City Development Strategy Ekaterinburg





City of Ekaterinburg


City development strategy for a city of 1,5 million inhabitants


2016 Strategic vision
2016 – 2018 Public participation workshops, expert workshops, preparation of visionary and strategic document
2018 Book release


MLA+: Markus Appenzeller, Andrey Golovin, Yana Golubeva, Violetta Gunina, Marina Petrova, Mikhail Stepura, Konstantin Zdyshev
Transport: Mlab, Luca Guala, Urban Policy: Peter Bishop, Urban Economy: Ronal Wall, Urban Planning: Ivan Kuryachiy, Housing Policy: Alexei Novikov, Landscape: FELIXX, Michiel van Driessche

We changed

From a top-down superimposed development strategy to a strategy by the locals for the locals


+ Focus on the existing spatial assets and the identity of the city
+ Working with the local vernacular instead of superimposing a new one
+ Respecting the urban fabric as is


+ Strengthening the open space networks and bringing green back into the city
+ Optimizing transport networks to reduce car dependency


+ MLA+ in close collaboration with international and local consultants
+ MLA+ to lead public engagement campaign and conducting all events
Typically, spatial development strategies for cities are developed by so-called experts that advise local governments. The population is usually not involved in this high level strategic process because it is deemed too abstract for them to really contribute. This approach leaves the real experts - the daily users, the residents, businesses, cultural actors... - out. This is a missed chance to gain a lot more intelligent about the nature of a place and to activate people early on in the process.
In Ekaterinburg, together with the local administration, we decided to change this. Locals were invited to actively contribute to shaping the future development of their own city. In public workshops three groups were invited: the cultural scene, business leaders and ordinary citizens and together with them, key characteristics of the city at present and in the future were discussed and put on paper. Next to that, 100 thought leader of the city were asked to write down their personal vision for Ekaterinburg.
The 100 visions were published in a book that was widely distributed with the intent to trigger further going discussions of how the city should develop in private and professional circles. The results of the workshops were documented and formed the basis for a group of international experts to come up with a narrative that represents these findings and ideas.
As a result, 10 strategic directions were defined along which the city will develop. These include spatial but also economic and social directions as well as strategies how to arrive at the outcomes envisioned. Since the process started with the public, it also ended with several rounds of debates and that reflected on the outcome of the process and took place in the run-up to the debate and approval in the local council. The entire process was so unusual, that publishers even decided to dedicate an entire book to the way, Ekaterinburg is developing its future. Leaving established containers lead to changes in thinking way beyond the city proper and the emergence of a different city making culture in Russia.

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