New uses of public spaces: experts in urban planning and urban studies exchanged their thoughts and ideas at the conference "Management of the Future" at GSOM SPbU.
The organization of modern parks, public and creative spaces has become a priority both in capitals and in small towns. What are the needs of consumers and what priorities should guide the designers? These issues were discussed by experts at the IX International "Management of the Future" Conference at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU).
The discussion Public spaces: how to create, manage and use them was attended by the curator of the St. Petersburg Primorskiy Park Pobedy project Uliana Kim, the Head of Citymakers projects Anastasia Kolchina, who oversees the development of the Zaryadye park in Moscow, as well as Academic Director of the Master in Smart City Management, GSOM SPbU Ekaterina Sokolova. The discussion was moderated by Ekaterina Manzhula, Director of the Competence Center for the Development of the Urban Environment and the Smart City of the Leningrad Region.
According to experts, the most important task for specialists when working with new public spaces is to understand the concept of the project. Therefore, for example, the first stage of work on the project for the improvement of the Primorsky Park Pobedy was the study of the history of the place and adjacent territories. As Uliana Kim explained, the hard part was “to please everyone — the result should neither be too fashionable nor too "Soviet-style ”." This led to the formation of a "simple concept" of a public space, which can be comfortable for different audiences — "Park for All".
Anastasia Kolchina, member of the Moscow park "Zaryadye" creators team, is sure: “The concept is needed, even if it is not always obvious. The space must be given a new meaning." In her opinion, a park should be associated with a certain image. It can be, for example, a fashionable place for the young citizen, or maybe a touristic place, where even a local resident can feel like a traveler.
Anastasia Kolchina mentioned the typical problem of the Capital's parks. According to her, there are "a huge number of retailers, businesses, and it is unclear whether you are in the park or in a shopping center." Therefore, the idea of natural settings in megalopolises where you can relax, if not in silence, then “at least not in the kinds of crowding that we see in Moscow parks today”. Uliana Kim noted that in St. Petersburg there is a desire for places in which different communities or interest groups can gather.
One of the most pressing questions is to what extent commercial companies can be allowed in parks and where parks can look for resources which can support their efforts to be sustainable.
Anastasia Kolchina confirmed that the development of recreative space is in the interests of the city, since it increases both the comfort and attractiveness of any area as well as the value of nearby real estate. It should be assumed that the government, in this case, should maintain parks.
Ekaterina Manzhula believes that parks are capable of being self-sustaining — and this is especially important for small towns, because the regions allocate only meager budgets to support them. Uliana Kim, speaking about her project, noted: "The park must be sustainable: we are looking for sponsorships, fundraising, as well as business companies."
Summing up the general result of the meeting, Ekaterina Sokolova said that public spaces unambiguously improve the quality of life: “We see that there is a need for the development of public spaces in the city center areas as well as suburbs, in megalopolises and in small cities. Also we should understand that public spaces can change in order to meet the changing needs of the audience that uses them. The slightest changes in one part of the city can lead to changes in others. A specialist who can see this relationship and propose effective solutions, by using the right tools and approaches will be in demand. His or her work will be appreciated not only by colleagues, but also by city residents." “Students of the Master in Smart City Management at GSOM SPbU are working to gain the tools and approaches that specialists can use in their work,” she summed up.
The "Management of the Future" conference was held at GSOM SPbU in early April with the support of VTB Bank. This year, the event brought together 200 of the country's best students, heads of leading Russian companies and business leaders. The agenda of the conference focused on the trends of transformation and development of enterprises in a new business era.