Prospects of urban studies: possible directions and practice of realization
AbstractResearch of the city is important direction of scientific reflection, as make it possible to describe more general social processes of modern society; to test new methods of research; to consider heterogeneous urban environment as a projection of society. Thus, urban studies have a purely practical value, contributing development of the city and creating a comfortable environment for citizens. Goal of the article is to highlight ways in which empirical sociological studies of the modern city are possible and illustrate some of them by the example of Dnipropetrovsk. In urban researches we consider the research where the subject is connected directly with a particular city, that is, the researcher, in this case, is interested in cultural texts and practices in which most urban realities play a major role. These directions are possible:1) The study of territorial perspective of the city. Specificity of the territory motivates the choice of residence, attitude to this area, also it can cause the type of behavior of citizens, serve as the basis for making decisions about the buildings of new houses on a territory.2) The study of symbolic space of the city, such as architecture and its impact on the internal state of the townspeople, their behavior, being in the city.3) The study of socio-cultural problems of the city includes a range of variety of topics, including: urban lifestyle, the perception of the city and attitude to it, the image of the city in the citizens’ minds in general or specific important groups for the city, urban subcultures and identification practices of the residents and others.4) Analysis of social problems of the city and opinions of citizens regarding these problems should be the information for further action by the city government. During the sociological researches the degree of satisfaction with the life in the city is studied.5) Constructing of social portrait of the typical citizen, analysis of quantitative and qualitative parameters of urban local community, socio-cultural properties of the urban community, the nature and means of self-presentation as inhabitants of a city, a strategy opposed to other and so on.6) Planning, designing of urban development, designing its image and brand building.7) Activities of local authorities, both formal and informal. Isolated directions of urban empirical studies are important in several reasons. Firstly, acquired information as a result of researches is a basis for making reasonable and adequate management decisions; secondly, these studies have an impact at the development of urban consciousness, patriotism, urban identification of population, provide guidelines and parameters for reading of the text that surrounds citizens; thirdly, sociological interpretation derived from research of the data is an interesting intellectual case for the sociologist as both for a professional and for a citizen of a certain city.
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