According to futurologists, the ecological situation in Moscow would continue to deteriorate. The congestion problem would become worse too, while the center of the city would be virtually crime-free.
The future of Russia’s capital is not told by some soothsayers gazing at the coffee grounds. Predictions are provided by experts holding academic degrees, employed by the Academy of Forecasting.
To draw up a development plan of Moscow, a number of experts were dispatched to eighteen cities, the world’s most dynamic megalopolises including Toronto, Sydney, New York, Boston, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo, Rome and a few other major cities with the population above three million. The experts were supposed to gauge the level of comfort available to an average city dweller. On summing up the results of their research, the experts came up with recommendations for the Moscow government. For example, the experts point out that Boston has handled its transportation problems in the best way, while Barcelona attracts a record number of tourists. And Tokyo is a model city in terms of information technologies.
We have requested the president of the Academy of Forecasting Alexander Ageyev to furnish us with some predictions relating to the future of Moscow for a period ranging from five to fifty years. Below are the events in store for Moscow, according to Mr. Ageyev:
Majority of Muscovites will be driving foreign-made cars
It will be difficult to spot a Russian make of car in Moscow in five years’ time. Thanks to availability of loans for the purchase of a car, the consumer will be able to buy it at his first paycheck. Meanwhile, used cars will sell at a much cheaper price, which expected to halve in two years after the manufacture.
Congestion will be a serious problem
Traffic in the city will come to a halt once the number of cars in Moscow exceeds 4.5 million, provided that there is no improvement in the city’s road intersections and parking lots. In total, a number of cars owned by Muscovites are slightly above 3 million these days. According to statistics, from 10 to 15 percent of those cars move about the city at a time, while the remaining ones sit in the parking lots or garages. With about 250 thousand cars out on the roads, the traffic in the city creeps at a snail’s pace. The traffic will collapse once the number of cars on the roads exceeds 300 thousand at a time. The traffic in Moscow is expected to come to a standstill sometime around 2012.
People will be living in urban clusters
A “cluster” is a small independent residential city district located outside the city limits in European countries. A cluster, normally comprising town houses and low buildings, has all facilities for a day-to-day life of its residents e.g. a hospital, several entertainment centers, stores, banks and schools.
Top-level company executives will be able to live within a stone’s throw of their offices. For example, companies whose offices will be located at lower floors of the Moscow City, presently under construction, are actively buying residential space at the same building.
Offices to supersede residential areas in the center
Residents unable to pay a high rent will eventually leave the prestigious neighborhoods in the center of the city. Some of the apartment buildings will be redeveloped for offices. Others will be used for carrying out luxury housing projects. Big corporations will attempt to leave the confines of the Boulevard Ring to avoid omnipresent traffic problems.
More residential space for hire
An average city dweller is unlikely to afford an apartment in Moscow. On the other hand, a rentable residential property program will be brought into effect, while more apartments purchased as an investment will be available for rent at a much wider scale. Children will leave their parents’ homes earlier; first-year students will start renting apartments by going shares with one another in rent.
The center of the city will be crime-free
Security cameras will be monitoring every square meter in the center of Moscow. Therefore, one will be completely safe when walking within the limits of the Garden Ring day or night. However, the number of crimes involving the use of information technologies will be on the rise. The possibility of man-made disasters and terrorist attacks will remain high.
Cash money will be history
Moscow will offer more job opportunities for those willing to make use of their skills and talents in the city. Muscovites will be making more money. Most payments will be made by plastic cards. Muscovites will also appreciate the advantages of making payments via the Internet.
Ticket offices are bound to disappear
Information technologies will be rapidly developing. The changes will primarily affect retail sales and services. The Internet will supersede the traditional ticket offices. Likewise, prehistoric medical records in hospitals and paper catalogues in libraries will give way to computer chips, which will store all the necessary information.
Muscovites will be wearing masks
An ecological situation in the city will worsen if no steps are taken with regard to vehicles’ technical condition e.g. imposing a ban on the use of old cars; adopting a law compelling that all vehicles be modified for the use of environment-friendly fuel. The number of health-conscious Muscovites will be steadily rising. Many will follow suit of the residents of Japan and Vietnam who wear protective masks while walking or bicycling in urban areas where the air is heavily polluted by exhaust fumes.
Many professionals will be working from home
Many Western companies use their home-based staff. Depending on the nature of a job, it is more profitable to keep employees at their homes, maintaining communication between the management and staff by means of the Internet and web cameras. The arrangements enable to cut costs and ease pressure on the city transportation system. Besides, productivity will be increased by 20-30%.
More rapid means of public transport to be built
Steps should be taken to make the public transport as speedy as possible. “Green corridors” for rapid traffic should be allocated in major roads; monorail systems should be actively developed. Travelers will be able to reach any of the city’s airports by taking express trains, which will provide maximum comfort to emphasize the advantages of using them, compared to obvious disadvantages associated with automobiles. The city will also have to build a large number of well-located overlapping parking lots.
Translated by Guerman Grachev