Fenced off courtyards and smart landscaping: What are new city design standards

26 June 2017

There will be shops on the ground floors, only residents will have access to courtyards and well-organised car parks will appear along driveways. This is how Moskomarkhitektura (Committee on Architecture and Urban Planning of the city of Moscow) summed up new city neighbourhoods.

The key points of the new Regional Urban Design Guidelines (RUDG) were introduced at Moskomarkhitektura’s “Comfortable City” conference.

The document establishes the minimal number of sites needed for creating a comfortable residential environment, regulates accessibility of the grounds and the height and density of development.

In addition to districts and neighbourhoods, the RUDG proposes dividing so-called urban blocks consisting of residential buildings with daily maintenance facilities on the ground floors, and courtyards.

There will be clear demarcation boundaries between courtyards and the grounds belonging to inner neighbourhoods. “A courtyard is a private area with landscaping, space to relax and fire lanes, available mostly to the residents of the urban block and closed off to public transportation,” said Chief Moscow Architect Sergei Kuznetsov.

He said that an urban block cannot be over 100 metres in radius, a neighbourhood over 300 metres and the radius of a housing estate will not exceed 500 metres. “This guarantees that the public service infrastructure will always be inside residential areas, it will always be provided and available.”

The new guidelines also assume a more rational layout for driveways, which will make it possible to create well-organised car parks and avoid random parking throughout the courtyards. The ground floors of buildings along streets and driveways will be used by shops and various public service facilities.

Contrary to people’s concerns, the number of trees in the districts will not drop. “We are replanting trees and shrubs and not reducing their number. Some trees and bushes are taken out of courtyards and put into public gardens, promenades and sport grounds,” the Chief Moscow Architect said. The minimum garden area will be three metres per person in an urban block and 2.3 metres in a neighbourhood. According to the current standards, there must be 5.3 metres of garden per person in a housing group (counterpart of a rate-making block).

The “Comfortable City. Standards and Rules” conference that took place on 22 June is the third of its kind in a number of events organised by the Сommittee on Architecture and Urban Planning. The “Comfortable City” cycle was established to try and find out and discuss at a high level the most topical issues and interesting trends in urban development.

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