Lakhta Center is a multifunctional complex in St. Petersburg with the Gazprom headquarter and public spaces occupying a third of the area. Construction was completed in October 2018, now start work on the arrangement of business and public areas. The opening will take place in about a year, when the complex will be fully prepared to meet guests.
Cities Called to Integration
Gazeta.ru, Denis Zelikson
The development of large cities tends to be more and more dependent of the success in their cooperation with the neighbors and their capability to maintain economic and cultural cooperation. This statement is relevant for Russian cities nowadays.
The cooperation with strong neighbors to face challenges is a key strategy for a city aimed at development in the global world.
“The competition of national economies is gradually being transformed into a competition between cities and regions”, says President of International Research Institute of City Development Fundacion Metropoli Alfonso Vegara.
According to Alfonso Vegara, the city authorities taking part in the global competition primarily for human resources have to get into various alliances in order to adequately cope with new challenges in the global economy.
It is easier not only to cope with economic challenges together but also to create new points of attraction for highly qualified human resources, resolve the problems of infrastructure development.
“From the legal point of view cities and regions which are subjects of the federation are entitled to maintain external connections in respect of economic, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, says Associate Professor of the International Law Department of Diplomatic Academy of the RF Ministry for Foreign Affairs Yekaterina Yanyuk.
The search for investors and partners to jointly resolve outstanding public and economic problems is on top priority list in the international activity of the regions, says Project Manager of ГК «Topol-Eco» Rodion Skorik.
As a strategy facilitating a sustainable development an interregional cooperation is widely supported by the governments of various countries. Over the recent decades Europe has extensively developed mega-regions, urbanized areas united with common transport, educational and economic flows. Alliances are set up with the participation of cities not only within a country but throughout the borders as well.
According to Alfonso Vegara, the European diagonal connecting the cities of four independent countries, Portuguese Lisbon, Spanish Madrid and Barcelona, French Marcel and Italian Milan has become a pilot experience in creating urban alliances.
The economic benefits resulting from successful cooperation has become quite apparent: Barcelona and Valencia are large transport hubs in Europe, whereas Marcel and Milan are ranked higher and higher in the business attraction ratings.
It is achieved due to the combination of transport and telecommunication infrastructure, which opens up unimpeded flows of people, goods and capital within the alliance.
The similar alliances are formed in the USA and Canada, where there are ten mega-regions, including Texas triangle (Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth), Great Lakes region (Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto), Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa) and North-eastern region (Boston, New York, Philadelphia).
All these cities maintain a close alliance between adjoining middle-size and large cities united with a common economic, public, transport, cultural and social network.
The countries of South-Eastern Asia do not fall behind with Singapore playing the leading role. It takes less than an hour to get from Singapore to Indonesia with which the Pearl of Asia maintains the closest economic cooperation.
In Russia urban alliances and economic meridians start to be set up. For example, a transport corridor Helsinki – Saint Petersburg – Moscow – Nizhniy Novgorod has been set up. In addition an economic alliance is planned to be created between Saint Petersburg and Rotterdam. And whereas the Dutch port is the largest in Europe, according to Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Abutaleb, the port of Saint Petersburg has a high potential.
“However the situation regarding the development of cities is that a port can not develop on its own. It needs allies and alliances. We believe that the cooperation between the ports of Saint Petersburg and Rotterdam will bring benefits to both”, he says.
The similar projects are becoming more attractive to Russia because they have a positive impact on the development of urban environment in these megalopolises which become participants of such alliances.
A well-known district Kop van Jut in Rotterdam appeared as a result of the old port having been converted into a modern business district owning to the development of new port capacities launched as a result of the cooperation of the city with other port areas of the north of Europe.
According to the draft Concept of Public and Economic Development of the City till 2020, the authorities of Petersburg stick to the logics of building the city in the future economic diagonal. The construction of the Western Speed Diameter and planned relocation of business activities to the north-western part of the city where Lakhta Center Public and Business Area will be located, is in line with the trend.
Experts warn about threats of imbalanced solutions. In order to be a success as in Rotterdam, it is necessary to develop peripheral districts based on the consensus between urbanists and city dwellers.
“These were the conditions under which skyscrapers emerged in Rotterdam and Saint Petersburg where Lakhta Center is planned to be built, can follow our example” says Mayor of Rotterdam.
The cooperation between the cities in the form of networks and strategic alliances will be more significant in the nearest future than inter-state cooperation.
Despite all urbanistic innovations, these networks will be based above all on the maritime, road and railway communication.