Mega project Moscow

19.10.2011, 14:28
posted in

Yesterday the students  got a chance to look at Moscow in the context of megaprojects, local governments, real estate, and migration.

Alexander Lozhkin, architect and editor-in-chief of Project Siberia magazine discussed how Russia came to the idea of megaprojects. The division between the mega projects and grand projects is conditional and comes down to the price. Besides the Moscow expansion megaproject, Skolkovo is developed as a city of innovation. However Lozhkin states that such a formation won’t last for long. The fact that it wants to be completely autonomous with no regard for the surrounding urban formations or urban planning will result in the collapse of its system. No integration with other research centers will lead to the development of satellite cities around it. Skolkovo is already part of Moscow physically and mentally, even if not administratively.

According to Lozhkin, Moscow itself has never been radial in it’s development. The first step in the city’s planning has always been to divide it into sectors by railways, and then by the administrative regions. Adding another sector to the South-West district will not solve the question of transport and overcrowding. In fact, it will rise even more questions,  as to by what means will this development be created? How much will the rapid railway transport cost?

The local government in Moscow was a hot topic for discussion and stirred up quite a lot of questions from students. Below we give you the main points that were touched upon during this lecture, given by Sergey Javoronkov of the Institute of Economic policy.

— The regional and local governments are always fighting to have more authority in decision-making.  The municipalities have limited power, and their most important authority is coordinating the placement of small retail objects.

— The average budget of the Moscow municipality amounts to approximately 20 million rubles per year, 80% of which is spent on maintaining this municipality. The income tax for wealthy people, which would seemingly enrich the Moscow budget, constitutes less than 0.1% even in very prestigious central areas of Moscow.

— In the 2000s the local Moscow government had  more authority, including the power to appoint the head of the board. This was a serious political leverage for dialogue. However after 2002 the authority of the local government began to diminish; and many power were trimmed back, including coordination of working documentation, coordination of parking, approval of programs, and planning the development of the Moscow region.

— The functions of the local government should cover the most competitive service sector and focus on fields with local specific.

— The local government should think about creating conditions in which citizens are provided with communications, public catering, trade, and domestic services; it should  issue permissions (as opposed to coordinate) for small retail objects and outdoor advertising.

— The local government should participate in solving city problems, i.e. planning the social and economic development of the city, organizing transport, solving environmental problems, and deal with ssues concerning the use of land and real estate.

— The financial base for the local government should be comprised of taxes from small businesses, profit from renting spaces (the municipality first needs to gain ownership of these spaces). This way it will be able to sponsor building more kindergartens or renewing roads.