Expert opinion: Renovation in Moscow is a grave governmental error

Expert opinion: Renovation in Moscow is a grave governmental error
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Alexei Krotov, member of the Russian Architects’ Union

Most expert opinions on the essence of the renovation are based on the fact that Moscow’s housing stock is heavily worn out, and a housing catastrophe will happen if the residents are not rehoused and new houses not built. Being the author of the City Five-Storey Buildings Reconstruction project, I insist that there is an alternative to the large-scale demolition of houses in Moscow. 

The idea of the project concerns the old housing stock being reconstructed and gaining new quality. Such reconstruction was implemented with house №4 in Khimkinsky boulevard, near the Skhodnenskaya metro station. Remodelling of the old part of the building was carried out, and four more floors were upbuilt, so the house became a nine-storey one. The house was equipped with elevators, and small flats were made bigger. Following this reconstruction the house will stand for another 100 years. 

Such reconstruction is 30% cheaper than a new construction and 40% cheaper than a renovation. Because renovation would mean the demolition of the existing houses, and to dismount 9 000 five-storey buildings will cost 91 bln roubles, according to the current prices. 

With our method, we do not destroy an old house and its environment, but redevelop it into a new, modern housing. Any house might be reconstructed that way, including the one with wooden floor structures. And in its technical aspect the work does not demand any special effort or methods. I insist and repeat that there are no such houses that could not be reconstructed. 

The main thing is that in the process of renovation Moscow will additionally acquire 7 m citizens, because the density of the housing build-up will increase multi-fold. If 7m people are added to the existing 12.5 m there will be about 20 m citizens in total. The Moscow region will then follow, and, as you can imagine, there will be 30 m residents in the Moscow agglomeration. That is to say that every fifth citizen of Russia will live there. 

Nobody will stay in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East, everybody will try to move to the European part of the country. And Russia has a vast territory, so the government should think about the resettlement of people, rather than their concentration in metropolises. Renovation is a grave governmental mistake. 

I tried to promote my project on different official levels, both to Moscow’s city administration, and higher. The problem of the five-storey housing stock was raised but it has been solved in a peculiar way.