CASI-IFEAC Lecture series (May 29, 2013, Bishkek) : Urban Sprawl and Suburbanization in Almaty. Unique Case or Central Asian Model?


The demise of Soviet system meant the end of an economy organized to support heavy industry production. Old enterprises were replaced by new ones, mostly oriented toward a chronic underdeveloped sector in planned economy, the commercial distribution. This is the case of the area of Barakholka, situated in the northern fringe of the city of Almaty. The eight main bazaars of Barakholka represent since twenty years a new pole of development within urban context which have favored a spatial expansion toward areas that have been settled and used for ages. At the same time multinational enterprises of commercial distribution took place in western outward, where housing projects are being realized very fast in the frame of a real estate market booming.

The city of Almaty is experiencing a double dynamic of suburbanization and urban sprawl. The bazaars of Barakholka are featured by a seemingly disordered spatial configuration. From another point of view this reveals the capacity that Kazakh citizens showed to shape the urban space in a profitable way during the period of absence of public planning. Trade Malls are the consequence of recent transnational integration that begun to develop when the overall economy improved. Thus, the restoration of a formal economy gave to the city administration a control over the urban space.

This presentation aims to understand the consequences that global and local tendencies exert over urban evolution through one of the most important vector of globalization, trade activities.


François Bogliacino, géographe
Université Paris 8 Saint-Denis


American University of Central Asia
205 Abdymonmunov, Bishkek
Wednesday 29 May, 5 pm
Room 315

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