Greg Clark explores the city’s challenges.
World cities are the junction boxes of the global economy. In the 1990s, London, New York and Tokyo were the exemplary global cities, and there were perhaps ten other cities in the world economy providing similar services to global capital at a less concentrated level. The context we find today is one where a much wider group of cities have accumulated economic powers and political responsibilities, in a dynamic global world.
In this context Moscow is already one of the ‘emerging world cities’. Such cities, which include Sao Paulo and Rio, Istanbul, Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul are the new centres in the global economy and they must plan for a different kind of future. Russia will benefit from Moscow becoming a more international city, playing important roles in the global nodes of Business, Finance, Transport, Culture, Education, and Science. This will bring more opportunity to Moscow and to Russia, and it will focus the world more on Moscow’s great assets.
Which path for Moscow?
But which model should Moscow adopt? There are different ways to be a world city. London, New York, and Hong Kong are cosmopolitan inter-continental cities with major roles in global finance. Paris, Tokyo, and Seoul are international hubs within their continents, providing a powerful national identity within a global system. Sao Paulo and Shanghai are emerging be more like London and New York. Beijing and Delhi are more like Paris and Tokyo. For Moscow, Istanbul, and Mumbai the choice is still to be made.
The Moscow Government is now preparing a new kind of plan for the future and this is the moment to start a new cycle of investment that will lead to Moscow becoming Russia’s successful world city. The different strategic approaches of London, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong all offer rather distinctive insights and suggestions. Paris and Sao Paulo and Shanghai have all recently completed new strategic positioning and planning projects. Which ones are useful for Moscow to learn from?
A new kind of strategic planning for emerging world cities.
Long term strategic plans are a feature of world city governance and have been developed in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, and many other established and emerging world cities. A similar plan is now being developed in Sao Paulo. So what are the key ingredients for a successful plan?
Strategic plans provide a means to build a common agenda and to think and plan for the long term, and act consistently over a long development cycle.
Strategic plans provide a means to translate visions, values, and ambitions into practical programmes of governance, investment, and project management.
Strategic plans provide a mechanism for prioritisation of key projects and interventions which will have most impact on long term priorities.
Strategic plans are ‘Integrated Plans’ and provide a means to see linkages between different aspects of city development and to understand complex phasing and sequencing issues and critical paths to success.
Strategic plans help to overcome co-ordination failures in city government and wider city governance by acting as ‘joint plans’ between multiple departments of city government and between the city government and other entities.
Strategic plans are a communication tool that link past, present, and future and tell the story of the city and its development.
Strategic plans provide a means to understand and articulate investment opportunities and priorities and to frame potential for joint investment between multiple parties.
Strategic plans provide a common evidence base, and persuasive ‘case’, and a common time-cycle for other kinds of plans acting to improve the coherence of all planning overall and bring existing plans closer together.
Strategic plans are a means to use spatial tools to shape and influence other parts of Society, Economy, and Government. There have a spatial character but are designed to use space to integrate otherwise separate economic, physical, social, and environmental interventions. Equally, because they aim to be long term in nature they often require support from many stakeholders, not just the party that is in power now. The idea is that such a plan should command enough consensus that it would be able to continue even if the party in power changes.
Which plans are interesting for Moscow?
Many of the current long term plans of world cities should be interesting for Moscow:
• New York’s plan focuses substantially on improving ‘quality of life’ within the city, to balance the deeply embedded business spirit..
• London’s plan is about accommodating population and economic growth within a densifying city and boosting business performance in a re-organised city centre.
• Paris’s regional plan (Grand Paris) focuses on growing and integrating a very large capital city region through infrastructure and new development nodes.
• Hong Kong’s regional plan re-allocates new land uses to support economic development within a new regional economic development framework.
• Sao Paulo’s new plan is about re-engineering the core city and the social fabric for the 21st century world city roles that it wants to play.
Moscow should not follow any one of these plans alone, it needs to combine elements of all of them. Hong Kong and Paris’s plans brings the Central Government to the table to lead and finance the region’s future, London New York’s plans bring the private sector more into the development framework.
Three priorities for Moscow:
Three basic lines of development are needed for Moscow's path to becoming a global city.
i. First, macro and regulatory reforms which create a more business, investor, and visitor friendly environment or climate. This will include improving security and the rule of law, and also access to visas and transparency.
ii. Second, infrastructure improvements and land use re-organisation to create new amenities and to better provide the right spaces for the international and other business functions.
iii. Third, a new way to promote and position Moscow building upon its great history and cultural endowment, but adding openness, cosmopolitanism, and the excitement of a large and diverse city.
If Moscow can do all of these things within a new plan then it will have a clear agenda for building the world city agglomeration that Russia needs.
Learning with other emerging world cities.
Moscow can be the world city bet