Dutch firms de Architekten Cie and Felixx Landscape Architects are to redesign the historic centre of Chelyabinsk, a city in central Russia, about 1,500km east of Moscow.
The city, which has a population of 1.5 million, aims to "attract new residents and shift towards new economies". Surveys have found that residents see Chelyabinsk as peripheral, and many of young people and higher earners moving to Moscow and St Petersburg.
The aim of the masterplan is to counter this trend by making the city a "breeding ground for social capital" by fitting it with urban environments to attract "people and parties that support a shift towards new economies, targeting a gradual replacement of polluting industries by a variety of functions and activities".
De Architekten Cie says Chelyabinsk already holds the spatial framework for the transformation to happen. It says the plan has three stages:
- Grid: Streets will serve as linear public spaces. The redevelopment and upgrading of streets allows for the integration of environmental infrastructure, the organisation of slow traffic and public transportation.
- Blocks: The existing blocks in the city leave a lot of empty space yet to be developed. The masterplan proposes gradual transformation of the existing grid by replacing deteriorated properties and completing city blocks. Residential functions will be relocated in the center of the city.
- Catalyst projects: Specific projects will be developed to revitalise certain areas and addÂ special qualities to the city, or boost development and transformation. These projectsÂ enable the government to control the speed of the transformation and the areas where itÂ is happening. The most important project is the redevelopment of the waterfront districts along the River Miass.
No date has been set for the implementation of the masterplan.
Chelyabinsk was founded as a base from which to protect trade caravans from bandits. It later became an important centre for relocated industry during the Second World War.
Images via Felixx Landscape Architects