Small towns: best practices
30 best practices for you to inspire
Story behind this very project started when we had been working with the Association of Small Towns in 2016. We've been inspired with the amount of awesome examples of what people have done in their home towns to help them attract tourists, media and inspire other residents. We were keen to share those stories with other towns but didn't know how exactly. First, we thought on publishing a book, but we haven't been familiar with the process of marketing and handling ready books. Then, we had an idea to share these stories online and wrote a presidential grant proposal. Time passed and when that was almost forgotten, we've been announced about winning it. That was the first time we've participated in a grant procedure and won it.

Client: Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

Project financed with the Presidential Grant of Russia Federation

Work: writing, design, illustration, web development

The most global project of 2017 is dedicated to my greatest love — the small towns and those heroes who try to develop them independently, personally, despite all the difficulties. I present to you the Map of Best Practices in Small Towns. This is a map of Central Russia filled up with stories about the best urban endeavors that my team and I personally selected and described in order to be inspired, fall in love and start doing something with the world around you. We've traveled to towns, talked, thought, quoted and wrote out the most important things. Then we coded, illustrated and launched a site to share it all with you.
Natalia Rybalchenko
22 authors
We asked our partners, friends and collegues write unique content about the selected urban initiatives.
  • Elena Kondrashina
    Egorievsk, Klin
  • Anastasia Podbolotova
  • Polina Pavlova
    Zaraysk, Votkinsk, Sarapul
  • Julia Voronova
  • Ekaterina Zabaldina, Maria Loginova
  • Irina Goncharova, Valery Smolyuk
    Vyatskie Polyany
  • Ivan Ksenofontov, Katerina Mironova
  • Tatiana Sokolova
  • Vasily Dubeykovsky
  • Oksana Kochevnaya
    Staraya Russa, Totma, Belomorsk, Azov
  • Julia Bychkova
    Kassimov, Vyksa
  • Michael Klimov
  • Alexey Skopinov, Vladimir Popov, Anna Popova
  • Svetlana Zenovskaya
    Krapivna, Severodvinsk, Velsk
  • Igor Kekhter
  • Oleg Moseev
  • Alla Morozova
    Elabuga, Sviyazhsk, Gorodets, Semenov
31 best practices after launch in 2017
We've launched a website which is pretty straightforward: the contents are placed on the interactive map. With a series of longreads on every single project we've carefully choosen and written about.
Map welcomes you on the beginning. You can sort out town practices by 6 types
Content is very well structured, and is easy to read. Furthermore, every article is finished with a clear algorythm.
6 topics
The articles could be sorted out in 6 topics:

  1. Entrepreneurs & start-ups
  2. Social projects, resident involvment
  3. Events
  4. Gastronomy, agriculture
  5. Tourism
  6. Culture and art
We wanted this project to look bright and positive, so we have made a typographic centered design with addition set of bright illustrations and colors.
Best logo for best practices
Illustrations by Nadya Davydova
Project would never be the same without the outstanding illustrations by book artist Nadya Davydova. Her collages had made these town look unique like nobody dared to draw them.
Borovsk as seen by Nadya Davydova
Nadya has made a very functional and beautiful art that could perfectly look as a town merch and act a starting point of a future brands.
Easy to imagine how this awesome design would look even on the most widespread and typical town souvenirs and street elements, where there is always a lack of creativity and high quality images.
Shortened versions of the town best practice cases are put in the postcard format and can be presented.
Best practices in postcard format
Town practices today
When we released the project in December, 2017 it was meant to be a beta with 31 stories included as for a launch. We evan had plans for further development.

  1. Mobile responsive layout, possibly app
  2. Channel with interviews, talks, possibly podcast
  3. Add more content on the monthly basis
  4. Make some sort of motivational and inspirational media
  5. Think more on promotion
  6. You name it

With lack of project promotion we haven't got enough feedback to motivate us to work on this project further, so we've put in on hold temporary.
If you're interested in having this project continued — write us.
Natalia Rybalchenko
Wanted to add, that almost in parallel with our platform a project "Away from the Capitals" had been launched that used to be a more social and hyped. It got as much as 2000 projects listed, yet lacked detailed articles and curator oversight. After 2022 project has closed and all we can give you is this link to yt video.

Away from the Capitals project by Google (closed as of 2024)
A few links we found:
  1. Town practices website
  2. Center of Cluster Development in Udmurt has an article on Sarapul case
  3. Nadya Davydova shares her work on Behance
  • Natalia Rybalchenko
    Project ideologist
  • Igor Makovsky
    Art direction, designer, web developer
  • Nadya Davydova
  • Olga Grishina,
    Oleg Moseev,
    Anastasia Obudenkova
    Authors, editors
  • Aleksander Shestakov
    Web developer
  • Nadezhda Zhilkina
    Deputy minister of Culture of Moscow Region for support
  • Brownfox type foundry
    Gerbera font
  • The project was built with financial funding of a grant from the President of the Russian Federation in supporting creative projects of national importance in the field of culture and art
And many other projects across Russia and CIS
2015 … 2017
2014 … 2018
2016 … 2018
2016 … 2021