The Russian capital of Moscow is set to expand its administrative borders as soon as this July, more than doubling in size, in a quest to reduce congestion and overcome its chronic space problems.
In a decision by the Russian Federation Council, the city will expand and claim over 150,000 hectares to the southwest. The Moscow Agglomeration concept is looking to address transport, ecological and social issues, stemming from millions commuting to the centre. Unsurprising as one third of the places of work, are located in the City Centre, a dense, historical and overpopulated zone.
The concept aims to provide a “wave-type” redistribution that will relieve the current strain of the historical centers by reorganizing and redeveloping the middle and periphery circular city zones. These zones are currently occupied by high-density housing with insufficient working spaces, transportation and social infrastructure; therefore the development of social infrastructure and high-speed transportation infrastructure will also play a major part in the plan for the Moscow agglomeration.
The Architectural Department of the Moscow City Government (MosComArhitectura) invited proposals for the Moscow Agglomeration concept, announcing a shortlist of 10 teams including some high-profile fields in the architecture and urban design fields.
OMA, along with several other partner firms, have been announced as the winner of the first round, which focused on a masterplan for the region as a whole.
OMA proposed logistical hubs outside Moscow’s current boundaries which would be linked to the City and the Oblast through high-speed rail, integrating all forms of infrastructure: transport, broadband, industry, and energy provisions. The proposal also suggested that the development would not rely solely on government funding, but could introduce a public/private mix.
We are very honored to participate in such an ambitious project. In launching this plan, the authorities have taken an important step in addressing the problems of the city at the appropriate scale: Moscow’s proposed expansion becomes a reason to develop a single integrated future for Moscow and the Oblast. – OMA Partner-in-charge Reinier de Graaf
The OMA team working with AMO, its internal research studio, is led by Reinier de Graaf and Associate Laura Baird. The concept is being developed together with a core team consisting of the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Project Meganom and Siemens. This core team will be supported by an advisory board which includes McKinsey, Ricky Burdett, Saskia Sassen, member of the Committee for Global Thought (Columbia University), the Levada Center, West 8, and RWDI.
Editor’s Note: The concept of developing different nodes, with pre-defined purposes and outcomes, must be substantiated based on the strengths of those existing regions, or at least a clear plan for developing those strengths. There are obvious risks, in decentralizing, and negatively impacting the existing core, by creating additional commuting and environmental challenges. While each node or hub is considered as way to reduce congestion, the scale of each needs to be relevant to the places of work in that area. There could be negative consequences, of potentially uprooting the existing culture of communities that exist on the periphery.