Social-and-Ecological Metabolism of the Russian Megalopolis under the Influence of Sports Megaevents

Author Name(s): *Polina Ermolaeva
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The article provide insights on the complex empirical research of the social-and-ecological metabolism of based on the Russian large city, the city of Kazan, with emphasis on mutual changes of natural, social and technical environments under the influence of sports megaevents (Universiade – 2013, World Aquatics Championship – 2015). The findings empathize the importance of practices of environmental cooperation and resistance under the study of the urban metabolic processes Each of the given practices are connected with each other in a way that, for example, the practice of environmental cooperation (on its intension) de facto can generate harmful metabolic chains, thereby creating the “Butterfly Effect”. The research hypothesis was accepted stating that the sports megaevents act as sound drivers of metabolic transformations in the postsoviet city due to the necessity of rapid spend of the federal funds.



Today in Russia there take place a set of sports megaevents: in July, 2013 in Kazan played the World student’s games (Universiade), in February, 2014 Sochi hosted the Winter Olympic Games, in 2015 in Kazan there took place the water sports World Cup, in 2017 the World Sambo Championship will be held, in 2018 ten Russian cities will host the FIFA World Cups.

Preparation and holding sports megaevents made a set of changes to city space, including change of infrastructure, daily occurrence of citizens, business and civil activity, an ecological situation, a services sector and tourism. Changes in one spheres generated changes in others, became irreversible and invisible to the cities and the population.

We will study these interactions and mutual transformations of natural, social and technical environments and processes in categories of social-and-ecological metabolism [1,2,3,4,5]. In English-speaking literature often, the concept of city metabolism is symmetric with metabolism of organisms, considering the cities as an ecosystem. The cities it is similar to natural organisms – consume resources and allocate waste. “The cities transform raw materials, fuel, and water on artificial environment, biomass and waste” [6]. Of course, the cities are more difficult, than natural organisms [3].

The analysis of social-and-ecological metabolism of Kazan with emphasis on mutual changes of natural, social and technical processes under the influence of sports megaevents (A Universiade of 2013, the water sports World Cup – 2015) became an objective of this research.

Kazan as a research case was chosen by us not incidentally as one of the first Post-Soviet cities – owners of a megaevent the “Universiade-2013 of” which became “rehearsal” of the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 and also carrying out in 2015 the water sports World Cup and in 2018 the FIFA World Cup.


Such example in the former Soviet Union became Kazan which for rather small period of time underwent a number of metabolic mutual changes which we conceptualized in groups the practician of ecological cooperation and ecological resistance.

We carried to the main social-and-ecological consequences of “knots of city ecological cooperation”: improvement in an ecological and social situation of the city (improvement of quality of air and a noise isolation, dust removal, improvement of esthetic perception of the city, increase in appeal of the city, patriotism growth, improvement of the general health of citizens, etc.) due to creation of the temporary “the supporting infrastructure”, joint civil ecoaction due to involvement of different segments of the population in ecopractice, ecotraining through activity, etc.

We carried to the main social-and-ecological consequences of “knots of city ecological resistance”: ecological consequences (destruction of a biodiversity, deterioration of drinking water, the “missed” ecological and recreational opportunities, a variety of an esthetic landscape of the city due to construction of new sporting venues that affects all-psychological perception of the urban environment), social consequences (strengthening of citizens’ city initiatives, a communication resonance, apathy among the population and growth of paternalism as result of a victory of political elite in the town-planning conflicts, naturalization of permissiveness of anti-ecological decisions of the authorities, polarization among professional ecologists, etc.)

Each of these “knots” generates a set of visible and invisible interdependent metabolic transformations which we divided on useful and harmful. Each of processes is connected with each other. And complexity of processes such is that ecopractice of cooperation (on the intension) de facto can generate harmful metabolic chains, thereby creating “Butterfly Effect”. For example, lack of knowledge and training of the population in practicians of sorting of garbage at the created supporting infrastructure (installation of tanks for sorting of garbage) led to the wrong sorting of garbage that negatively influenced other ecological processes – pollution of soils, water objects that in turn affected on health and wellbeing of citizens. In turn ecopracticians of city resistance provoked strengthening of city initiatives that generated a number of useful metabolic chains – ecotraining through activity, increase in ecoculture and activity of citizens, improvement of the environment, health and health of the population, etc.


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