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Crowdsourcing urban planning

08.04.2013
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Soliciting ideas from stakeholders is not a new thing in the commercial world.  Companies such as Dell and Starbucks have both profited from providing customers with platforms to share their thoughts and ideas on how the companies could be better.

The people of Moscow are getting a similar opportunity to improve their city.  The website, called What Moscow Wants , gives Muscovites the chance to air the kind of things they would like to see in the city.  Initial findings are that they are crying out for more food markets, open air pools and community spaces.

The project, which was launched by the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design and Moscow Urban Forum aims to provide residents with an input into how their city develops.

“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.”  Olga Polishuk, project manager for the project said.

Thus far the website has received over 750 entries in just over 3 weeks. The form asks respondents questions about what change they want, why and where. Polishuk continued: “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 crowdsourcing stage lasts until September 20th, at which point architects and designers will be invited to submit proposals to build some of the suggestions made.  This will be followed up by an exhibition of the proposals at the Moscow Urban Forum in December, which is expected to be attended by Boris Johnson and Michael Bloomberg, mayors of London and New York respectively.

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.”

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