Milhent (milhent) wrote,

Houses and living in them

Where do you live? (as in what type of houses, how you pay for it, how your house is organized)

Omsk is a rather big city (but not in the American meaning of it) and it was founded 292 years ago. It is build on the two rivers - Irtish and Om - and its center part is rather old (first town was completely wooden, so it all burned down). Today Omsk is approximately divided into several parts - central, which is mostly business and commercial, several "sleeping areas", with 5-9-14 stored apartment buildings and many schools and kindergartens, "working areas" where plants, factories and others are placed, and "private living areas" what are leftover parts of old villages. (I marked areas with quotes, as I'm not sure of their correct names - there is no formal separation between them in Russia.) The separation is mine, as really supermarkets, offices and apartment buildings are build all over the city.

Most living areas are multistory apartment buildings, but there are several leftover village-like parts, with old village houses and small vegetable-gardens, and some sarcastically called "Pauper's Villages" - which are actually elite areas with American-type one-family houses. For all their elitism, I'd never want to live there. Those places are ugly! They have about 3 different house-types and are separated with solid fences. These areas were created right after the fall of the Soviet Union, when owning land there was a status thing. Village-like parts are gradually build over, but as there live mainly old people who aren't ready to abandon their way of living, it is a slow process.

Apartment buildings in the past were a city's property, although people could buy and sell their flats. I think, that the right description will be that it was a right to live there that was sold... I'm not sure. You could do anything in your flat (as long as neighbors didn't complain), but general repair and upkeep of the building was a city's problem. After the fall of the Soviet Union began "privatization" of flats which ended last year with creation of TSJ's - they organize all residents of one apartment, who now own the building and have to take care of all rising problems on their own. The alternative are larger outside organizations. The difference is than in the first case people decide themselves how much they are willing to spend and who to contract, and in second case they just pay their chosen company and rely on it.

The heating and water (both cold and hot) are centralized for apartment buildings, from one source for a number of large blocks. Heat, water, electricity, stationary phones, TV and radio services come pretty much from one company each for the whole city. It is no longer true for TV, as there are several companies which offer cable TV in addition to LAN/Internet.

Two main problems with the apartment buildings are summer hot water cut offs and starting of central heating in autumn. Because there is only one set of hot water pipes, they have to be checked and repaired every summer. So every year we spend at least two weeks without hot water. And in the autumn is another "fun" moment. First, rules state that heating can be turned on only after a week of "below 10C". Then they start giving heat to hospitals, kindergartens, schools and so on. And only several days later we get heat in our homes.

As for me, my family and I live in a 9-story apartment building on the 1st floor in a 3 room's flat. My grandparents on mother's side used to live with us, so it was six persons in 3 rooms. It is normal for children to stay either with their parents or with their spouse parents. My younger sister have moved out to live closer to her work into a flat we have from my father's mother. I don't plan to move out at all, and my husband (whenever it'll happen) will move in with us. So right now we have living room (doubling as parent's sleeping room, as they are used to it), my room with computer and a comfortable sofa, and a guest room (formerly my sister's room). The kitchen also serves as a dining room, except when we have guests, then we set up table in living room.
Tags: comparing countries

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