How Cities Will Change After the Pandemic
Traditional urban planning in the United States and Europe developed in response to the epidemics of cholera, tuberculosis, and typhoid. In an op-ed for RBC, Nadezhda Khort, curator of the Shukhov Laboratory of Experimental Urban Design and the master’s programme ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ in the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism, considers the skills and practices cities should employ in post-pandemic urban development.
Big Data City Management
By using real-time big data analysis, the cities of South Korea were able to significantly reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Authorities used GPS data to track the course of the epidemic and disseminated this information among residents, so that citizens could adjust their routes and reduce their risk of infection.
Having big data analysis tools and, more importantly, understanding the logic of their processing, interpretations, and applications allowed both city administrations as well as citizens at the household level to make more informed decisions
Unfortunately, big data analytics is not a subject offered in most urban planning programmes in Russia, and it is still far from being represented in every international programme in the field. However, the epidemic has shown that putting off decisions and not having data analysis systems in place can paralyze entire megacities. After the pandemic, cities will have to develop these systems on a massive scale, and there will be a great demand for qualified big data analytics specialists. To be able to ride the wave of this trend, future specialists need to be developing the necessary skills now.
Digital Platforms Bringing Together Citizens to Solve Common Problems
The pandemic has shown that people are ready to help each other when they face common challenges. Digital platforms can be a tool that brings local communities together to solve problems together.
As part of a course project, some students of our master’s programme at HSE University developed a digital platform for apartment buildings that brings together building residents and allows them to develop a sharing economy, exchange goods, make decisions regarding building maintenance matters and the neighborhood, get to know each other, and find common interests. Another student project used neural networks to help citizens create a technical task for improving of the urban environment, which also brings together citizens and allows them to control the project from its initial stages to its implementation.
Self-Sufficiency of Cities, Neighborhoods, and Apartment Buildings
A specialist of the future should be able to think not only in terms of master urban development plans, but also at the level of individual elements and their potential for autonomy.
More than 1 billion people are not leaving their homes for a long period of time due to quarantine measures. This is a huge figure, and this has probably never happened before in our history. This situation raises the question of self-sufficiency for our regions and homes — their energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, ability to recycle waste, and produce food.
Improving housing autonomy, according to a study conducted by experts of the Shukhov Lab at HSE University, can significantly reduce the load on city networks, waste management systems, water treatment, as well as food production and delivery services. This can be achieved by introducing modern technologies and innovative solutions when it comes to building materials and home design.
The pandemic has shown how inextricably connected we are in the face of global problems. Ignoring the problems of our distant neighbors can lead to these problems appearing in our own country.
A new class of professionals needs not only to be aware of the approaches that are being used by colleagues around the world, but also to build networks of cooperation, work in international teams, and exchange their experience in order to jointly confront the global challenges of urban development.
Having a knowledge of the English language, reading the specialized literature, and maintaining contact with foreign experts is no longer a competitive advantage, but a vital necessity for everyone.
A New Demand for Interdisciplinarity
People have been talking a lot about interdisciplinarity for a long time. But now, during the pandemic, and especially after it, the demand for interdisciplinary skills and knowledge will increase significantly. Now everyone has keenly felt how interconnected we are globally and how different spheres of activity can influence each other. It is impossible to remain a competent specialist without being digitally literate, having an understanding of global trends and innovations, and being familiar with the legal risks and regulatory possibilities.
For specialists in the field of urban development, this means one thing: those who still represent urban development as a blueprint for the master plan will not be able to offer cities effective solutions to modern problems. We can no longer respond to the challenges of urban development using tools and practices of urban planning from the mid-19th century.
In 15 years, the share of self-driving passenger vehicles on Moscow’s roads will exceed 60%. However, this change will not have a significant impact if personal vehicle travel is not reduced and car sharing services are not expanded. For the first time, HSE researchers have assessed the effects of self-driving cars on the city. In their study, Alexei Zomarev and Maria Rozhenko lay out predictions for 2030 and 2035.
After a week off, HSE students returned to their online classes this week. HSE News spoke with instructors of the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism about what kinds of new strategies and approaches they are using in their online instruction.
Migration, both domestic and abroad, is playing a major role in transforming the world’s largest cities, and Moscow is no exception. Researchers at HSE University, the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IGRAN) and Strelka KB identified which cities’ residents are buying newly built apartments in the capital and how economic inequality between Russia’s regions is changing the face of the city.
In December 2019, Shukhov Lab – the HSE Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design – is turning three years old. For its anniversary, it has set up a gallery with collages depicting future images of Moscow. Before the close of this year, the Moscow-2050 project goes toShenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in China.
Charlotte Rottiers is a master’s exchange student from Ghent University (Belgium). This semester she is taking courses at HSE University on urban planning in the ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ Master’s Programme as well as courses on Russian language and culture in the Faculty of Humanities. HSE News Service spoke with Charlotte about her courses, living in Moscow, and her extensive weekend travels.
Anna Berti Suman, PhD candidate from the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) at Tilburg University and Visiting Researcher at the European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) recently spent a week at HSE’s Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism as a Visiting Lecturer. Anna led two seminars and participated in a public round table on ‘Law, Data and the City’. HSE News Service spoke with her about her seminars, the round table, and her impressions of Moscow.
In early July, the fifth summer school organized by French association D’Est together with the HSE Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism, with the support of the French Embassy in Russia and the Paris Mayor’s Office, was held in Paris. For 11 days, students of the HSE Master’s programme in Urban Development and Spatial Planning and members of Moscow’s Municipal Council learned about French urban development, local administration and the country’s participatory democracy.
The new Zaryadye Park in Moscow has inspired a series of studies and seminars involving urbanists, cultural scientists, designers, anthropologists and geographers. Researchers Michał Murawski, Margarita Chubukova, and Daria Volkova reviewed some of the ideas about the new park in HSE's Urban Studies and Practices Journal. We present a summary of their key findings.
Master’s programme in Prototyping Future Cities offered by the HSE Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism was launched in 2017 and has since become quite popular among international students. Students from all over the world come to Moscow to learn how to use technologies to deal with future challenges of urban development. Two of the first-year students have talked to HSE News Service about studying on the programme and the projects they have been working on.
Benito Juarez, the founder of the first Fab Lab in South America and the Latin America Fab Lab Network, has come to HSE University for the 2018 autumn semester as an invited lecturer on Master’s Programme in Prototyping Future Cities. He is delivering a course in Impact Analysis for first-year students and leading the City Project module, a practical component of the Master’s programme. Mr Juarez has talked to HSE News Service about fab lab projects, creative cities of the future, and the courses he is teaching at HSE.