Conceptual Approaches for Development of Mono Cities in Armenia


  • Avagyan Harutyun American University of Armenia



Mono cities, Small cities, Armenia, Migration, Urban development


September 21, 2016 marked the 25th anniversary since Armenians voted for Independence from Soviet rule and re-established the Republic of Armenia. The new Republic had many challenges to face from its first day of the re-establishment: the 1988 devastating earthquake, ongoing war with Azerbaijan and total collapse of the industry sector. Now looking back many problems have been solved in favor of Armenia: the nation achieved victory in the battle and years later even gained the status of The Caucasian Tiger Economy.
But the country still is not able to regain its industrial power it once had. After the collapse of the USSR the industry sector of Armenia deteriorated and this caused a high unemployment rate in the small industrial cities of Armenia. This led to high emigration which is a wellknown economic problem which destabilized the situation of Armenia. Each year thousands of Armenians leave the country for a better future seeking financial stability. The main reason is unemployment and low economic growth as well as the huge economic disparity between the regions of the country. Since the establishment of the local government system in Armenia
(1995), one of the essential issues is the administrative structure, more specifically its high level of fragmentation. The harmonious territorial development strategy in Armenia is not yet fully developed and is predominantly fragmentary in nature. Although certain official documents, such as the Main Resettlement Project of the RA, National Security Strategy of the RA, Stable Development Strategy of the RA, 2012-2016 Plan of Action concerning the Implementation of the State Migration Regulatory Strategy Concept, 2010 – 2012 Rural and
Agricultural Stable Development Strategy of the RA, Regional Development Concept of the RA, Community Enlargement and Concept for the Creation of Inter-community Unions and other documents include the vital aspects necessary for implementing an efficient harmonious territorial development strategy and are surely useful for creating a general strategy, they do not envelop the entirety of the issues and certain vital challenges have been left out. Among them is the issue of the comprehensive development of small cities, which is not yet analyzed as a separate issue in the general context of the country’s administrative improvements and harmonious territorial development. This paper tries to fill this gap and to provide some policy advises on future development of the small cities in Armenia. In the first part of the paper we analyze the small city (monotown) concept and problems associated with it. In the second part we test the hypothesis of the connection between migration and small city effect. We use the Ministry of Territorial Administration database for 2014 which is the latest and the most
accurate data available in Armenia. Our findings conclude that there is a positive dependence  between migration and the effect of being a monotown. In the third part we provide some innovative ideas on how the situation can be improved using the impact generating methods.