Director: Reinier de Graaf
Supervisors: Laura Baird, Vadim Novikov, Anastasia Chernyshova

In July 2012, Moscow and part of the region that surrounds it (known as Moscow Oblast) will be merged to create the first and perhaps the only megacity in Europe. The new conurbation will encompass twice as many people as today’s Moscow. The government hopes the move will increase the quality of life in the capital, but the expansion will see the problems and challenges involved in running and governing the city take on a whole new scale. Research in this theme explores different development scenarios for the new Greater Moscow, paying specific attention to administration and infrastructure in the new, enlarged territory.


Director: Rem Koolhaas
Supervisors: Alexander Nikulin, Janna Bystrykh, Stephan Petermann

There is a flip side to Moscow’s transition towards a megacity: Russia’s regions are increasingly thinning out, resulting in increasing amounts of unoccupied empty space. More and more settlements are being abandoned, infrastructure is deteriorating, and territories for which there were once grand plans are now utilised only for the extraction of oil and gas. Increased urbanisation and the appearance of megacities are global trends, but in Russia the process is occurring in a different way to anywhere else. This theme encompasses research on the mutual influence and interplay of Moscow and the Russian regions, the origins of these social changes, and the consequences they will have in future.


Director: Michael Schindhelm
Supervisors: Stanislav Lvovsky, Anna Butenko

High levels of migration, expanding city boundaries and changing cultural preferences among Muscovites combine to give Moscow a dynamic urban culture that is constantly evolving and changing. Informal aspects of urban culture such as graffiti, as well as more formal and institutionalised cultural manifestations like pop-up art clusters in abandoned factories, imbue the city’s architecture with new meanings. This research theme will look at the history of urban cultural practices and map the current and future trends, in an attempt to understand both the past and the future of the city’s cultural practices.


Director: David Erixon
Supervisors: Anastasia Smirnova, Kuba Snopek

The microrayon, or micro-region, is a classic feature of suburban Soviet cityscapes, and continues to appear in post-Soviet cities even though the technology and materials used, and indeed the very idea of creating identikit, mass-produced buildings, are all long out of date. Urban planners are still ignoring what should be a key consideration: the lifestyle expectations of residents. This theme focuses on contemporary city dwellers and their values and lifestyle, using special consumer-oriented methodologies. The research seeks to reinvent the notion of the microrayon, presenting ways to modernise it and, most importantly, create a new paradigm for low-cost housing.


Director: Carlo Ratti
Supervisors: Assaf Biderman, Daria Paramonova

Like other cities in the world, Moscow is rapidly digitising. Relatively recent technological developments have created a new layer of urban life, which is changing traditional perceptions of the city. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, hosting services like Flickr and applications such as Yandex Traffic have all helped to create an artificial, virtual environment for the city. This virtual layer of Moscow is the research subject of this theme. Among the tasks is an analysis of the mutual influence and interaction between the virtual and real city spaces, with the findings used to create a guide to digital Moscow.

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