Moscow Urban Forum 2020: 'Superstar Cities' and Moscow's experience for the global community
The 10th Moscow Urban Forum was presented at the World Urban Forum (WUF10), which has been held in Abu Dhabi since 2002 as part of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to discuss urbanisation and its impact on people, cities, the economy, climate change and politics.
For the first time ever, the Moscow Government is participating in this major international event dedicated to urban development. The Russian capital has got the largest stand at the exhibition, and it is interactive. It is hosting presentations of various Moscow projects - transport development, renovation, the Big City, sports cluster development, parks and public spaces. In addition, there was a presentation of the 10th Moscow Urban Forum, the world's largest annual urban congress, which will be held in Zaradye park on 2-5 July 2020.
The Moscow Government stand at the WUF is designed to remind foreign forum participants of Zaryadye park – a new symbol of Moscow, now recognisable throughout the world. Zaryadye park is where the Moscow Urban Forum will be held for the third time; its theme this year will be 'Superstar Cities. Successful Transformation Lessons'. The Moscow Urban Fest, a large and the world's only urban festival, which last year was attended by over 200,000 people, will join the Forum's business segment of the programme this year. It will feature some urbanism and architecture stars. Moreover, the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall will host an open, large-scale interactive public exhibition of Moscow.
'Moscow is a source of the best urban practices for the world's megacities', explains Denis Boikov, Director of the Moscow Urban Forum. 'We started this forum ten years ago, when Moscow was in need of certain global practices. We launched it with a desire to study and implement these global practices, and now we have got an opportunity to share them with others. When we speak of Superstar Cities, we don't just mean big cities like New York. We mean cities that have been successfully transformed in record time, such as Vancouver, Copenhagen, or Abu Dhabi. These are vibrant cities, case-study cities, cities that can be followed, cities that can serve as examples. They are notable for their changes, for their positive practices. And we try to attract cases from these kinds of cities, we invite them to make presentations and hold various meetings at our events. Our goal is to collect as much experience as possible and to share it. Not only to describe what happened, but to explain how it happened: the tools, the mechanisms, the interactions with city residents, how to build this process, what negative and positive lessons can be learned'.
According to Boikov, the Forum invitation campaign has already started, and Peter Feldmann, Mayor of Frankfurt-on-Main, Enrique Peñalosa, ex-Mayor of Bogotá, Patrik Schumacher, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, Jan Gehl, a Danish urbanist and architect, Antoni Vives, the founder of City Transformation Agency–Barcelona, and others have confirmed their participation in the event.
'Jan Gehl will be speaking about how to develop public spaces, and we are particularly interested in his opinion: he participated in the first Forum, and now he will be able to see the progress we have made over the past 10 years – and this will be one of the key topics at this MUF', pointed out Boikov.
According to Boikov, the URBAN HEALTH congress will be a major part of the MUF business segment: 'We launched it last year, and will continue doing it because the issue of urban health is not just about social infrastructure; it is also about the quality of life for city residents, such as healthy housing, public transport, architecture and so on. In general, it is everything that affects the quality of life. We will be discussing how to manage a city, with the aim of improving its quality of life and life expectancy'.
'International co-operation is one of our goals, which is why we are here in Abu Dhabi', Boikov said. 'We went to Kuala Lumpur for the WUF, and in 2018 we signed a cooperation memorandum with UN-Habitat'. At the Moscow Urban Forum 2019, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, noted: 'Moscow's experience can prove useful to many cities that UN-Habitat collaborates with. We invited Moscow to share its experience and technical expertise with other cities'.