Page 1

Big city - big problems A conversation between Vyacheslav Glazychev and Markus Appenzeller Published in Отечественные записки, 3/2012, translation by Google translate Vyacheslav Glazychev: One of the main problems in Moscow, which we are now discussing with the authorities - city needs housing for rent, as the idea of the early 1990's, that everyone should be their own homes, were not viable. In humans it is simply no money. Markus Appenzeller: In the Netherlands, where I live, there is a similar phenomenon, but for different reasons. People here are not poor, but if before the economic and debt crisis could get a loan equal to the full commercial value of the apartment, and many took advantage of this, after the crisis, banks have returned to more standard conditions in Western Europe, when you need to at least 20 percent equity and only 80 percent can take to the bank. This means that a very large number of people can not afford to buy a home.And now we have got the same problem: how to provide rental housing for these people. They get a decent salary, and they have certain requirements that the market rental housing can not meet, since it relies on either the students or the ... VG: The young couple. MA: Yes, young couples and those who are willing to put up with poor quality housing. I worked a long time in London. There, the problem is solved as follows: each developer is obliged to provide a certain percentage of social and affordable housing, intended either for hire-purchase or for rent. And it is not a five, and about forty percent, which ultimately leads to higher housing market, because the only way developers can secure a profit. Accommodation in London is undoubtedly expensive, but it would have been even higher if it were not for this rule. VG: In your opinion, should I build housing in Moscow or rather to go beyond it? MA: The question of placing housing linked to the question of what should be the structure of the city. For now, many are working in the center, and live on the periphery, but also within the Ring Road, and this is partly the cause of traffic problems of the city: in the morning traffic flows are directed towards the center, and in the evening - from the center. Therefore, instead of placing housing even further outside of the city, it would, on the contrary, to make there jobs and use large areas of the center, which is empty, or almost not used for housing. Another question is how this is linked to the market - if you can afford to build social housing on the very expensive areas? VG: To some extent we can, because the land is still part owned by the town, but too many do not. There is another problem: we have a very strong movement for the preservation of historical monuments, the slogan is: Hands off from the city center, let it be a museum! MA: From my point of view, it would be better to pay less attention to the preservation of old buildings, declaring them to be inviolable, because it kills the life of the city and, in a sense, his future. Somewhere, perhaps saving solution would be true, because you have musicians who want to keep, but I think the city should not be regarded as something static. We live in a strange time, when the old is often valued higher than today. However, if we look at the historical background of the city, they ... VG: ... are constantly changing ... MA: Yes, and thinking is different, and what we feel old, changed countless times. Now we say: do not want to change! I find it strange. But I think if you start to change something, we must first think about


what you want to change what you can change and what are the implications of these changes. I would rather concentrate on the modernization of buildings, while retaining certain bands, because when it comes to people, "Do not touch", they give up, and then either the authorities have to worry about these buildings, or they simply deteriorate. VG: What can you say about the traffic in Moscow? This is one of the main issues which we are now engaged. We have a traditional subway lines which extend continuously, you see, to Vladivostok reach, added one after the other station. Thus between them very long distances. Due to this we have to use a lot of buses to take people to the metro. It is clear that we need an alternative system for the metro, and it should be created. If you were given a free hand, what would you have done here in public transport? MA: I think you need a reasonably arranged BRT systems, comparable in capacity to the metro, which is very cheap and can be quickly expanded. In Moscow, in general the whole transport system is in need of major renovations. When you come from the airport to the Belarusian railway station, you have ten minutes to stamp with things Metro. Not surprisingly, people prefer to travel by tube from the airport by taxi or private transport.And I often see in your city, as public transport is in the mirrors. I'm sure as soon as you have dedicated lanes for buses and tramways, closed to cars, people quickly realized that public transportation in traffic jams clogged the city is not the worst choice. As for the creation of an entirely new transport system, both surface and underground, I doubt it, because it would require additional land, there is also the problem of organizing direct from one system to another. Given the scale of Moscow's most obvious choice for it is the subway, because it the largest capacity among all types of public transport, and it has minimal impact on ground construction. A station you really are too far from each other, and to them it is sometimes really hard to get. VG: But the capacity of underground lines does not allow to increase the speed or add more trains: Metro is already operating at full capacity. Without a completely new system which, in addition, would connect the suburban town with each other, bypassing the center, we can not do. This calls for bold solutions, which is very difficult. MA: Yes, the line that links the outer regions of Moscow with radial and circular lines, but not to the center, you really need. VG: Many decided to measures restricting entry to the center, but we have a politically unfeasible. MA: But in many places it works. Do not think that I stand up for the eradication of cars in cities. The car itself is not evil, and there is nothing wrong to have it, just use it often misunderstood. But this can be overcome - Radical all arrived in London, there charge for entry to the center. In my opinion, there are other, more effective ways. In Rotterdam, I've had to take four and a half euros per hour of parking in the central multi-storey car park. If I have an appointment at the center, and they rarely last less than two hours, I was at such prices advantageous to take a taxi, which in no problem. Well, another option - use a bicycle. VG: Bike for our city will not do. MA: I do not agree with the fact that Moscow is not possible to use the bike. For example, we in Holland minus twenty is not so rare, but people continue to ride bicycles. The point here is not the temperature, but in thinking. But, of course, one must consider the scale - Moscow is a big city. VG: And the climate - a very significant factor. We have a lot of dark and cold days, and we, I think, to what has been done, for example, in Toronto, where you can enter the building, go down, go up, while remaining under the roof. What do you think about the possibility to arrange our pedestrian zone,


which would pass under the streets with their terrible traffic and would be three-dimensional, rather than two-dimensional living space? MA: Well, you mentioned Toronto. In Toronto, the city has a summer and a winter city. Summer City what we call the street, and a winter city is a lower level, there are no cars, and it works on the principle of the pedestrian street. VG: Galleries, and between them a passage in which, too, feel like in an art gallery ... MA: I think you could develop this concept, gradually linking a variety of areas. In Moscow, I am embarrassed by the fact that trading is usually done indoors, and it destroys the street life. In my opinion, it is important to develop a typology oriented street space in the summer, when the pleasure to be on the street, and the use of space in the cold season. I do not know, did you notice that when you come out of the Kursk station, then find yourself in front of the facade shopping complex, which is a blank wall. This complex embodies the traditional American model, is essentially a "closed box", in which a more or less beautiful interior environment. But if you are in an urban context, this is unacceptable, because the interior is not only important, but also how the building affects the surrounding context. In my opinion, the appearance of Moscow might change for the better, if the space is the interior of the winter, in the summer to become more open to the street and involved in street life. You complain about the cold winter, and in summer because you can be very hot. So the problem here is not in the climate. And those large industrial objects, you have talked about, such as factory ZIL, with huge, interconnected production facilities, for any use them almost automatically fit into the logic of "streets in the room." VG: Our cities are clogged with standard multi-story buildings, with which it is not clear what to do. What would you suggest as an architect? MA: We in Eastern Germany has the same problem and a similar architecture. But in contrast to Moscow in East Germany shrinking population: people move to the western part of the country, and it is to some extent a free hand to architects. To change the construction of the socialist era, they remove part of the design panel buildings and thus transform them into something else entirely. People now have terraces, balconies and so on, which completely changes the appearance of the houses. I think, in this area can do a lot, even in terms of population growth, for example, to add elements to the buildings that give them a special appearance and in addition allow you to increase the number of apartments. At the time, the Dutch had a program of construction of so-called "parasites": on the roofs of buildings erected additional housing. The building is altered beyond recognition and gained a very unusual appearance. Something like this would have helped to change and the general monotony of your urban area. Invest in the improvement of the visual characteristics of the buildings, of course, necessary. Somewhere imminent demolition, because the quality of the buildings is that their upgrade is useless. However, where the quality is satisfactory, I would take their modernization, which involves more than one building painted in orange, the other - in yellow, the third - in the blue, which happens quite often. But imagine that you are using more valuable material, add balconies, some other items, and then you will begin to move away from this geometric, block shape. You know, wherever in the world you go, everywhere around one to two percent of the general fund annually reconstructed or replaced. This means that, at least at least once in a hundred years, each building is undergoing renovation or replacement. And if it is two per cent, for fifty years can completely change the look of the whole city, and almost naturally. VG: I have here what problem you want to discuss. In the nineties, and zero's, when we had the construction fever, developers still had no idea what a good architecture. Architect, as we know - the serving profession. The owner is the owner, either do what he demands, or leave. The result is a set of quite monstrous buildings, literally crammed into the existing building.


MA: But there are also positive examples. Yesterday I was looking through a magazine dedicated to modern architecture in Moscow, and two dozen projects in this magazine I found interesting. I know many young Russian architects, they, unfortunately, do not get big orders and small design houses, but gradually they will start working on large projects, and this will lead to some changes. I must say, the last time I've been in a lot of China, and, in my opinion, there are many cities look much worse than Moscow. They are newer and the infrastructure there is new, but they have little or no experience of life. But in Moscow, even the ugly parts, there is a sense of history and a sense that people live there. In my opinion, in all the cities are beautiful and ugly areas, and Moscow - are no exception. We always admire New York, but I know there place, such as the Bronx, built-up social housing, where you do not want to be, for which the "ugly" - a very mild epithet. The problem is that politicians need the product, because they have to submit it to the voters as his achievement. Builders also think in terms of the product. I believe that the city - it is rather a continuous process. This is where the difficulties arise. Governments and developers often think: Here we have developed a master plan, and now it is precisely defined. But this is not the case: in fact, the master plan is only a first step, it starts the process, the time scale of which - for many decades and which can not be described in detail in any plan. Do not get me wrong, I'm not going to say that the plans are not needed. For example, we in London are developing a plan for the next four or five years of future use of the Olympic Park, where the Games will be held this year. Restructuring there will begin in 2014, by which time all of the Olympic infrastructure becomes available. And then we come to the planning horizon 2040-2045 period. But this is precisely the horizon. Imagine that 35 years ago, somewhere in 1977, you would have decided to predict exactly what will happen in 2010. It's impossible. There were no mobile phones, no personal computers, no globalization, and the Cold War is not over ... We can not predict what will happen beyond the five-year horizon. At the same time, this does not mean that we should not plan for the more distant future. As for the Great Moscow, here we are talking about a plan that can not be calculated for at least fifty years, because it provides a number of strategic decisions that set the scope of opportunities in which to develop the city. That is, plans should be developed, but that does not mean that they should be written: we build a station here, another there, such and such a building will look like so. Planning lies elsewhere - in particular directions. VG: Laws of the Game ... MA: Well, yes. In particular, if we again go back to the Great Moscow, the plan should take into account the fact that in all the information in one historic center. As I understand it, is the idea to bring the entire administrative and business center of the city, but it is, in my opinion, does not solve the transportation problem, but aggravates it: the people who live, say, in the northern part of Moscow, and from there go to work, will have to continue to go through the center to get to the transport system, which will take them to a new area. VG: It's all just words, the idea will die. MA: Let's hope. VG: Certainly. To implement it, there is simply no money, and it's very good. MA: In the majority of Moscow - European city. Now has a population of eleven million. VG: The real figure for Moscow - about sixteen million. MA: That is, Moscow is on a par with cities such as Shanghai, Beijing or New York. I was researching the cities with a population of over ten million, and all of them, except for New York and Buenos Aires,


polycentric. In my opinion, Moscow should move towards the creation of other centers in addition to the center, which we know today. VG: Forty years ago, was a master plan of Moscow, which provided for the establishment of seven sub-centers. It can not be called bad, he just did not have anything to do with the real political and economic organization of the city. Now we are in a sense trying to get back to this idea, identify the areas where such centers could be organized. The problem is that many would like to move to the suburbs. This requires the creation of additional centers around Moscow, in order to reduce pressure on the city and change its model. It is very difficult and probably take a while. But at least we're trying to move in this direction. MA: I would say that the centers would be wise to place between the Garden Ring and the ring road, and not beyond it, because they would bond and the center of Moscow, and its periphery. VG: It's reasonable, but unwieldy, because many areas clogged condominium. MA: But you have a reserve, as located in the center of the industrial enterprises. I do not think they are happy with its location, it does not allow them to grow, difficult to transport links. For some reason when it comes to such enterprises, the idea does not go beyond their use as a work space for artists and cultural sites.But these areas, these spaces are so extensive that fill them all cultural objects unlikely. And why not use them for commercial offices, why not build housing at these sites? VG: With the use of these sites is also a very big problem, because many of them are federal, not city property. MA: I'm not saying it's easy, but I hope that the ongoing discussion of these things will eventually lead to certain results. VG: If you try to establish a hierarchy of how Moscow interest to you professionally? MA: It's always interesting to solve difficult problems. As applied to your capital difficulty is that Moscow is truly great, and it makes it interesting in itself. If you achieve this improvement, we have improved the lives of many people. In Western Europe, it is long gone, there it is, as a rule, is not of any significant improvements. In general, it seems that more and more people are realizing that something needs to happen with Moscow, and it is, of course, opens up prospects. VG: It's going on: the first time we are working in the "open field": to persuade the authorities to announce an international competition to develop the concept of the development of the Moscow region.Nothing like this has not been done. The competition involved several groups, which is important, with different approaches, most of them mixed - made up of Russian and foreign experts, which works fine. So I - moderate optimist. MA: The Plan, a concept - it's fine, but if there is not taken into account the interests of different sectors of the population, the realities of the market, do not be implemented. Do you happen to have a master plan in 1971: intentions were the best, but this document does not take into account some of the key factors of urban development, and although it has not been canceled, no one was in a hurry to do. Today, there is the same or even greater risk, as the inhabitants of the capital of a growing understanding that how the city will develop directly affect their lives. So I very much hope that there would be a public discussion of the concept. VG: I will, with the most extensive. Incidentally, I wonder, why would you start to transform Moscow? MA: With the development of an overall strategic plan development - this is the key point. And then I'd try to quickly get some real progress, which would be assessed the general public. This is important, because if you want to achieve something, you need as soon as possible to demonstrate the impact, so that people understand what this plan and what improvements it can bring. And I would, of course,


be immediately invested in improving the quality of public spaces. I'm not talking about the parks, where it is relatively simple to do, I'm talking about the street, on the street scene. I'm in Moscow often have the feeling that the streets here are not seen as urban spaces, and as transport corridors. When you stand next to the third ring, you see only the concrete, and this is the functional space is not much different from the Champs Elysees.But on the Champs Elysees completely different feel urban environment. The city has control of most of the public areas, the transport system over and above the public buildings. At these sites and have to concentrate, and to cope with the rest of the market. For example, yesterday I was involved in discussions about how to proceed with the site next to the Kremlin, where once stood the hotel "Russia". In my opinion, this is the place to be to build up the unique public buildings. For example, in Paris, built the Pompidou Centre, which seems alien inclusion of surrounding buildings, but it completely changed the look of the city: instead Haussmanian Paris XVIII-XIX centuries, the modern city came late XX century. I think Moscow is not enough of something like this. Someone or ask the Kremlin is a modern way of Moscow, and the new development could ... VG: ... balance it ... MA: I do not know if you can balance it, but you could add something contemporary, something new. This building must have a certain size and if you want to be radical enough, as if to say, this is something new, a new Moscow. I think this solution is more interesting than just smash the place of "Russia" park. VG: But in the central part of the city has no parks, of course, it does not have to be a huge park, it could interact with the structure of which you speak. MA: To be honest, in my opinion, in the central part of Moscow is not so small in some degree of public green areas, and I do not think there is need another park. But I agree with you that it is appropriate mix of development and open space. Yesterday on the discussion, I use the term "Forums", and in the following sense. Everyone knows the Museum Quarter in Vienna? It is interesting because it is an open space with certain properties of the park and at the same time looks like a city block, lined with buildings as museums. I think you need something like that. Markus Appenzeller is a director of MLA+ Vacheslav Glazychev was Doctor of Arts, Professor at the Institute of Architecture; Director of the Institute of Innovation Promotion of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. He was one of the most well known urban planners of Russia. He died in June 2012.

MLA+ Rotterdam Office

London Office

Shanghai Office

Vijverhofstraat 47 3032 SB Rotterdam Niederlande

19-21 Nile Street London N1 7LL United Kingdom

T +31(0)10 443 90 70 F +31(0)10 443 90 61

T +44(0)207 336 73 53 F +44(0)207 336 76 55

R302, 694 Huai An Lu 200041 Shanghai, Jingån District People’s Republic of China T +86(0)21 6381 8852 F +86(0)21 6210 6752

info@mlaplus.com mlaplus.com

Profile for Markus Appenzeller MLA+

Big city, big problems  

Domestic Notes 3/2012 - Conversation between Markus Appenzeller and Vyacheslav Glazychev

Big city, big problems  

Domestic Notes 3/2012 - Conversation between Markus Appenzeller and Vyacheslav Glazychev

Profile for mlaplus
Advertisement