6.2. Strategic plan for St. Petersburg
6.2.1. Initial situationIn the beginning of 1990s intricacies regarding the adoption of harmonized socio-economic planning decisions, spurred St. Petersburg city authorities and experts to conviction, that only appeal to the city community and involvement of all active and interested parties into discussion may bring to effective solutions. There was important to make a turn from ideological and political confrontation to the consolidation of community on the base of pragmatic ideas regarding city revival.
At the very beginning of the work at Strategy the important role was performed by international organizations. The World Bank at the start of negotiations on credit for St. Petersburg historic center reconstruction expressed the will to see some plan of the city development, supported by the city community and therefore sustainable enough in spite of political conjuncture. World Bank experts cited as an example the Barcelona city with its long practice of strategic planning. Local personnel (first of all working at Leontief Center in St. Petersburg) have got into contacts with Strategic Planning Association "Barcelona 2000" and with some other cities of Europe and USA having similar experience. The St. Petersburg governor supported the idea of Strategic plan performance. For the first stage of works financial and technical assistance was provided by USAID. Works started in 1996.
The essential distinctions of the Strategic plan from planning documents, typical for soviet practice are as follows:
- Strategic plan does not hold detailed indications to production activity (who and how much must produce) and does not cover all sectors of economy. It is the action plan, produced with the aim to achieve but carefully selected goals, supported by community. Each project or action included in Strategic plan is supplied by indicators to monitor following implementation.
- Strategic plan is not long-term document. All projects and actions included are considered as immediate ones. The word "strategic" in this case does not mean "long run", but refers to issues of strategic importance.
- Strategic plan is not a legal act. It is the result of public-private partnership: sort of social compact based on voluntary obligations of interested parties.
6.2.2 Actors involved and interactions
As key instruments for stakeholders participation were formed thematic commissions. These commissions served as labor bodies for performance, implementation, monitoring, adjustment and renewal of Strategy at specific sectors and issues. Thematic commissions included representatives of concerned structures, mainly members of Strategic Plan General Council. The General Council consisted of 150 persons, representing city administration, City Council, federal bodies, business associations and companies, non-governmental organizations, educational, scientific and cultural structures.
Much attention of Strategy moulders concerned relations with the city business structures. At the beginning the support of strategic planning received active support of business at large. But after first meetings at thematic commissions the situation diversified in several lines. There came to light chiefs of big enterprises, opposing to city authorities and capable to solve their problems independently or with direct assistance of federal public bodies. The second line was represented by enterprises closely connected with certain administrative subdivision of St. Petersburg and lobbying jointly sectoral projects (not always the most effective for the city). The third line was represented by small enterprises-outsiders lacking of access to administration and striving to get advantage through the participation in Strategy performance. At last the forth, most numerous line was represented by medium and stable enterprises, successfully working not due to administrative support, but rather in spite of administrative actions. Their quite reasonable climes concerned simplification of bureaucratic procedures, degression of taxes, control of natural monopolists, but more than often the changes requested were at the competence of federal legislators. Unavailability of public bodies to fulfill immediately requirements of last group caused critical attitudes and disappointment.
To encourage rational attitude and to improve confidence to Strategic plan its initiators needed time for enduring negotiations. For attraction of active professionals and citizens the first draft of Strategy was replicated (500 copies) and delivered through leading enterprises and other organizations. Text was represented at Internet site and delivered by e-mail. The essence of Strategy was published in city periodicals. For two months after publications interested organizations run hearings, delivered their remarks and proposals. At the same time the draft was examined by delegates of the city representative body, which issued proposal mostly concerning social sector. The Strategic Plan Project Office received 115 official letters with approximately 500 comments and revisions of sections or specific tasks. Thematic commissions prepared conclusions regarding collected responses for consideration at the second, equalized draft of the Strategy. To discuss second draft there was arranged the city-wide conference. Authors of responses were personally notified on public thematic sessions. As a consequence of conference the thematic commissions signed respective parts of the Strategic plan. Almost 200 organizations, participating in Strategy performance signed actions files, thus confirming their consent to participate in implementation. Declaration on Strategy was signed by 144 members of the General Council representing public bodies, Federation of trade unions, Association of manufactures, Chamber of commerce and industry, 7 universities, 20 research organizations, city division of RF Academy of Science, leading mass-media structures, Hermitage, Russian Museum, Mariinsk theatre and others.
The adoption of Strategy by General Board and approval by city administration did not mean the end of work with the Plan. Considering indifference and disappointment in going on reforms and customary for Russia gap between power structures and population there was the task of crucial importance: to encourage confidence of public at large, to draw public attention to actions of stakeholders for Strategy implementation. There was urgency in certain reorientation of mass-media, accustomed to stress scandals and to represent any action of authorities from the point of view of ironical outsider.
6.2.3 Plan structure
As a result of discussions there was formulated system of strategic goals. Essential goal "Sustained improvement of the quality of life of all categories of St. Petersburg citizens" must be achieved through actions at four important spheres of activity (four directions):
- Creation of a favorable business climate.
- Integration into the world economy.
- Improvement of the urban environment.
- Establishment of a favorable social environment.
Actions at each of four directions is subordinated to respective goals, tasks and implementation activities. As an example, direction "Improvement of the urban environment" includes 5 goals, one of which is "Improvement of physical environment". This goal among 5 tasks includes a task "amelioration of the water resources". Task includes three kinds of implementation activities:
- Monitoring of superficial waters and underground waters.
- The creation of the body responsible for the water resources management.
- Refinement of rivers and channels of St. Petersburg starting from the pilot project "treatment of the bottom sediments with the use of ecologically acceptable technologies".
Each kind of implementation activity is supplied by indicators of implementation and by the list of responsible participants.
6.2.4 The implementation outcome
Strategic plan was not designed for certain implementation term: there was intention to monitor its execution and to insert due corrections. But in fact the full-scale monitoring summing up outcomes of Strategy adopted in 1997 was performed but in 2003, when the system of St. Petersburg socio-economic planning documents has altered. To 2004 the part of total 211 actions was accomplished, part was close to completion and the part in the process of implementation. But 28% of actions were poorly executed or not executed at all (look Fig. 10).
Fig. 10. Strategic plan for St. Petersburg: implementation results to 2004.
AA - accomplished actions; AC - actions close to completion; AI - actions in process of implementation; BA - poorly executed actions; UA - unexecuted actions.
- there are adopted measures to stimulate production activity as degression of taxes and other charges;
- received and used WB loan for reconstruction of some objects at city historic center;
- there was performed and adopted St. Petersburg Master Plan;
- city Land Use and Development Code (Zoning Ordinance) is under performance;
- there were adopted key city legal acts regarding real property operations;
- there is adopted law on bids for city contracts;
- encircling highway is under construction;
- city night-time illumination is significantly improved;
- Accomplished a clearway down to Neva right bank;
- encouraged the forming of condominiums in multi-apartment houses in which dominate privatized apartments (process is at the very beginning);
- there are established Internet site of city administration (www.gov.spb.ru), sites of all executive subdivisions, other state structures; the important issues on city development are weekly discussed at direct TV transmission and with participation of city leaders; there is published magazine "City Administration Bulletin".
- the economic situation at the city improved notably: since 1998 to 2003 GRP has grown up 4.6 times, real population incomes - 1.6 times;
- created innovative centers, enlarged number of institutes of higher education and improved financing of research works;
- number of tourists, visited St. Petersburg since 2000 to 2003 enlarged 1.46 times;
- at some sites located at Neva and Finnish gulf embankments or adjoining arterial roads started the conversion of industrial sites into commercial and business zones;
- the housing hypothec bit by bit has started to develop;
- since 1997 to 2003 annual housing construction increased 2.3 times, floor area per capita increased by 18%.
Meantime considerable part of planned actions were to 2004 much less successful:
- the budget financing of construction and modernization of engineering and transport infrastructures is insufficient;
- there is shortage of sites, supplied with basic community facilities for construction;
- the improvement of dilapidated housing built in 1960s practically is not executed;
- actions on modernization of solid waste treatment system are not accomplished;
- the financing of state medical provision is inadequate: too many kinds of medical services are accessible but for cash;
- the financing of public transport development is low therefore social itineraries are gradually replaced by commercial ones.
In the upshot first Russian attempt of the strategic planning allows to issue some deductions.
- Under pressure of multitude of participants Strategy embraced rather too much actions (210). Some actions fell outside of the attention focus and could not gain proper support; others needed major modifications due to legal or administrative changes (including quite positive ones) triggered at federal level.
- Along with going on performance of some planned actions still there exists quite different activity system: some business leaders have not taken seriously new rules of game and stick to customary pattern. Thus with the participation of St. Petersburg authorities there are started some important projects, which replace rather more efficient alternatives, stipulated by Strategy adopted.
- Success in Strategy implementation and control depends greatly from persistency of mass-media and other interested participants.
- Strategy implementation was considerably handicapped by the absence of instrument, capable to provide direct impact on administrative activity: there was not adopted the plan of respective administrative actions.
- The performance of all documents of state planning at St. Petersburg is to be carried out candidly, aiming to support the creation of unified vector of activity for city authorities, business groups and other interested parties.