‘It’s free, it’s fun, it’s not doing any harm’
young sticker artists are making the city better
This essay examines the phenomenon of sticker art in St. Petersburg as a practice that empowers young people and gives them an opportunity to change the city according to their own ideas and interests. Young people in Russia are usually considered to be a marginal, deviant group that must be regulated and controlled by government and adults (Omelchenko 2004; Blum 2006).
Urban context illustrates the same patterns. The urban political regime which has been formed in St. Petersburg has been named the ‘growth machines’ (Tykanova and Khokhlova 2015), because of its focus on maximizing benefits from using urban spaces by local authorities and business elites. In such conditions, city dwellers and especially young people have very limited opportunities to influence the urban policy or decision-making process. For them, the urban landscape becomes more hostile, digital, controlled, and as such, it does not reflect young people’s requirements and makes them find alternative means to transform the city space.