From Zemlyanoy Gorod to new public gardens: Garden Ring transformation
Moscow’s Garden Ring has undergone numerous transformations over the years. First of all, the ramparts and the moat along it were taken down and replaced with front gardens that were later developed into boulevards, though not for long. The road was broadened at the expense of the gardens, which are now being restored under the My Street programme. This Mos.ru article describes the future zone types, skating parks and public gardens around the Garden Ring.
Over 200 years ago, the Moscow authorities approved the Garden Ring development plan. Moscow’s Building Commission that was set up shortly after the Patriotic War of 1812 against Napoleon decided the future of Zemlyanoy Gorod, now the area between the Boulevard Ring and the Garden Ring. The ramparts were pulled down, the moat filled with soil and paved with cobblestone, with part of it assigned for pavements (sidewalks).
The ring road gradually evolved into a Garden Ring: it was bursting with greenery, except for a few streets, and parts of it developed into entire boulevards. House owners used unoccupied plots of land to plant trees and shrubs. As it was up to them to decide on the garden designs, there was no uniformity in the front gardens. In 1879, the City Hall came up with the initiative to develop the street into a broad ring of boulevards, similar to the central boulevards of Paris or Vienna Ringstrasse.
This issue was raised over and over again, some suggested that the front gardens be transformed into pedestrian alleyways. The front gardens were not very well maintained, and only 47 out of over 300 gardens were recognised to be in a satisfactory condition. Several proposals were on the table: some wanted to plant greenery in the middle of the ring rather than on both sides, but this idea was discarded due to insufficiently wide streets.
- urban design