The International Spatial Development Forum received a lot of positive comments from the city Administration, academic and international expert community as well as from the people of our city.
Head of Program Directorate of the International spatial development forum
In my opinion, the Forum has achieved the main goal of this year to open the platform for discussion on issues relating to urban development of St. Petersburg at the level of top officials of the city. The Forum has become a platform for organizing the international professional expertise and updating of the directions of the strategy of socio-economic and urban development of our city. The first Forum gave an opportunity to outline the contours of future topics and the list of priority problems that require solutions. To address these problems the Program Directorate will continue systematic work on improving the level of expertise in the cycle of further events.
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.
Chairman of Sister Cities Internationals
The Forum was well organized around the main topic (spatial development) and three directions (global aspect, regional aspect, and good urban governance) contributed to the show up of the main topic during the whole Forum. A large number of experts from all over the world showed that the organizers of the Forum paid serious attention to the best advices and recommendations.
It is very good that your Governor really took part in the Forum and not only delivered a welcome speech. As for plenary sessions and presentations, they made Forum well structured and balanced. Participation of the speakers from various fields from all over the world made the program truly unique.
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.
Head of the Urban Development and Planning Department,,Head of Municipal Department 18, City of. Vienna
In my opinion, the most interesting point of the Forum was the opportunity to make sure once again that big cities all over the world have the similar problems and also the same strategies for finding solutions to these problems. In my opinion "... important issues for the future development of St. Petersburg are:
1. Traffic and public spaces. You do really have traffic jams, which I haven’t faced in Vienna for a while. Our solution is more pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport. This solution also involves rethinking of arrangements of streets and public spaces.
2. You as a growing city can also check to see whether the reconstruction of the gray zone in the city center more efficient (or, at least, an additional) way to solve the problems of growth - in relation to the construction of satellite towns"
Co-founder and CEO of The Creative Cooperative, Consultant to major European regions for Innovation, Strategy and Design in the European Digital Cultural and Creative Industries, co-founded the European Street Design Challenge, global urban design competition hosting in Paris annually since 2010.
For me and my colleague Janine Huizenga the opportunity to discuss and share our vision of the future of St. Petersburg with a wide range of stakeholders - local authorities, universities, creative industries experts, architects, designers, urbanists and artists was the most important aspect of our participation in the Forum. We combined our participation in the Forum with a team-work with the students and specialists from St. Petersburg on creating the idea of the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island "reconstruction". It also gave us an insight into the real problems and possibilities of the St. Petersburg development. It was a great opportunity for a joint study of the prospects of the city with traditions, that has a lot of social and cultural problems in terms of the future development.
The Chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy and Strategic Planning of St. Petersburg
The Strategy-2030 was adopted last year. It implies the achievement of harmony in the distribution of territorial, labor, social and other resources.
In my opinion, the name of "Harmony of diversity» is quite consistent with the changes that are now outlined in the planning system of the urban development. Transition to a polycentric model involves the alignment, bringing harmony to the living conditions and quality of life in urban areas. Now St. Petersburg is in the beginning of a way from monocentrism to polycentrism. Therefore, the Forum is interesting as a platform for exchanging of experience and elaborating new ideas for it` s development. The Forum had started a constructive dialogue with the public, experts, and University Community on the issues of the harmonious urban development. That there was a need for the Forum is a testament to the burning necessity to improve the system for managing of urban development, and we expect that the results having obtained from the Forum will work towards developing of concrete measures concerning the comprehensive and coordinated development of the Northern capital.
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.