Moscow's massive smart city makeover: a "citizen-oriented" city

Moscow city officials describe their My Street initiative as "the world's largest redevelopment project." Considering the scale and scope of the project outlined in the story below it might be hard to argue with them. While an urban makeover of this magnitude wouldn't be a good fit for many cities, there are elements in Moscow's smart city strategy most cities could use, among them a strong reliance on data analytics to guide the planning process from the start and a program dedicated to engaging citizens with that process. — Doug Peeples


The title of Moscow's My Street initiative is a bit misleading because it's about more than streets. While numerous street improvements have been completed and others are underway, the project also includes makeovers for boulevards, public squares and gardens, parks and recreation areas, building façade renovation and more.

The project, which is being conducted in phases, was initially expected to be completed in 2018 but has been extended to 2020, according to news reports.

Data-driven planning and engaged citizens
The project began in 2014 when researchers used Big Data and data modeling to sift through key factors such as population density, vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the efficiency of mass transit routes, existing green areas and public spaces and more.

City officials also developed 'Active Citizen,' an e-voting platform designed to encourage citizens to weigh in on the planning process by sharing their opinions on a variety of topics, from where new tree plantings should be located to new mass transit routes and which streets should be the first to be renovated.

So far, the city has renovated 233 streets, increased traffic speed by 10% and the number of ground transportation passengers by 50%.

Free WiFi and USB charging stations have been added, as have new bicycle paths and hundreds of bus stops. Thousands of smart traffic lights have been installed and energy-efficient streetlights also are scheduled for installation this year.

More information and images are available on Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin's city website.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.