Panel Discussion "Development Drivers of a Polycentric Urban Model" Panel Discussion

Moscow, 16 October 2015, Moscow Urban Forum 2015 — As part of Moscow Urban Forum 2015, in Hall A of the Manege Central Exhibition Hall, a panel discussion "Development Drivers of a Polycentric Urban Model" was held, with the participation of Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Urban Planning and Construction, supervised by Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. Alexey Novikov, Dean of the Graduate School of Urban Studies of the Higher School of Economics, acted as a moderator.


During the panel discussion, pressing problems in urban planning and organisation of urban infrastructure were examined as exemplified by a major infrastructure project to be implemented in Moscow in the very near future. Panellists expounded upon the following issues that had arisen when implementing infrastructure projects:

  • Urban planning contradictions and citizens' interests
  • Maintaining a balance between strategic objectives of the city and residents' private needs
  • Risk of the occurrence of new centres of additional stress for the city
  • New management formats for development of large-scale territories through management companies
  • Development of a perfect functional programme for creation of a rich, new urban environment and, etc.


Upgrading the Small Ring of the Moscow Railway, construction of transportation interchange points, reconstruction of embankments and adjoining areas of the Moscow River—these are just a few of such projects. Marat Khusnullin, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Urban Development Policy and Construction, declared that the comprehensive development of transportation infrastructure and the construction of transfer hubs are the main forces behind the city's polycentric model. "The city finds new areas for growth and becomes more attractive to residents through the development of New Moscow, the renovation and reconstruction of industrial zones, and the improvement of both the pedestrian and waterway functions of the Moscow River. This will allow us to redistribute traffic flows and ease the long-standing problems of congestion in the city centre, and also the problem of uneven transportation development. It will ultimately create a new, polycentric structure that makes Moscow great for both work and relaxation." Khusnullin emphasized.


Members of the discussion agreed that the most important component of the polycentric model for Moscow should be the river. The goal for the next several years is to transform the river into the face of the city. The river needs to be an integral part of Moscow's overall development, and also made more accessible to residents.


According to Alexey Novikov, the Dean of the Higher School of Urbanism at HSE, the concept of polycentrism is nuanced in its foundations. "A multimodal transportation infrastructure and the construction of new transfer hubs will make residents more mobile. This will in turn lead to the formation of new subcentres, a denser urban environment, and the creation of commercial and recreational infrastructure within walking distance for residents."


Main talking points of the panel discussion "Development Drivers of the Polycentric City Model":

  • A city that exposes its face to residents will help them remain in their district and move economic activity more towards the periphery.
  • The accessibility of housing should be accounted for in every development project. An expansion of the rental housing market will make it easier for people to relocate for work or family.
  • Transportation infrastructure is a source of appeal for residents. Outbound routes and the metro are not just in the project pipeline, but are already acting as polycentric drivers.