Industrial Park: City for People or People for City?
The notion “industrial park” is often used in Russia as a synonym to a warehouse or logistics centre; however, these facilities are just one of the elements of complete infrastructure of parks of such a kind. In addition to a production cluster, an integral part of industrial parks is a developed transport network, which provides prompt access of personnel to the territory of enterprises — park residents, as well as related social infrastructure that can include hotels, residential houses, medical and educational establishments.
In Europe such production clusters have been built throughout recent hundred years. It should be noted that as early as 1960 there were about 150 industrial parks in the territory of Europe, and by now there are more than 4 500 of such facilities in Great Britain alone. In Russia the concept of industrial parks has been implemented in design and optimization of production sites in recent seven years. According to the Russian Association of Industrial Parks, there are 36 facilities of the kind in Russia, and the number of parks under development varies, by different estimates, from 80 to 90.
The attractiveness of such sites can be explained with availability of utilities optimal for work of prospective residents and prospects of cooperation with other residents of the industrial park. For example, very often neighbours of large manufacturers of the car industry are companies that produce the required components for transport machine-building. This has favourable impact on performance indicators of all participants of such an interaction: both large corporations and representatives of small and medium business.
However, industrial parks are not only a combination of jobs, but also certain social infrastructure that has to provide personnel of such parks with conditions of comfortable living in their territory. This parameter is especially relevant when the facility is situated at some distance from the city. Owners of a number of industrial parks in the territory of the Russian Federation offer their customers not only facilities with hotel complexes and catering enterprises, but also with a system of educational and recreational establishments. Still, the extent of such an offer is limited, and many industrial parks in Russia are provided with minimum required social infrastructure only. At the same time, location of recreational and educational centres in the territory of production facilities of the kind has a number of advantages both for investors of industrial parks and their residents. For example, resident companies often want their personnel to have required training or, for instance, to visit advanced training courses in the territory of the industrial park. This enables optimizing educational process and reducing its terms. Investors consider wishes of their target audience and, with the aim of improving attractiveness of the implemented project, supplement it with the desired social infrastructure: educational centres, kindergartens and schools, day care and leisure establishments.
Ultimately, it is dynamics of these processes that will influence the nature of Russian industrial parks in the nearest future.