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Controversial building plan – death sentence to Moscow?

Published time: October 28, 2010 21:20
Edited time: October 28, 2010 21:20

The Moscow City Duma has approved a "General Plan for the Development of Moscow Through 2025” that sets out a long-term policy on building projects in the city. However, opinions on the project are divided.

The controversial plan took more than three years to work out. After heavy criticism from the Public Chamber in March, branding the document "a death sentence" for Moscow, 609 amendments to the draft have been put forward – which the officials have taken into account. Still, the document’s approval triggered protests outside the City Duma.

Critics believe the plan is harmful to the city and violates the rights of Muscovites. They add that greedy authorities do not care about the city, in particular about its historical center.

The concerns have been voiced that the signing of the plan will result in the demolition of many historic buildings.

“As a result of adopting the plan, 300 monuments will be demolished. Another 1,500 monuments, whose fate hasn't been decided yet, will remain standing in new building sites for all the leisure centres and office buildings they want to build. The whole historic Boulevard Ring will be covered in them,” Anton Belyakov, State Duma deputy from Fair Russia party, said.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, however, is sure that the plan will be beneficial to the capital and all the fuss about it was created by journalists.

According to the plan, the city will be divided into two parts – a stabilization zone and development zone.

Old residential areas and the city centre will be viewed as stabilization zones and will be subject only to capital repairs and infrastructure development.

Development zones will include industrial districts and those with old five-storey blocks where reconstruction works will be carried out as well as the demolition of old blocks and building of new ones.

On the whole, it is planned to demolish about 5 million square meters of old housing by 2025 and 2.7 million square meters of social housing are to be built every year. All in all, Moscow housing stock is expected to increase by 100 million square meters, reaching the figure of 285 million square meters of housing.

In addition, many new cultural centers, schools, kindergartens, business and sports facilities are to be built. Also, plenty of new parking spaces are to be provided for Muscovites.

As these new structures will demand changes in the city’s transport system, the total length of Moscow roads is to grow by 50% to 6,000 km. Public transport will also witness serious changes. By 2025, the length of the Moscow metro system is to be increased by 68.7 km and, in the long run, local authorities are planning to make it twice as long as it is now – that is 650-kilometer long. Moreover, metro is to become part of a larger transport system consisting of express lines, mini lines, and light-rail metro with railway connections. Special attention will be paid to the development of green transport – trolleybuses and trams. There will also be a special high-speed tram line built.