Moscow Urban Forum 2016: creating comfortable cities

The VI Moscow Urban Forum took place right by the Kremlin walls, at the Moscow Manege. The main subject of the forum was “Fast-Growing Megacities. Technologies of Dynamic Development.”

The Moscow Urban Forum, which takes place annually under the auspices of the Government of Moscow, has become a unique platform that gives urban developers and the heads of the biggest megacities in the world a chance to discuss relevant issues and specific projects with representatives of the international expert community.

Delegations from 70 of the largest cities in the world took part in panel discussions, presentations, lectures and workshops with the scope of the forum. The Forum was also attended by dozens of urban developers, architects, scientists and city mayors from the EU, US, Mexico, India Japan and many other countries.

“Interest toward our event is fueled by the fact that Moscow is rapidly developing. The Russian capital is becoming more interesting in experts working in the fields of municipal services and architecture,” Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin said.

According to him, the ideal city entails minimal travel and a comfortable urban environment.

Mr. Sobyanin thinks that city development problems connected to urbanization, population growth and other challenges require more attention. New technologies and management solutions must be implemented.

“Yes, there is fierce competition between the world’s megacities. But it is also true that we complement each other, maintaining civilized relations between countries and major regions in fields such as culture, the economy and technology. This produces great synergy for development. We have the same problems, and face modern-day challenges. This includes migration, safety, overcrowding, infrastructure development and a host of other issues,” the mayor said.

During the first day of the Moscow Urban Forum, the Moscow Manege was turned into a space split up into different platforms dedicated to specific development concepts of the Russian capital. Halls named after famous people in the field of urban development – Shukhov, Shchusev, Schechtel, Kazakov – brought together architects, professors, politicians, public figures and business representatives from Russia and other countries. During open discussions, they touched on important topics such as the future of transportation systems, equity economy strategies, cultural heritage and innovative technology.

“We want to inspire people to build amazing cities and buildings where technology gives people the opportunity to choose their own lifestyles and provides companies with unlimited opportunities for innovation,” said Stan Gale, Chairman and Managing Partner at the American company Gate International.

The pavilion “City of the Future,” where the walls were turned into giant informational monitors, was of great interest to the public. Here, visitors could find out what Muscovites though about housing and public utilities, for example, in online mode. It turned out that residents are dissatisfied with the lack of parking spaces and inconvenient locations of recreational areas.

An exhibition of megaprojects that are being implemented in Moscow was also a part of the forum. The exhibition included, among other things, the landscape park Zaryadye, VDNKh, ZIL and the Moscow Ring Railway. According to urban developers in Moscow, megaprojects are the drivers of urban development and factors of economic growth. At the same time, they present huge risks and unpredictable challenges.

Foreign megaprojects got a lot of attention as well. Special presentations were dedicated to the construction of the artificial archipelago “The Universe” and the eco-city Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates, the engineering miracle of the Singapore island of Sentosa, the revival of the Cheonggyecheon waterway in Seoul, the “Big Paris” project and many others.

The heart of the Manege was a stand dedicated to the global study “Urban Index 2016,” which reflected the state of global urban environments across the main criteria: the environment, housing, security, roads and transport, municipal engineering, and emergency services, social services facilities, city management quality and satisfaction of the target groups.

Over 2,000 world-renowned experts took part in the study. The specialists focused on 13 Russian megacities and 15 rapidly expanding global megacities.

It turned out that Omsk, Volgograd and São Paulo did not meet the urban environment criteria outlined by the index, which Kazan, Shanghai, Beijing and Moscow were among the leaders in this sphere.



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