11 May 2011
St Petersburg's ecocity planning concept ready for implementation
A concept for ecologically efficient city planning tailored to St Petersburg conditions is ready to be applied in practice. Partners are being sought who are capable of implementing the pilot project.
The concept includes a dense urban structure, a minimized need for private transport and maximized use of public transport and light traffic, minimized energy consumption, the use of renewable energy with maximum efficiency, and sustainable waste and water treatment solutions.
The EcoGrad concept was developed in a project lead by the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT.
“The fact that buildings are constructed with a high level of density in St Petersburg, and that local regulations require everyday services to be located close to residents, supports ecological planning,” says Senior Research Scientist Åsa Nystedt of VTT.
The goal of the project was to apply VTT’s new Ecocity concept, which has already gone through its pilot stage on an international level, to housing production and urban property development In Russia.
“In the past, exports promotion has focused on supplying materials and finished products, but there is an increasing need to develop comprehensive service concepts,” Nystedt says.
Room for ecological development in RussiaOver the course of the project, several meetings were held with representatives of the City of St Petersburg. During these meetings, elements of the concept were presented and feedback was received on the extent to which different segments would suit local conditions. This made it possible to forge the relationships and prerequisites for the crucial co-operation with officials in St Petersburg.
The project also involved a resident’s questionnaire, among the findings of which was that more than 90 percent of residents do not consider it important for renewable energy to be used in residential heating. Mechanical ventilation is unknown to the majority of respondents.
Fresh air is considered important 80 percent of residents, but less than half of the respondents were willing to pay for it. As a result of the project, it was observed that involving inhabitants in the development process is an important part of ecological planning. It should be further developed in Russia and integrated as part of the planning process.
Energy-efficient building is still at the initial stages of development, and there is little familiarity with energy systems based on renewable sources of energy.
“However, there is still plenty of room for technical, economic and administrative development in Russia,” Nystedt concludes.
The EcoGrad project ran from January to the end of November 2010. It was funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The project's report: EcoGrad. Concept for ecological city planning for St Petersburg, Russia
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