Russian cities currently feel the utmost need both for improving the affordability of housing and upgrading its quality, enhancing the beautification of the urban environment.
Achieving the housing policy objectives necessitates a considerable update of urban planning policy which is currently characterized by minimum urban planning regulations and inadequate enforcement of those in place. Urban development and land use regulation remain a source of ‘administrative rent’ and appear to be unable to ensure a transparent legal framework for developers, while abusing them by high administrative barriers.
This article reviews housing and urban planning policies both at federal and local levels and analyzes case studies of inconsistencies in implementation of housing and urban planning policies in Russian cities, including one on the new phenomenon of the spontaneous and illegal development of so called “loft housing” in central districts of major cities. The paper concludes by setting out proposals on how to streamline housing and urban planning policies both for improving the affordability of housing and the quality of urban environment and avoiding potential negative externalities.