Territories of the future: My District program's progress

July 9
City administration

The priority in the near term will be given to implementation of My District program. The changes have taken place in all districts of Moscow. More jobs have been created, more parks and public gardens within walking distance have been built, and transport and social infrastructure has been improved.  

“We have a master plan for Moscow development, but none for development of its districts. Hence the acute sensation that this niche must be completely filled and that the development of Moscow’s districts must proceed systemically. This should be not a sectoral approach with more kindergartens, schools and parks constructed, but a systemic method customized for each district, which should be regarded as an individual town within a city,” Sergey Sobyanin said at the Quality for All. Balanced City Development plenary meeting of My District forum. The meeting was held at Gostiny Dvor within the Moscow Urban Forum.

In scale and in terms of population size, a single district of Moscow is comparable to a medium-size Russian town. It is imperative to give each district equal conditions for development, so that the links between them would not be lost, but, conversely, strengthened.  

“We seek to maximally invest in environment improvement exactly where people live and we have done a lot in this area over the past years. Not only the city centre, but also the peripheries have changed,” Moscow’s mayor highlighted.

It’s important for each district of Moscow to have its own pedestrian street, boulevard, park, festival site for celebrations, high-quality sports grounds, children’s play areas and public spaces. As for availability of kindergartens, schools and polyclinics, Moscow has outpaced the world’s most comfortable cities like New York and London.     

This year we have doubled the amount of landscaping work in the districts. Besides, we have started to project landscaping plans for the future. Moscow’s mayor invites Muscovites and all experts in this field to participate in the effort.

According to Sergey Sobyanin, each district will develop its own master plan, a document based on proposals from the citizens, architects, and urban development experts, to be annually upgraded taking into account the experience and citizens’ suggestions.

“Each place has its potential. In this sense, Krymskaya Embankment, too, has a potential as the central area connecting the Tretyakov Gallery and Gorky Park. Quite a different story is the park in Kapotnya, located near an oil refinery (thousands of people live in its neighbourhood) and offering an access to the Moskva River. Understandably, something has to be done there, but before all else we need to realize what makes each territory so unique,” said Oleg Shapiro, Wowhaus co-founder.

Also, Sergey Sobyanin mentioned Yuzhnoye Butovo as an example. Together with the local populace, experts discussed what the district needed. This resulted in construction of kindergartens and schools and the equipment of public transport stops. This has rectified the situation, life has become more comfortable. But there was no consistency in work and plan. There still remained isolated areas, courtyards, streets and residential quarters. And the very centre of the district sported a large wasteland.

“For quite some time, around two years, we have discussed with the locals what should be done on that territory. Eventually, we adopted a project to build a huge landscape park, comparable in size to Gorky Park, in Butovo,” said Moscow’s mayor.

Each urban development plan is going to be discussed with the locals, whose opinions will be unfailingly considered.

“Many people of different ages live in a small courtyard. Each of them has his or her own idea of life and what he or she needs for it. Some want quietude, some active bustle, some a children’s playground, some sports facilities. Number one job in designing public spaces is finding a common solution,” Sergey Sobyanin said.

The city’s economy must be aimed at meeting the people’s needs. Equipment of streets, parks and public spaces is the right investment that pays off in the end.    

“In fact, such projects are the best paying and most useful endeavours. Changes in the quality of the urban environment are a powerful incentive that attracts investments and human resources. Thus people conceive a desire to remain here, to work and invest in the city. The city itself starts changing before our very eyes,” Sergey Sobyanin said.  

According to him, investing a mere two to three percent of the budget in urban beautification brings about stunning results.

The first My District forum opened at Gostiny Dvor on 4 July. It is held primarily for the Moscow residents interested in creating a comfortable urban environment and comprehensive changes planned by the Moscow administration. During the forum, Gostiny Dvor turned into the city’s miniaturized district. The interactive site has been divided into many sections where each participant will find something interesting for himself or herself.

Source: mos.ru

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