IV Moscow Urban Forum: Catalysts of Growth and Best Practice in Global Cities
On 11-12 December the IV Moscow Urban Forum ‘Drivers of City Development’ took place. The forum, an annual event since 2011, is an international conference on urban design, architecture, economics and strategic city planning.
Leading world experts on urban studies, government officials and businessmen and mayors of Russian and foreign cities gathered at the Manezh central exhibition hall to discuss global, Russian and Moscow city agendas and a wide range of contemporary urban issues.
A university can create a better quality urban environment
One session at the forum was devoted to the role of university buildings in the life of megacities. HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov spoke about how HSE is working in tandem with the city to develop its campuses.
He outlined four different models for university campuses - those built in isolation from cities, those built as a separate whole inside cities, those with buildings spread sporadically around a city and those in the city with increased connectedness between buildings.
The isolated campus
This model is most common in the US with rare examples in Europe - Oxford and Cambridge universities are not in this category because they are inside towns even though the towns grew around them. In Russia there are examples of attempts to create a new campus in several places outside towns - Skolkovo for example, outside Moscow and the Far Eastern Federal University, ‘planted’ on Russky Island off the coast of Vladivostok.
Self-contained campus within the city
This is the model you’ll find more commonly in Russia, and in China too. Several of Shanghai’s universities have campuses like self-contained districts in the city. This has some advantages over the isolated model - closer connections with the city and more opportunities for interaction with students who don’t live in university accommodation.
University ‘scattered’ around the city
You come across this kind of university most often in large Russian cities. HSE’s research shows that of 120 universities in Moscow, about half of them have buildings scattered all over the city and don’t have any connectedness in terms of urban territory. This chaotic allocation of university buildings happened particularly in the post-soviet period when projects to create new classrooms and student hostels were realised wherever they could find a space, often miles away from the main university buildings.
This undermines the internal connectedness of a university and students and teachers in different faculties simply lose sight of each other. It overloads the transport system and wastes enormous amounts of time. HSE Students who go to classes in the centre of Moscow and live in the hostel at Odintsova for six years ( 4 years BA and two years MA) spend the equivalent of one whole year on public transport.
Allocated campus with increased connectedness between buildings
This is the kind of campus HSE has decided to develop with the city authorities. The main principle determining the location of buildings is that students and teachers should not spend more than half an hour getting from one to another. HSE decided to stretch most of its buildings along the Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya Line on the metro (on its central stations).
As well as solving the transport problems, this model allows us to plug the university infrastructure into the city infrastructure to connect the city and university services and make a new kind of city and cultural environment as has happened in Boston (Harvard) and Paris (Latin Quarter and Sorbonne). For Moscow, parts of which have a rather low level of urban resources, this is a relevant and urgent task.
What can HSE give the city
HSE is suggesting to the city authorities to build university buildings in the North-East section of the Boulevard Ring road. Yaroslav Kuzminov says, ‘We can create a new urban environment in the district.’ The first stage would mean gradually saturating the historical part of the city with university activity, regenerating the environment by creating pedestrian zones which the students could use.
The second stage would be creating university services like time clubs, galleries, cultural centres for students and teachers. In the final, third stage when the campus is already taking shape and various cultural and social objects gravitate towards it like restaurants and youth hotels, the whole district becomes attractive not just for locals but for tourists and people who live outside the area, as happened with the Latin quarter in Paris.
So the university offers the city and its inhabitants and visitors sports and leisure activities, an open lectorium, and helps to transform libraries and create gallery spaces. As Yaroslav Kuzminov points out, ‘We’ve already begun the process with our University Open City’ project. Lots of people heard about our programmes in Moscow’s parks and museums. In future they’ll be concentrated in the central districts of the university location.’
One of the roundtables held during the XIX April Academic Conference featured a discussion of the report on morphology of Russian cities presented by Robert Buckley, Senior Fellow in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School, US. The report looked at what Russian cities look like in terms of population density, how the patterns Russian cities exhibit compare with those of other cities around the world, and what individual behaviours might have contributed to the appearance of a certain pattern.
HSE Graduate School of Urbanism has announced the results of the first international contest for students and young professionals ‘Cities For a Flying World’. The contest took place from May 29 to November 7, 2017 and was a part of the admission campaign for the new Master’s programme of the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism ‘Prototyping Future Cities’.
On November 27, Sonia Guelton, who teaches Real Estate Economics, Public Finance, and Development Economics at University Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), will arrive at HSE to deliver several lectures over the course of a week at the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism. Her lectures will cover housing market tensions in the EU, density in housing markets, and the role of public policy in addressing these issues. Ahead of her visit, she spoke with the HSE News Service in depth about her lectures, her research interests, and the lessons she has learned over the course of her career.
On July 17-28 an intensive course titled ‘In-transition lab: Structure as an Urban Catalyst’ by the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism (Moscow) and the Architectural Association School of Architecture (London) was held at Moscow’s Shukhov lab.
The HSE School of Cultural Studies has designed a museum dedicated to the Soviet-era apartment complexes called Khrushchyovka buildings. The plans of the museum were presented at a meeting held by the Russian Ministry of Culture in Tsarskoye Selo. Under the guidance of cultural studies Associate Professor Irina Gluschenko, undergraduate and post-graduate students began working on the project long before the topic of citywide building renovation became part of public discussion in Moscow.
Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism at HSE is regularly holding events and activities open to the general public. Deputy Dean Vera Leonova told The HSE Look about the goals of such open projects, benefits of collaborations and future plans of the school.
For foreign scholars who come to teach and conduct research at the Higher School of Economics, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod all provide a variety of interesting opportunities to enjoy a quality life. We spoke with several international scholars who now make these cities home about their experiences and the advice they would share with others who may be considering a move.
The new academic journal is entitled ‘Urban Studies and Practices’. The first issue came out this September. Now a call for papers for special issue on Migrants and the City has been announced. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2017.
Shukhov Lab, a Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design, has opened at HSE. Participants in a roundtable discussion dedicated to the laboratory’s opening agreed that to create the cities of the future, the present must be analyzed without adjusting to the forecasts.
The HSE Graduate School of Urbanism opens a Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design. At first, it will organize lectures and meetings with experts in urbanism, and in the new academic year, the laboratory will become an educational and research platform. But you can already meet it now – the Open Day will take place on December 15, 2016.