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Project information

Project team

Wladimir Sgibnev, Rano Turaeva-Hoehne


German-Kazakh University, Kazakhstan; Khujand State University, Tadzhikistan; Tbilisi State University, Georgia

Duration of project

07/2018 – 06/2020

Funded by

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Further information

Dr Wladimir Sgibnev
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-161

Survival strategies and new spatial formats in former mining towns at the post-Soviet peripheries

The former mining towns of Central Asia and the South Caucasus are affected by extreme peripheralisation processes. In order to take the path of an ecological and socio-economically sustainable development, it requires special strategies. Against this background, the project addresses local survival strategies and formulates recommendations for future socio-economic development. The research focus of this research project are new forms of land use, such as increasing subsistence farming in urban areas and other new economic and housing practices in the face of insufficient energy supply, mobility and immobility as well as government and international development programs and their local impact.

The project is based on preliminary work undertaken at the IfL since 2015 in order to establish a research consortium for further scientific collaboration. The collaborative research project was designed not only to collect surveys (one questionnaire used for all three cities and pooled) and qualitative data from all the three cities, but also to develop solutions to problems for each city. The knowledge transfer part of this collaborative research was planned as one of the important component and aim of the studies performed within this research programme.

The team consists of three young researchers in Kazakhstan (Janatas), Georgia (Chiatura), and Tajikistan (Shurab), with senior researchers supervising the students based in three countries jointly with two senior researchers based at IfL. One further postdoctoral researcher in Leipzig develops a transfer strategy for the project consortium and the production of policy recommendations and outreach material.


Three case studies conducted so far in all three cities have shed considerable light into the challenges of survival in all of these cities. Infrastructure provision, such as electricity supply, water and health services is often either inadequate or absent. The built environment, partially abandoned houses and housing districts, dire environmental conditions and poor health pose an additional burden on residents of these cities.

Another goal which set for this project was to strengthen the research infrastructures in the region and to facilitate academic careers, particularly for young researchers. Findings of the three case studies performed within the framework of this project is being prepared have so far been discussed in two workshops of the project. Some of the findings of the comparative research have been presented at international academic events, all while central findings and recommendations form the backbone of a collected edition in the forum ifl series.