Blogger Ilya Varlamov shares Penza impressions
Penza, 18 May 2015. PenzaNews. One of the top Russian bloggers Ilya Varlamov, known online as “Zyalt” shared his first impressions of Penza city during the meeting in “Sfera” open-space area in the city youth center on Saturday, May 16.
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During the meeting that lasted for over an hour, he also answered numerous questions from people who came to visit him.
They took interest in the topics related to improvement of apartment building areas and city infrastructure.
The civil activist, being the author of the program “City Projects” that aims to study and improve city living conditions in Russia, tried to give detailed answers to the questions.
Ilya Varlamov said he managed to visit “Sputnik” city apartment complex together with Arbekovo and Zapadnaya Polyana city areas during his first day of the visit.
“I was really surprised with how many ‘No Walking’ signs you have on your lawns. It seems to me that every lawn in Penza has a ‘No Walking’ sign on it. Even on Jazz May square, where the lawn is the trademark, the famed ‘No Walking’ signs sprout from the lawns nearby. I think it will be Penza’s main landmark. Wonder why they are planting these lawns if you can’t walk on them,” the blogger said.
According to him, the main advantage of Penza is the way its residents care for their yards.
“I think there isn’t a single city yard not tended by its residents. Everywhere people tend to some small gardens, plant flowers. This is really cool, because I’ve never seen people caring about their yards that much in any other city. If you take an average Russian city, there will be only 10 grandmother enthusiasts per 100,000 citizens who are going to be ‘tending after’ their yards, painting something and doing some house improvement. I think here every house has such old ladies, because I’ve never seen so many tended gardens, lawns, house entries and adjacent areas in other cities. On the one hand, it is sad to see the city authorities make the old ladies resort to it; on the other hand, it is pleasant to see that people care,” the online activist shared his impressions.
Ilya Varlamov also remarked the heavily present outdoors advertisement and poor state of façades in the city’s historical center.
“I think if the city has some historical area preserved in some way, it is a bonus, because it has something that is not present elsewhere. You have it, and it is the city’s big treasure that you sould preserve, display proudly, like family porcelain from your grandmother,” he stressed.
Such streets must be protected from the rush of advertisements, and the city officials must introduce the standards on banner decoration, he added.
“They are building some questionable buildings in your city somewhy. Let’s take that strange shopping center by the train station. Can’t you bulldoze it? There are some very, very strage buildings that are no longer built in the decent cities, and I don’t know who agrees on them and how they appear. Of course they should have been brought down a long time ago,” he said.
The activist also noted that he does not understand the hype over “Sputnik” city apartment complex.
“As a city area, ‘Sputnik’ city is a bad one. I don’t quite get why you are so proud of it. The other areas I’ve been to look much better. If you’d ask me where I wanted to live – not in ‘Sputnik,’ for sure, because nobody even thought how the people are going to live there and what are they going to do. No yards at all, only these standard parking yards. Very inconvenient to live in. You don’t want to even visit it. The rest of the area is done very poorly. I have not seen a single sports playground or a skating rink. A good yard should be able to help people of all ages pass their time there,” said the online activist.
Among the good sides of “Sputnik” city are its barbecue spots and a scrap paper collection booth, Ilya Varlamov noted.
“I haven’t visited the city center yet, and there is yet the topic of public transport. There are some strange tales happening here: six trolley bus routes for a city of half a million. I received many complaints on the transport,” the blogger shared his thoughts.