of the Moscow
city government
Superstar cities.
Transforming for success
1-4 july 2021

Manifesto of the Moscow Urban Forum 2021

A country’s economic success and international prestige depend on whether or not it has one or several cities that serve as global hubs for human resources, investments, and technologies. Such cities are the face of the country and the foundation for national development.

What are they like, modern superstar cities? Borrowing a metaphor from astronomy, we can say that some cities are blue giants — the world capitals that have been world leaders for decades. In contrast, others are supernovas — the ever-expanding megacities in developing countries. The rest are the fast-paced, flashy comets — these cities suddenly soar to fame thanks to a specific feature.

Superstar cities have both created a sprawling urban environment that ensures a high quality of life for their citizens and have also managed to become paragons and role models — textbook examples of urban transformation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously disrupted life in many megacities and raised a complex question: What will the future of superstar cities be? So now the global arena is welcoming new champions — cities that have managed to overcome the crisis with minimal losses, becoming new models of sustainability.

Getting on the star list today is no easy task. Cities need to work hard for many years and present bold ideas and unique projects. Over the past ten years, urban environment and architecture have undergone a global transformation. The social structure of cities has changed as well, boosted by the scientific and technological revolution giving megacities the ability to respond to global challenges such as the pandemic.

In urban structures, the focus has shifted to anthropocentricity — urban planning prioritizing the health and well-being of the local community. Staying on the star list is also becoming increasingly complicated: the modern world is developing and changing exponentially, with the competition over resources intensifying. The superstars of the present and future are cities capable of providing their people with a comfortable living environment. Active local communities represent such cities; they have what it takes to find answers to the most urgent questions and offer the world an appealing urbanization model that does its job.

Moscow Urban Forum 2021 «Superstar Cities. Transforming for Success» will be dedicated to the superstar city phenomenon, transformation strategies and practices, Sustainable Development Goals, and the challenges faced by cities and define up-to-date urban development agenda on the global level. The Forum is a conversation about the issues of the modern world during and after the pandemic. A search for efficient solutions and prospects for post-pandemic recovery. A dialogue about what makes cities competitive and which ideas and projects help cities become leaders. And of course, it’s an homage to all the things we love our cities for: their unique features and character. In the world of global standards, the real stars are cities that are adaptable and do not lose their identity and their unique spirit; cities that value nothing more than human beings and their quality of life.

Speakers 2021