: Representation of the Citizens in the Discourse of the New Residential Areas in Moscow]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 20, no 3, pp. 215-243 (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.17323/1728-192x-2021-3-215-243

Keywords

mass housing

maintenance

actor-network theory

infrastructure