It is located in the center of birch and pine forest on the shore of the Ob Sea, a man-made reservoir on Siberian river Ob. Formally it is a part of Novosibirsk city, and has never been a closed city like, for example, Seversk.
Located within Akademgorodok is Novosibirsk State University (NSU), 35 research institutes, an agricultural academy, medical academy, apartment buildings and houses, and a variety of community amenities including stores, hotels, hospitals, restaurants and cafes, cinemas, clubs and libraries. The House of Scientists (Dom Uchyonykh), a social center of Akademgorodok, hosts a library containing 100,000 volumes — Russian classics, modern literature and also many American, British, French, German, Polish books and magazines. The House of Scientists also includes a picture gallery, lecture halls and a concert hall.
During Soviet years (1961-1991), due to the peculiarity of the Soviet economic system, monetary rewards did not always translate into a higher standard of living. To offset this, a special compensation system was devised in Akademgorodok for its residents and leading scientists. For example, residents of Akademgorodok had access to special food ration distribution outlets (“stoly zakazov”) that provided, most of the time, an access to some basic subsidized foodstuffs, which were not always easily obtainable elsewhere. Politically conforming scientists who had obtained a doctorate (a post-Ph.D. degree under the Russian system)were rewarded by the authorities with the special food delivery service ("doktorskiy zakaz”), which provided access to a wider selection of groceries than available to the general population; some of the scientists, despite being eligible for this perquisite, refused it on moral grounds. Full and corresponding members of the Academy of Sciences had access to still higher level of service ("akademichiskii zakaz") and were eligible to live in cottages, considered luxurious by Soviet standards, as most of the population lived in apartments situated in nine- and four-story multi-apartment buildings.
The collapse of the Soviet Union saw many scientists, including whole cadres of Russia's top minds in the physical and theoretical sciences, reduced to penury. Beginning in the mid-1990s, as economic reforms allowed private investment in Russia, Akademgorodok saw the beginnings of venture funding. In 1992, a software company called Novosoft was founded here, and its chief client was IBM. Around the same time CFT started, which specialize in banking and financial software. By 1997 private investment reached $10 million; by 2006 it was $150 million and climbing. Intel and Schlumberger have brought work to Akademgorodok, and other companies are following them into the area. Dr. Lavrentyev's son, also named Mikhail and also an accomplished mathematician in his own right, has been deeply involved in this renaissance. While still minuscule by the standards of other countries, the private venture effort in Akademgorodok has breathed new life into what was once one of the Soviet Union's premier scientific centers.
The area is called Silicon Forest by some.