The International Spatial Development Forum is a platform for exchanging of knowledge and experience on the most topical urban issues.

The Forum aims to find new effective ideas of sustainable urban development in the light of the present global challenges. ISDF attracts international and Russian participants, including government and business leaders, as well as representatives of academia from various sectors of urban planning, development and management.

Development strategy

The urgent goal of The St. Petersburg development strategy is to make St.Petersburg a world city. The city that will be attractive for the international community and, first of all, for representatives of the creative class.

St. Petersburg is the largest northern city in the World and the fourth among the most populated European cities. Due to its special position, St.Petersburg is positioned as the Second Capital of Russia, as a separate federal subject of the Russian Federation and as a Center of St. Petersburg agglomeration determined the urban development of the vast area in the Baltic Sea region.

Goals and objectives

  1. Synergetic effect

    Consolidation of city managers, business and expert community to form a vision of the future of urban agglomerations;

  2. Independent expert assessment

    Setting of goals and objectives of urban agglomerations special development; Evaluation of urban development scenarios with the participation of experienced world experts;

  3. Creation of the investment-attractive projects

    Acquisition of necessary knowledge to create projects with a high investment potential;

  4. Citizens support

    Enhancement of the citizens role in decision-making processes concerning urban areas development;Understanding of the guidelines and directions of social-economic and spatial development by local people and communities.

The International Spatial Development Forum participants – top-speakers: mayors and city managers, world experts in the field of urban development, developers, investors, representatives of consulting business, technological and engineering companies, representatives of world-leading research laboratories, representatives of the government agencies as well as active and motivated citizens.

Egbert Stolk

Egbert Stolk

Researcher at the Department of Urbanism at the Delft University of Technology

What was interesting was active participation of the politicians. In some sessions, local and regional authorities widely participated (and sometimes even dominated) in discussions. I think, a more explicit reference to this political aspect of urban planning can be an interesting addition to the Forum next year. Not only invitation of the politicians but also discussion of political context. There is one more moment that maybe would demand more attention - it is an institutional role of professional planners / urbanists / architects in relation to this political context. What skills do specialists need to complete political request? This is due to the fundamental values that trigger the planning system. As there is a difference between these values in different countries and even within countries, I think it would be interesting to discuss them, especially on an international level. The inclusion of these three aspects (policy / role of the professional / values) will contribute to the realization of the future vision of St. Petersburg.

Rashid Seedat

Rashid Seedat

Head of Gauteng Planning Division at Gauteng Provincial Government, Johannesburg, South Africa

The plenary session with the vice governors of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region was very interesting. Speakers raised a question not only about the challenges and problems but also about benefits that arise in considering the metropolitan area as a whole. These include issues of a strategy, spatial planning, transport, economic relations and management. In addition, attendance at the other sessions of the Forum was very useful for understanding the dynamics of urban and development planning of St. Petersburg and the surrounding area. The content of the Forum provided the right balance between the needs and problems of St. Petersburg and topics that were important for the delegates from Russia and from abroad. Within this framework, the specific problems of St. Petersburg have been worked out (considered) in an effort to draw the general lessons from them.

Dmitry Yalov

Dmitry Yalov

Vice-Chairman of the Government of Leningrad Oblast on Economy and Investments

Coordinated development of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region within the agglomeration is a complex and multidimensional issue. A few years ago in the relationship of two subjects there were unresolvable problems: competition for investment and labor force, the disparities in socio-economic development of territories of the city and the region, problems of ecological and recreational character, the lack of integrated approaches to housing development on the borders of two subjects. The Coordination Council of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region in the sphere of socio-economic development is the first and most important step in coordinated cooperation of two subjects. It was established in 2012. Constructive public dialogue between the city and the region is not a plan it is an objective reality. And the International Spatial Development Forum: "Harmony of diversity" is an example of such dialogue. The current socio-economic situation requires to extend the existing forms of collaboration and additional co-decision instruments. The active position of experts and the public of the city and the region, including participation in such events, would effectively implement the proposed initiatives and solutions with good prospects for both actors.

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