The people of Moscow have spoken. And they want more food markets, open air swimming pools and and community spaces. These are just some of the initial findings from What Moscow Wants, a project launched by the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design and Moscow Urban Forum on 10 July.
The aim of the project is to crowdsource ideas about how to improve the city from those living in the city. Olga Polishuk, project manager of What Moscow Wants, said: “We want to find out how the city can be improved from the bottom up. We want people to think about how they can influence the city. This culture is only beginning which means we’re not waiting for the government to take control.”
As well as launching a website, the team behind What Moscow Wants have been attending events such as Afisha Picnic to canvass suggestions. The project has received more than 750 ideas in less than three weeks. The form asks respondents questions about what change they want, why and where. Polishuk said: “We wanted to encourage positive thinking and ideas.” In additional to markets, swimming pools and community spaces other suggestions include a city ferry and electronic countdown displays at bus-stops.
The project will take place in three stages. After the crowdsourcing stage, which ends on 20 September, architects and designers will be invited to submit short proposals for one or more of the suggestions made. In December, an exhibition of all the proposals will be presented at the Moscow Urban Forum. This year the forum will focus on suburbs, where 93% of Muscovites live, and is expected to be attended by a number of high-profile individuals including the mayors of London and New York, Boris Johnson and Michael Bloomberg.
The forum’s participants will also be asked to choose their favourite designs from the What Moscow Wants project with the best ten to be submitted to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin for potential development. Polishuk said: “It’s very difficult for young architects and designers to start out in Moscow because there are no small tenders, only big projects that get handed to the same few companies every time. We hope that this will change that.”