Demolition commission 2.0 to protect Moscow’s heritage

The Russian capital’s architectural preservation committee, known as the “demolition commission,” has finally undergone a major revamp.

The state body charged with deciding the fates of old buildings in the capital has repeatedly been criticized for actions that allowed developers to demolish dozens of historic buildings.

Aiming to put an end to such practices, the new commission’s head, Aleksandr Kibovsky, ordered a review of all 1,384 licenses issued by the previous commission. The move, he said, is necessary to check the borders of protected zones – as, in many cases, they include extra objects of zero architectural importance.

Kibovsky cited an example of a Moscow church the protected zone of which includes a club, a shop and even a couple of garages. In other cases, he said, the borders should be extended.

Meanwhile, the city has hosted the International Urban Forum, devoted to new ideas of city planning.

Nan Shi, Secretary General of China’s Urban Planning Society, a guest at the forum, told RT that Moscow’s history should form a part of its future.

“Russia should find its identity,” Professor Nan said. “When the city is developing into an international center, it’s very important to offer something new in cultural terms, to be able to compete with other such centers.”

The specialist also pointed out that Moscow needs to improve its ties with Russia’s more provincial regions.

“The most important thing is to connect Moscow to other regions, and to the whole country,” Nan told RT. “Moscow is no doubt the economic center, but you can’t survive without support coming from the regions.”

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