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‘Moscow Street’ becomes the only European finalist in ULI Global Awards for Excellence

, Cities

Author Lynsey Free

The Moscow Street Program, conducted by Strelka KB and a team of international experts to revitalize the Russian capital’s urban landscape, has been named a finalist in the 2019 ULI Global Awards for Excellence.

Photo courtesy Strelka KB

The major project, which was commissioned by the Moscow City Government and spanned three years, saw Strelka KB and an international team work to transform Moscow into becoming a more human-centered, greener, and sustainable city. The program overhauled more than 200 public spaces across Moscow ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

To achieve this ambitious goal, Strelka KB developed an approach which focused on five main principles: safety, ecology, uniqueness, diversity, and comfort.

From 2015 to 2018, major changes were seen in the city, including the “100 Gardens of the Garden Ring” which added 2,880 trees and 13 new public spaces around Moscow’s central ring road. A total of 7,000 new trees were planted city-wide—a major feat considering such planting was previously banned due to old pipes and other utilities. A new root barrier help skirt those restrictions.

Pedestrians were a major priority from the beginning, with the ‘Moscow Street’ team implementing changes which have led to a 23 percent increase in pedestrian traffic since 2015. This was done by reducing the width of traffic lanes, which freed up 16 percent of roadways to make way for widened sidewalks and miniature parks in the middle of busy city streets.

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Photos courtesy Strelka KB

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One of the biggest overhauls of the city took place on the central Tverskaya Street, which was transformed into a walkable space with wide sidewalks which now welcome skateboarders, wheelchair users, and families. The entire area was transformed from being an eyesore to being one of Moscow’s only official street sport venues.

These accomplishments, along with the many others completed as part of the ‘Moscow Street’ program, were finished ahead of Russia’s successful hosting of the 2018 World Cup. To help other Russian cities prepare for the event, the program’s principles were also applied to Russia’s outer regions, covering 223 public spaces in 40 cities—the largest urban redevelopment project in post-Soviet Russia.

FIFA President Gianni Infante ultimately called the 2018 World Cup the best World Cup ever. That statement was a particularly notable one, considering many host cities didn’t have stadiums ready leading up to the tournament, much less pedestrian-friendly spaces with transport and leisure infrastructure to match.

‘Moscow Street’ is one of 19 finalists in the 2019 ULI Global Awards for Excellence, which was founded in 1979 by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute (ULI). It is the only nominee from Europe. The finalists were selected by a jury made up of ULI members who represent a multidisciplinary collection of real estate development expertise, including finance, land planning, development, public affairs, design, and other professional services.

“What distinguished the 19 finalists is the way they have significantly improved the communities in which they are located,” said jury chairman and leading ULI member Jacinta McCann.

Winners will be recognized at the 2019 ULI Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C., in September.

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