into Moscow's industrial zones

Moscow has always been an industrial city. It ranked second in the russian empire for its abundance of factories and plants, over a thousand of which were located within city limits, marked today by moscow's third ring road and the moscow central circle.


Prior to October 1917, Moscow's industrial landscape was dominated by the textile and food industries, i.e., everything related to the production of agricultural products. These giant enterprises formed the basis of Moscow's industrial belt during the Soviet Union. The years after the revolution saw the rise of the metallurgical industry, particularly of complex mechanical engineering. In the '30s, rising geopolitical tensions forced Moscow to invest in the construction of a massive defense-industrial complex, which to this day comprises about 320 organizations and enterprises.

In the '50s and '60s, the capital became home to a large number of knowledge-intensive industries, such as aerospace, radio, microelectronics, and instrumentation, the rise of which was driven not only by the need to rebuild the country after the war, but also the technological race between the two superpowers.

However, intensive industrial development could not go on forever, as growth was succeeded by stagnation in the '80s. Moscow's constant pace of population growth and ongoing urbanization forced many of its businesses to relocate outside of the city limits. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the '90s hit the industries even harder, forcing many factories and plants to close permanently, including auto-manufacturing giants such as ZiL and Moskvich. In their places remained huge warehouses and production facilities, old unused workshops and rusty fences. As a result, industrial zones began to be associated not with manufacturing or jobs, but with post-apocalyptic landscapes, gloomy and lifeless buildings, and contaminated land.
Seen as an obstacle for urban planners and developers, industrial areas often remained undeveloped. In the 2000s, a modern approach to the development of industrial estates took shape when the Moscow Go­vernment made its first attempts at gentrification. However, it was not until the adoption of law No. 373-FZ in 2017 that Moscow developed a more structured approach to their gentrification.

"There are 196 industrial zones in the capital, occupying almost a fifth of Moscow's total landmass – with many in decline or abandoned. To improve effective use of land and provide a new impetus for its redevelopment, the city authorities use an integrated, sustainable approach to land development. To this end, they have prepared 107 projects for the integrated development of 1900 hectares of land," said ­Ale­xander Prokhorov, head of the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow. "The main purpose of industrial redeve­lopment efforts is to create places where people can comfortably live and work, complete with schools, cli­nics, kindergartens, parks, housing, and high tech and environmentally friendly industries. Our department's role in all of this is to preserve the area's industrial potential, jobs and taxable revenues, as well as to attract investment. Hence, it makes little sense to build up empty territories with only residential housing. It's very important to understand that the current form of industrial estates has lost its relevance and needs to be transformed to fit in with the realities of the modern metropolis."

Meanwhile, new realities mean a thrifty use of these territories, environmentally friendly practi­ces, and proximity to high tech businesses, R&D centers, residences and recreation areas. It also means transport accessibility, tourist and investment attractiveness, and opportunities for small business growth. However, we should not forget the historical significance of such territories — their unique characters and original purpose — which helped build the foundations of the global econo­mic powerhouse. Otherwise, such redevelopment may transform former manufacturing jewels into indi­stinguishable spaces with identical brick walls and trendy craft cafes.
Today, Moscow's industrial estates are experiencing a renaissance. Their urban development potential is estimated at 38.1 million sq.m., and projected investment at 3 trillion rub.

Moscow's industrial potential is still very much alive, as evidenced by the city's top rankings in both manufacturing and non-commodity exports. It is a major taxpayer and a source of high-paying jobs.

The Moscow integrated industrial development program envisions the creation of 514,000 new jobs and 1.25 trillion rub in city revenue from taxes and fees for changes in land use. This means that the areas that were once a burden for the city will now be transformed into a center of business activity and a community focal point. The launch of the first redevelopment projects is scheduled for the second half of 2020.
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