UN-Habitat rated Tomsk as a city with a high quality of life

UN-Habitat rated Tomsk as a city with a high quality of life

At the 3rd International University Cities Forum, experts recently presented preliminary conclusions on calculating the city prosperity index for Tomsk. This is a pilot project by TSU and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme - UN-Habitat. Tomsk is the first city in Russia for which such calculations are being carried out. The experts gave a positive assessment of the quality of life in the city and noted the high level of human development.

The city prosperity index consists of six dimensions that characterize the quality of life and sustainability of the city’s development: productivity, infrastructure, quality of life, equality and social inclusion, environmental sustainability, city management, and legislation.

UN-Habitat experts analyzed a number of spatial indicators: the structure of the city, the length of the road network, the density of intersections, and the access to open public spaces and green and recreational areas. Luis Herrera Favela, Coordinator of the City Prosperity Initiative, UN-Habitat, presented the results at the panel discussion The City of the Future: The Role of the University.

- According to the results of joint work with the TSU team, we already see a very high level of statistical data in Russia, but according to some index measurements, there is still a shortage of quantitative information, for example, on urban mobility and public transport. But this is more of a research opportunity than a problem, - said Luis Herrera Favela.

The expert added that Tomsk had made a positive impression on him, in particular, by its special atmosphere associated with the influence of universities and the scientific and educational complex in general.

- We compile maps based on satellite geo-information data that help calculate spatial indicators using the original UN-Habitat methodology, and this work is not completed yet. But now we can say: one of the potential regional development strategies is to take advantage of those areas of the city that adjoin the River Tom. An interesting feature of Tomsk is a large number of young people, students who have their own needs regarding the development of the urban environment - and this also gives a lot of positive opportunities.

The TSU part of the academic project, in turn, did a great job of adapting the methodology to the local context, aggregating and standardizing quantitative statistics, and also directly assembling the Tomsk Prosperity Index. The administration of the Tomsk Region and the City of Tomsk actively assisted in collecting statistical information. Quantitative data will be supplemented with qualitative data obtained as a result of a sociological survey of Tomsk residents.

The final results of the calculation of the index of urban prosperity for Tomsk, in accordance with the UN-Habitat work schedule, are expected by February-March 2019. According to preliminary estimates, Tomsk perhaps can already be attributed to a group of cities with a decent quality of life and sustainable development.

The presentation took place at the 3rd International Forum of University Cities, the theme of which is The University and the City in the Era of Global Challenges. Researchers consider the numerous global challenges that all university cities are now facing, for example, the exhaustion of economic growth opportunities and the need for effective development and use of space.