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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

In an interview with mos.ru, Pierfrancesco Maran spoke about the positive changes that have taken place in the Russian capital in recent years, the improvement of the quality of life of the city dwellers through convenient infrastructure and the involvement of young people.

Improving the quality of life of city dwellers comes out on top for most megacities. A convenient city will be able to attract young professionals, business representatives and new investments. Deputy Mayor of Milan for Urban Planning, Environment and Agriculture Pierfrancesco Maran during Moscow Urban Forum, Which took place in Zaryadye from 1 to 4 July, told mos.ru how to make the city more attractive, assessed the changes in the capital and shared Milan’s experience in construction and solving transport problems.

– You have already come to Moscow. What changes did you notice in our city after your previous visit, what impressed you the most?

I’ve been here every year since 2013. I think the city has changed a lot. Speaking about specific solutions, I was surprised at how some parks have changed, for example, Gorky Park. And there is now pedestrian space in the city center. By investing in the expansion of pedestrian zones, you are investing in the development of trade, restaurants. This has a good effect on the economy and quality of life.

– Moscow entered in the top three megalopolises in the world, the most attractive for residents. This is evidenced by a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In your opinion, what factors make a city attractive to people?

First of all, jobs and attracting young people are important, because they are now the focus in every developing city. Every developing metropolis needs young people. If you attract young people, you provide the foundation for the success of the entire society. If I was an investment, I would invest in the development of universities.

– The new goal of cities is to become comfortable for residents. How can this be achieved?

I think many cities, including Moscow, are moving towards development according to a certain strategy. Everyone – Moscow, Paris – invests in the quality of cities. The new concept is to bring quality infrastructure closer to home. We are engaged in the creation of new parks, squares, new pedestrian zones, new services that would be 15-20 minutes from your home. Quality should not only be for the rich, it should be for everyone.

– The population of cities continues to increase, and low-rise buildings give way to skyscrapers. How to integrate new buildings into the architecture and at the same time maintain the attractiveness of the city?

This is an important question, because I think the future belongs to cities. You can imagine people who want to live in them. In some places, of course, the solution may be to build taller buildings. But this is not possible everywhere, and you cannot just build, because there is a need.

When building a zone, we must first of all be based on the concept and idea of ​​development. The magic of cities such as Moscow or Milan is that there are new amazing places here, but at the same time old buildings, traditional buildings are preserved and there is still room for squares and green areas. It is worthy of respect.

– What building in Milan could be an example of new construction for other cities?

There is experience in the implementation of the project “Vertical Forest” by architect Stefano Boeri (Residential complex in the form of two towers in Porta Nuova, where trees and bushes grow on the balconies. – Ed.). This is quite impressive because the project shows that it is possible to pay attention to landscaping during construction. This can be repeated in many parts of the world, I think this is an interesting idea.

– The transport problem also remains one of the main problems for most cities. What Moscow transport solutions interested you the most?

Over the past decades, I have seen that in Moscow there have been many attempts to resolve the transport issue. I remember when parking fees were introduced eight years ago. This was a strategic innovation. I think that the development of the public transport system is important, but one solution to reduce the number of cars is not enough. If you need to use a car, use it, but this should not be the main way of getting around the city. It is necessary to leave space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Milan, like Moscow, consists of transport rings. We have, however, fewer rings than in Moscow. 10 years ago, we introduced a tax levy for entering the second ring of the city, in the inner part of Milan. And thus we have reduced traffic by 30 percent. It worked for us.

Car sharing is another moment in the mobility revolution. I want to see what we achieve next year, as we are increasingly moving to electric cars and self-driving cars. I think this will be related to changes in car sharing. A direction may appear where you do not share the car with everyone, but only with the inhabitants of your house or friends, if someone needs to go to a restaurant or out of town.

– The coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the townspeople and their lives. How can the consequences of the pandemic affect urbanism?

We do not know if this is a temporary or permanent issue. But we shouldn’t complain, we need to adapt to the situation. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to reimagine certain spaces.

Of course, we all miss the crowds at concerts where we could jump, shout together. Now restrictions are an absolute necessity, but later it can be seen as a new possibility. If we take social distance, we can close the distance whenever we want, but why would we go back to the desk in the office? We now have more room for ourselves.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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