It looks like a typical Estonian sleeping area. Photo

"ТакOn the basis of Soviet houses Estonians managed to create a comfortable living space.


In the comments to his photo coverage of the European cities I often read is: “what do you want? They have there an old city with narrow streets and beautiful architecture, but we have a solid sleeping area, built-up prefabricated skyscrapers, well how to restore order?” The authors of these quotes think beautiful and neat can only be the old Central streets, but the residents panel “sleeping” are doomed to stagnation among the rusty swings, unkempt yards, ravnopravki and debris. Partly these thoughts provoke roguish power of some post-Soviet countries, telling tales about how there was “good before”, but now everything has fallen into decay.




Of course, it is not. It was during the Soviet Union began, and in some places still unsuccessful experiments with urban housing, which can be grouped under the General title “sleeping areas”. What’s wrong with this concept? First, the entire urban infrastructure, the normal place to stay, and jobs are mostly in the city centre and the outskirts of be deprived. Secondly, the buildings themselves represent a cheap pre-fabricated construction is very unsightly appearance, which in common parlance are referred to as “sockets”. And third, in residential areas, as a rule, no block building, and the houses are scattered anyhow. In 1960-70-ies Soviet architects explained that the alleged “best insolation of apartments” and other nonsense, but in reality it had only produced a very unpleasant urban environment uncomfortable for the whole stay — a huge empty space, uncomfortable and ventilated courtyards that do not match the human scale of the area, etc.


What to do with it now? The problem of renovation of the Soviet “sleeping” is acute in almost all post-Soviet big cities, and treat it very differently. For example, in Minsk prefer to ignore, about the same situation is in Kyiv, and in rich Moscow. But in small Estonia to solve this problem, and very successfully.




So, in today post we will walk through the lasnamäe district on the outskirts of Tallinn, will see how Estonians rekonstruiruet Soviet residential district and find out why they don’t want “back in the USSR”.


The history of the Soviet residential district lasnamäe.


For a start, as usual, a bit of history.


Lasnamäe is a typical Soviet residential area on the outskirts of Tallinn, to build which started in the 1970-ies. The first district plan was introduced in 1971, and one of the leading architects lasnamäe was in March the Port, which later built the city of Slavutych for immigrants from Pripyat.




The district is located 3-7 km to the East from the centre of Tallinn and is a development on both sides of the highway Tallinn – Saint Petersburg.


"Так


Lasnamäe consists of 17 districts, which in Soviet times was called just serial numbers (same as in Pripyat, in which such residential districts-quarters were only five and the sixth was scheduled), and since 1991, every district got its name, WNA, Cutlery, Koripallo, Kuristiku, Lange and others. Exactly the same as in Pripyat, which was built around the same time, each district is, in fact, a closed quarter, bounded on all sides by roads:


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Built lasnamäe very quickly using pipeline — Soviet architects and builders driven “to perform and exceed plan,” which of course affected the appearance of the houses if in the same Slavutych, which was a “showcase of socialist construction” in the Soviet standard socket made at least some variety, all at home in lasnamäe look very monotonous. Here is a typical local house, with double square Windows of the stairwell. By the way, this is some typical Baltic project — I’ve seen similar houses in Vilnius and Visaginas, but have not seen anywhere else outside of the Baltic States.




"Так


Its role in the neighborhood was the fact that the party functionaries and city constantly looking for opportunities to save money and put even closer to house. Tower cranes also tried as little as possible to move from place to place, and all the houses looked very monotonous — dreary rows of identical grey walls. And in the Soviet lasnamäe virtually no trees — plant trees on the limestone was expensive and they didn’t stick.


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“Ghosts of communism”.


In 2007, in lasnamäe was filmed pretty terrible movie called “Autumn ball”, which were perfectly transferred to the decay and despair typical Soviet residential area — a huge, blown North by the winds of empty space, frozen puddles, more like a small lake for carp breeding, parked some of the cars and the dull grey walls of the buildings. I was expecting to see in lasnamäe it, but in the ten years that have passed since the release of the film, the area has changed beyond recognition.


“Lasnamäe from the Soviet Union” still lives in a small basement, where people now open their small businesses, but the whole entourage often looks very Soviet-like:


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Remnants of the “old life” can still be seen on local urban trash:


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And in the porches of houses, where much identity is left “as before”. However, the entrances have appeared folding ramps for handicapped people and mothers with strollers:


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As well as brand new elevators, did not like the old Soviet.


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In the courtyards you can still see some senseless and savage old design — which, however, every year is getting smaller — the city gets rid of Soviet megalomania and irrationality (like that huge concrete fence around the three Apple trees), replacing them with modern and comfortable things.


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The beginning of change


Approximately since the beginning of 2000-ies government of Tallinn has decided that more can not continue, and with the old Soviet “sleeping bag” have something to do. Was prepared a renovation project of the district, which has been gradually implemented. The improvement of the life in lasnamäe was carried out in several directions. First, it was decided to do something with the yards. The first thing from the courts threw out all the cars, putting them on a separate Parking space, and house space was owned by the people. Now no need to get to the door of her house, wiping jacket dirty cars — the yard became a place to stay.


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Secondly, it was decided to deal with entrances. Parking area was removed away from the entrances, put a beautiful glass door, ennobled the area around. Look, it’s the same Soviet prefabricated house, but how it was transformed after renovation:


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In the hallways were cleaned, installed new elevators, new mailboxes and new cost-efficient lighting.


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Where possible — near the entrances to create a green zone by planting grass and beautiful shrubs.


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Where it is technically impossible — just put a beautiful tile, while retaining the main rule — no cars at the entrance.


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There is space for creativity of the inhabitants — those who likes growing under the Windows. Palisadnik in lasnamäe look like this:


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What about Parking, you ask? Drivers in lasnamäe not suffered — in the course of renovation of the district created separate Parking spaces with handy entrances. The main rule is still the same — no cars under the Windows.


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So now is in lasnamäe ordinary Soviet five-storey building. Under Windows — no filthy butts to the yard and abandoned cars, and beautiful lawn and trees.


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Or so you see here may look like an ordinary quarter in a Soviet residential area. Everything is clearly structured — here are the cars here covered Parking for bikes and scooters, but there is a green zone where there can be no car.




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Thirdly, during the reconstruction it was decided, finally, to deal with the waste. The area began to appear here such indoor recycling bins, the construction of which is still ongoing. Such container garbage does not scatter to the sides, and they look very civilized.


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In the fourth — during the reconstruction here began to appear a lot of places for leisure activities. Here, for example, was a vacant lot on which he built a very cool track for scooters and bikes — the older children love to spend time here.


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The guys from the track, which made us company in the surrounding area and showed a lot of interesting things)


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For the kids appear in such closed playgrounds:


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And for older people — these are the complexes outdoor fitness equipment. However, as you can see, doing these people completely different ages)


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A look into the future.


If earlier inhabitants of lasnamäe had to travel literally every little thing in the center of the city, now it is less necessary course of rekonstruktsii lasnamäe is increasingly cluttered with all necessary. Here, for example, a relatively new shopping center “Maxima” which is situated in a convenient place and accessible from anywhere in the district. And also pay attention to the area behind the Mall — before there was a simple wasteland, and now a Park.


"Так


“Maxima” is close. There are a lot of Parking spaces, and right narotiv entrance stop of public transport. All done in the mind, and not, as near Minsk Crown on Calvary, where in order to get to the entrance, you need to wipe his ass a dozen cars.


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Here’s what a local school. View to the courtyard — there is a cool football stadium with real grass! Now just play:


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And on the other side of the school building there is another field with soft coating — I think there are tennis, basketball and so on. And it is a regular school at the Tallinn residential area, not some “elite school” for children gas magnates.


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And here is the place, where until recently was polluted with empty bottles and puddles flooded the frozen wasteland. Now, the wasteland, you can see a beautiful Park with landscaping and recreation zones for children.


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While the parents walk through the Park, children can play here on such a beautiful and safe Playground with a soft surface. Look, how many cool — he would climb with pleasure)


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Park lanes represent here are gravel roads, which is pleasant to walk and ride a bike.


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Playground:


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And note how carefully structured the territory of the yards of the houses that adjoin the Park. For vehicles allocated Parking, okram adjacent “green area”, there is a beautiful front gardens:


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The Park has formed the center, which is a cobbled tiled area with benches and outdoor exercise equipment, here is how it looks from the height of bird flight:


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But so close. Benches, by the way, very convenient.


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The Park went off, and then there are even recreational areas, playgrounds, stadiums.


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Beauty…


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When I landed the Quad and looked at the pictures of what happened — I suddenly understood why the Estonians don’t yearn for the Soviet Union. To live modestly and carefully, not to write denunciations neighbor, not to steal, to improve the day-to-day life of its citizens was more important to them than to dream megalomania space projects to worry about “our people in Syria.”


To see changes for the better every day. To talk about the future and not to dream with ghosts of the past.


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Perhaps this should be a modern state for people.


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