I Spatial Development Forum “Harmony in Complexity” came to an end in Saint Petersburg. The discussion transformations of metropolis brought together local and foreign experts in urban development: scientists, specialists in Urban Studies and representatives of municipal and regional authorities.
During the panel discussion «Big Saint Petersburg: new perspectives for coordination» that took place on Saturday, May, 23rd, experts searched for the most efficient way of communication between municipal and regional administrations for the effective development of urban conglomerates. Vice-governor of Leningrad region Dmitry Yalov referred to constitution of Transportation System Development Coordination Council as an example of successful collaborative efforts of federation members. Vladimir Vasiliev, co-chair of Forum organizing committee and rector of ITMO University, pointed that discussion platforms are necessary for the efficient work on common projects. According to Vasiliev, higher education institutions fulfil this function, nowadays.
“Our common task is to provide supportive environment for the most efficient application of talent and intellectual capacities of urban dwellers. Higher education institutions work towards this direction; we organized preliminary strategic sessions shortly before the Forum, - says Vladimir Vasiliev – Our colleagues from Barcelona had spent ten years for changing the mentality of urban dwellers before they started urban transformations. Universities accelerate such discussions for cooperative development of business, economy, and social sphere”.
Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of “Yabloco” floor at Saint Petersburg parliament and head of the development section of conceptual program “Big Saint Petersburg», emphasises that the favourable common development strategies are created in the teamwork of authorities, business, society and experts, and never in the bureaucrat’s ‘ivory tower’.
“It is important to start with the searching for the ways to make competitive Saint Petersburg agglomeration, not with the power-sharing. General strategy should consolidate economy, time and space, in this case the issue of bureaucratic boundaries will lose its leading role, - the Member of Parliament comments. – The task will be solved when the discussion is build taking into account the three-dimensional socio-economic development of the whole region”.
Georgy Poltavchenko, Saint Petersburg governor, took part in the Forum to discuss methods of effective urban management with his colleagues from Armenia, People's Republic of China, Republic of South Africa and Australia. In his speech, head of the Northern Capital emphasized that both successful as well as disappointing international experiences with the urban strategic development are interesting for Saint Petersburg authorities. Trialled solutions will help to avoid repetition of the mistakes that had been made and pave the unique way.
“The more efforts we make to renovate the old and create the new high-quality productions and transportation infrastructure, the more we understand that Saint Petersburg development process is getting to the point of no return, - thinks the governor. – Before we could work on different spheres of urban life separately. But at the new level, the successful development is possible only with the comprehensive strategy and reconcilement of interests of different economic sectors, social groups, business and authorities”.
In the course of the two days of Forum thematic sessions, experts discussed application of the international experiences to different Russian projects: organization of public and art spaces, efficient methods of interaction with the authorities, realization of civic initiatives, information system development, development and promotion of the “smart city” technologies. Conclusions, made by the Forum participants during the first two days were presented at the open discussion “New Frontier. Overcoming the boundaries and the implicit opportunities for the spatial development”, which took part on Sunday. Vladimir Grogoriev, head of the Committee for the Urban Planning and Architecture and the chief architect of Saint Petersburg, announced that the ideas, presented at the Forum would be taken into account for the requirements specifications during the development of new master plan of Saint Petersburg.