In 2011 President Medvedev and the Mayor of Moscow announced a plan to to move the Ministries and Offices of the Federal and City Government to a south-western expansion area, doubling the territory controlled by the City of Moscow Administration, and leasing a huge amount of private land and buildings to stimulate growth.
An international competition for the expansion of Moscow city was held, with first prize in the design of the new Federal Capital District of Moscow City awarded to Capital Cities Planning Group (CCPG), an Anglo-American team led by Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh, in which Gillespies played a central role as landscape architects and environmental planners. “The city in the forest” concept was a key structuring element at each stage of the competition.
The plan accommodates 1.7 million people, providing 800,000 new jobs with a focus around the “triple helix” of government, education and business. The plan looks to create an integrated, properly-planned urban hierarchy served by a transit-orientated movement system around a series of forests and ecological lakes designed by Gillespies.
The approach to the ecological and landscape design was to work with the environment, to understand its capability to carry people and development without harm to its intrinsic qualities and the diversity of its habitats. The team promoted ecological design that recognised the force of nature, the strength of water, the cleansing and health-giving qualities of an ecologically diverse landscape, whilst recognising the aesthetic contribution that landscape can make to enhance urban design and architectural composition and thereby reveal the qualities of climate and culture that mark the manner of a city’s respect for its setting.
Approximate Map Location
Government of Moscow
|Type of scheme|
Strategic landscape planning
Highly Commended LI Award 2013, Strategic Landscape Planning category
Moscow Region 4m ha ;Expansion Area: 146k; 4 Federal Capital District 2k ha
Urban Planning & Urban Design: Urban Design Associates |Strategic Leadership & Planning: Beasley and Associates, Planning Inc | Environmental and Landscape Planning: GILLESPIES |Cities & Precedent: John Thompson & Partners |Transport Planning: Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates |Strategic Infrastructure Design: Buro Happhold Ltd | Local Design Firm: Group Ark |Strategic & Urban Economics: Solving Efeso|Place Competitiveness: Professor Stuart Gulliver FRSE
The plan required an appreciation of Russian landscape, culture and climate. The 'City in the Forest’ concept was translated from regional planning scale to detailed site masterplanning scale. Landscape was promoted as the determining factor for the siting and design of the Federal Capital District. Setting the city within the forest was intended to promote a healthy and wholesome lifestyle, with its most important buildings rising above the trees.
The plan included a regional water cleansing landscape - ‘clean in - clean out’, damming rivers in the Russian way to create the lakes and reservoirs in the centre of the new district, creating a literal and metaphorical reflection of the new capital.