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Cultivating Communism: Soviet City Greening and Beautification, 1930s–1960s

February 14, 2018 | Maria Taylor

Wall painting in the Kirov District Administration cafeteria, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Photo by Maria Taylor.

In contrast to their reputed disregard for environmental concerns, Soviet architect-planners identified city greening and beautification as a distinctively socialist answer to problems familiar to design professionals and municipal authorities worldwide. Taylor explores Soviet urbanists’ pursuit through urban greening (ozelenenie gorodov) of “cultured, hygienic, and convenient” cities during both the Stalin and Khrushchev periods.

Maria Taylor is a historian of modern cities and landscape design, specifically Russian and Soviet urbanism. Her research and teaching contribute to an expanded history of modern urban environmental design, in which the Soviet Union was an active locus of evolving ideas of environmental infrastructures. She holds an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University, an MLA from the University of Washington, and a BA from Bryn Mawr College in the Growth and Structure of Cities. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the architecture program at the University of Michigan.