UN-Habitat supports the idea of Saint Petersburg underground infrastructure development

The meeting between UN-Habitat and JSC “Metrostroy” representatives and  the 15th World Conference ACUUS 2016 organisers took place on 21th of January in Saint Petersburg. The meeting became possible thanks to Nikolay Bobylev, Saint Petersburg State University Associate Professor, Saint Petersburg Research Centre for Ecological Safety of the Russian Academy of Sciences Lead Scientist.  JSC “Metrostroy” welcomed the participants of the meetingon the day of its 75-anneversary celebration.

UN-Habitat program facilitates sustainable development of the settlements by promotion, developing policy, capacity development, accumulation of knowledge and strengthening relationship between authorities and civil society.

Daniel Lewis and Vadim Alexamdrov

The meeting was attended by Daniel Lewis,  Urban Risk Reduction Unit Chief, Head of the City Resilience Profiling Programme at UN Habitat, and Tatiana Khabarova, UN-Habitat Moscow office director. The working visit of Daniel Lewis consisted of two parts, first days UN-habitat representatives spent in Yakutsk, discussing arctic cities life support systems then they visited Saint Petersburg to meet vice-governor on the 22th of January. 

While visiting JSC “Metrostroy” UN-Habitat representatives expressed their interest in bringing the Northern capital of Russia into the Urban Risk Reduction program. This program allows analyzing and measuring the resilience of the cities.  One of the program key pillars   is the longtime planning and proactive approach, i.e. there are attempts not only to solve the current issues but also to prevent any negative issues in the future. Such companies as JSC “Metrostroy” are central to the sustainability of the large cities, so their participation is important for the program.

Daniel Lewis and Tatiana Khabarova

The preparation of the pilot project of the integrated hub and its implementation in Saint Petersburg were discussed at the meeting. Passenger terminal area with the function of the redistribution of the passenger traffic between metro system and other transport systems promotes the public transportation, also it is the source of obtaining additional income thanks to the additional trade and office space, parking, that increases its investment attractiveness. From the point of resilience, it is the big step forward and a great base for future discussions on the planning and development of the city. This project could be presented at ACUUS 2016 Conference alongside with other examples of successful adaptation of existing cities to the modern circumstances and climate conditions by underground infrastructure development and technologies reducing the price of the underground structures.  Besides, while calculating the cost of the underground structure, it is necessary to take into consideration social and economic advantages, like increasing of comfort living, environmental preserving, energy efficiency.  UN-Habitat representatives assured the participants of the meeting in their interest in ACUUS 2016 and suggested possible key-speakers.  UN-Habitat support may help to attract worldwide attention to the development of the integrated approach to underground urbanization and attract new investments into cities’ underground planning.

The meeting resulted in certain agreement on the development of the cooperation, also with Association of Underground Builders, engaged into gathering of relevant information on underground space use in Russia and abroad. Taking into consideration enormous potential of the underground urbanization as a prerequisite for sustainable development, it was decided to develop the possible options of further cooperation with UN-Habitat on issues of transport systems and underground infrastructure development, historical centers preserving and making the living comfortable.