University campuses will have multilingual address plaques

Tomsk universities are implementing an inter-university project: “City - University”. One of its objectives is to make campuses easier to navigate. The address plaques will be installed on university buildings and then on objects of social infrastructure – museums, theaters, sports facilities, cafés and restaurants, and hospitals.

In recent years, Tomsk universities have recruited many students from abroad. There are also plans to develop Tomsk as a tourist destination – the city is rich with wooden and stone architecture of the 18th-20th centuries, and the region can boast of some unique natural sights.

The project team conducted a survey to identify the need for multilingual navigation help. In this survey, international students said that Tomsk can be improved in some areas to better accommodate international guests. For example, the students noted the lack of address plaques in the Latin alphabet, which would be helpful for people who do not know any Russian and are not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet.

“The Russian language is still the dominant one, but the information will be repeated in another alphabet in a smaller font. Design is made in accordance with the mayor’s stylistic decisions for address plaques with street names and house numbers, which now include a multilanguage variant,” says Vladimir Korenev, dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Tomsk State University of Architecture and Building.

The design layout is created in compliance with “Guidelines for the Installation of Address Signs in the City of Tomsk”.

Daria Chernikova, deputy director of the Center for Urban Studies & Regional Development, says that to make navigation on campus and in the city easier for international guests, the names of streets will be transliterated, not translated.

“It is a common practice that has already been implemented in several Russian cities. Transliteration allows simplifying navigation in the city while still preserving national identity,” explains Daria Chernikova. “It is frequently used in translating names of places. Our guests will understand our local names better if they will hear how they sound originally.”

New address plaques will be installed on all campuses by the end of his year



Text and illustrations by the Center for Urban Studies & Regional Development