18 July 2018 #Forum
Sergey Sobyanin: Connected Agglomerations, Environmental Problems and Smart City - Key Issues for the Metropolis of the Future

Cities of the future should be sustainable, inclusive, and built with due regard for the interests of all citizens. This was stated by participants in the plenary session "City of the Future. Responding to the Needs of the Person", which was held during the second day of the Moscow Urban Forum. The moderator of the session was PWC Partner in the UAE, Cities and Local Government Network Leader, Hazem Galal.

In his speech, Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin thanked President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for the high assessment of the city's development. It is the result of the enormous everyday work of millions of Muscovites, stressed Sobyanin. The Mayor of Moscow outlined key issues discussed at the Moscow Urban Forum 2018.

Three challenges for the city of the future

In the opinion of Sergey Sobyanin, the sustainable development of the megacities of the future is impossible without finding answers to the three challenges presented by the modern world: increasing the connectedness of agglomerations, resolving environmental problems, and developing "Smart City" projects.

Connectedness of agglomerations - this is not a whim and trend, but a vital necessity for large cities, the Moscow Mayor is convinced. The life of a big city is impossible to imagine without fast convenient transport. Twenty million people live in the agglomeration of the Russian capital, and the metropolis has 35 million people convenient transportation links are vital for them. Today in the metropolitan region railways are being included in the orbit of city transport, noted Sergey Sobyanin.

Solving environmental problems is a complex task, which includes the development of public transport and the use of new technologies in housing construction, as well as programs for sorting, processing and recycling garbage, said the Mayor of Moscow. Ninety percent of harmful emissions in Moscow come from private cars, so an increase in the percentage of residents using public transport will directly lead to an improvement in the environmental situation in the city. Each new technology introduced directly affects the health of Muscovites, Sergey Sobyanin declared.

The realization of the "Smart City" program will allow the creation of the most convenient, accessible and personalized virtual environment for Muscovites. It will improve the efficiency of city management through broad analysis of large data and the introduction of artificial intelligence, Sergey Sobyanin noted.

All electronic services in one place

The wide use of electronic services was described as a specific feature of the megacity of the 21st century by President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank, Andrey Kostin. The new space implies the possibility to receive high-quality urban services via Internet channels, and VTB is already introducing such services, in particular, non-cash payment for travel on transport, the Moskovenok school catering payment service, and the Velobike city bike rental system.

At present, VTB is developing the "My Smart City" service, which will unite all the services of "smart" Moscow in one application. VTB is also developing a project for a single Muscovite card, which will replace all types of social card. The pilot project on the transition to a single card starts in July 2018, Andrey Kostin announced.

Development of human potential

Russia underwent a process of accelerated urbanization in the 20th century. The extensive format of urbanization shaped the landscape of modern Russian cities. Head of Spatial Development Division of the Center for Strategic Research Natalia Trunova outlined the challenges facing Russian cities in the 21st century.

Natalia Trunova stated that one of the key challenges relates to the problem of single-industry towns, of which Russia has 319. According to the Center for Strategic Research, adapting single-industry towns to modern conditions is a long process. The result cannot be achieved within 1-2 years. Germany, for example, has been in the process of restructuring the Ruhr territories for around half a century, and it is not yet complete.

In the opinion of Natalia Trunova, in order for cities to become a source of economic growth it is necessary to implement a comprehensive urban policy. Today Russia’s cities with populations of over a million lag behind Moscow in relation to the urban development index.

The development of high-speed transport can significantly strengthen large cities, connecting agglomerations with each other. High-speed transport will provide access to high-tech services and cultural values to residents of small and medium-sized cities.

Moscow is not behind European cities in terms of the possibilities for development of human potential. In particular, a metropolis could be created in Siberia for development of scientific potential. Already today universities in Tomsk and Novosibirsk are included in world ratings. The number of leading cities in Russia should increase, experts from the Center for Strategic Research believe.