The first day of the seminar, the main task of which was to give strength to the new General Plan of Moscow in 2005, was devoted to demonstrating the experience of the main European megacities as presented by the leading western urban planners from London (Kevin Reed), Paris (Jean-Pierre Palisse), Amstredam (Zef Zemel), Madrid (Alberto Legiero), Milan (Bruno Mori) and Berlin (Ulrich Assig) - the conference turned out to be very representative.
Comparison of foreign experience with Russian showed a number of more or less well-known things. First of all, it is quite obvious that both we and they have megacities; megacities have problems, these problems are common, or similar, both here and there. In big cities, there are many residents, as a result, there are a lot of cars; cars lack roads and parking, and people lack greenery, public spaces, cheap housing and energy.
The difference is that the Europeans have been solving these problems for a long time and purposefully, and therefore they already have some skills. Moscow, the most important Russian metropolis, is only approaching to seriously understand them as essential - although the acknowledgment of this fact, as well as an attempt to heed foreign experience, deserves respect and even awakens timid hopes.
So far, some of the trends “there” and “here” are opposite. For example, according to the conviction of Western city planners, decentralization of power is necessary for effective management, and great efforts are being made in the West. For Europeans, it is obvious that when the local government makes decisions independently, relying on the characteristics of their region, then everything necessary for life, work and leisure will appear in it, respectively, there is no need to go to the center for it by itself - in this way the problem of transport overloads. A striking example of decentralization is Paris, Athens - consisting of "urban cores", new, complementing the main historical, urban centers. In Russia, it is quite obvious that the opposite trends prevail so far.
One of the pressing issues for the metropolis is the preservation of the "green land", parks and squares, with the city's constant need for new construction. The Europeans solve it, for the most part, by reorganizing the former industrial zones, trying not to touch "clean" places from building, and even more so - squares and parks. Thus, cities are denser, but they do not lose their "lungs" and do not spread too far in breadth. In particular, London, in which the population is three million less than in Moscow, and the territory is larger, and, accordingly, there are more parks within the city, only 3% of new territories are developed annually. And the Madrid authorities generally declare: "density is our friend."
Foreign colleagues have voiced a whole bunch of more or less beautiful ways to solve the problem of traffic jams. According to them, it is possible only in a complex, where the main thing is not an increase in the number of transport hubs, but a shift in emphasis from the car, firstly to public, and secondly, to alternative transport. It is estimated, for example, that in Amsterdam, 30% of the movement takes place by bicycles and on foot. Stockholm and London introduced a tax of 8-11 euros on car traffic in the center and reduced the number of parking spaces there. Madrid - Builds circular metro lines that also remove traffic congestion.
Whether it is possible to use this experience in Moscow is up to the specialists, of course. However, you can see with the naked eye that the bike path here is a rare rarity, even if you really want to, you can ride a bike either on the sidewalk, risking crushing a pedestrian, or down the street, risking crushing you. We have a circular metro line, and we even have construction projects, at least in parts, of the second, but if we compare how close the stations of the European metro are to each other, then pedestrian walks are guaranteed for Muscovites. Alas, it seems that of the solutions listed, two have a chance to gain a foothold in Moscow: a call for walking and a new tax. Maybe it won't come true.
For the Western urbanists who spoke, the differences between modern Moscow and Paris, London and other European cities are also, apparently, no secret. As the director of urban planning of Amsterdam Zef Zemel emphasized, giving Moscow four tips: to think not about housing, but about life, "housing is an institution, think about people, reduce infrastructure, increase public areas and stop urbanization!" … Moscow city planners, represented by the chairman of the seminar, politely promised to use the advice in their experience.