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article imageNew plan could see Moscow double in size

By Chanah Rubenstein     Jul 13, 2011 in World
Moscow - The city of Moscow is about to more than double its landmass. A new plan would have the Russian capital grow from its current 107,000 hectares of land to 251,000 hectares.
The proposal would see some federal government agencies moved outside the current city limits and a centralized financial district moved from the centre of Moscow to its western and south-western outskirts.
The Moscow Times has reported that President Dmitry Medvedev approached the Governor of Moscow region, Boris Gromov and the capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, with the idea of expanding the city’s limits at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last month.
On Monday, mayor Sobyanin announced the plan that would see the city grow 2.4 times its current size, though he stressed that there are no financial figures attached to the proposal as of yet, as it is still very much a preliminary plan. The plan also sees an expansion to the metro transit lines.
The plan is seen as a way of relieving the over crowdedness of Moscow. The city boasts of a current population of 11.5 million people. According to RIA-Novosti, the current population density is at 11,000 people per square kilometer, whereas Berlin is only 4,000 people per square kilometer.
On Tuesday, Mikhail Blinkin, director of research at Moscow’s Transport and Road Institute, told RIA-Novosti that it will take about 7 years to put in the road transport infrastructure. "It will take between one and a half and two years to design the project and another five to put in place the road transport infrastructure,” he said.
It is also reported that while the landmass of Moscow has increased 20 percent in the past 50 years, the population has since doubled.
Channel 6 News states that Moscow is currently the 31st largest city in the world. The plan, when completed, will see it move up to the 7th largest city. It is also currently the 7th most populated city in the world.
In a report by The Moscow Times released Wednesday, head of City Hall’s urban construction department, Marat Khusnullin, said that to complete the plan as it is, in full, will take 20 years to complete.
Robert Vartevanian, head of the infrastructure and project finance group at KPMG has said that it is doable, though it will be a challenge and face many obstacles. “Moscow is already a city of global scale — one of the world’s largest cities by population. But it’s not yet global in terms of support infrastructure in the broadest sense and the ability to attract international finance,” he said.
He added that the city also needs to finance the project with resources found outside the city’s budget.
It is reported that developing the area will provide housing for 2 million people and jobs for 1 million.
Despite anticipated benefits from the plan, there are also expected obstacles. One such obstacle is what to do about current land owners who own the land on the outskirts of Moscow.
Dmitry Baranov, an infrastructure analyst at Finam, told The Moscow Times that “It’s a huge problem from the human point of view. Money takes a back seat to the question of people’s destiny.”
Baranov pointed out the state of affairs regarding the Sochi Olympic Games, which saw numerous protests over compensation for residents for the land used in constructing the venues for the Games. He also pointed out that things could be worse for Moscow as “the land is more expensive” and “people have put down roots.”
A recent poll by the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) states that a majority of Muscovites approve of the idea to expand Moscow, reports Channel 6 News.
More about Moscow, Dmitry medvedev, St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia
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