29 January 2015

Moscow Stories episode 1: the White City Project Exhibition

Authors: Federico Parolotto, Francesca Arcuri

This is the first episode of a series of 4 of our Moscow stories.
We have been in fact recently involved in four projects that we think it’s particularly worth sharing, since they introduce a new way of doing things, looking at transport planning as a fields that treats all the different modes holistically.

In addition to the “episode 1: the White City Project” described below, the other three chapters will take you through our winning entry for Zaryadye Park, the Moscow Pedestrian and Bicycle master plan as well as the study “Gridlock, the Donut and Intelligent Solutions”, produced for the Moscow Urban Forum and published on “Archaeology of the Periphery”.

These Moscow-based MIC stories are talking about both qualitative and quantitative analysis, ultimately about transport planning as a way to generate urban quality.


On May 23rd 2014, the Moscow Museum of Architecture hosted the opening of the White City Project Exhibition. The multidisciplinary team that developed the project, lead by Elena Olshanskaya, included among the others Gehl Architects and MIC, as well as several Russian and international experts bringing to the table their expertise in different fields, ranging from social science to history of architecture, from economics to urban planning.

Considering that the main element that most – if not all – modern cities have in common is undoubtedly the supremacy of car on all other subjects living and moving throughout the urban area, a new awareness of the impact that the massive presence of cars has on all aspects of urban life (environment, health, economy…) is emerging in many major cities throughout the world.

As a consequence, new mobility strategies and re-qualification projects are spreading throughout municipalities worldwide, bringing the focus of urban and transport planning back to the fundamental relation between space and movement.

The White City Project perfectly fits into the just described, and internationally recognized, frame of re-gaining space for the people and for the diffusion of more sustainable – and therefore human-friendly – modes of transport.

Part of the vision that inspires the project is in fact about creating a people-centered environment, where residents, workers and visitors are made comfortable and enabled to fully enjoy the cultural, social and historical potential of the area.

In order to communicate and diffuse this new Vision for the White City area and more in general for Moscow, the project leader and curators have promoted this exhibition to make the project’s contents and findings available to the public.

MIC has enthusiastically joined the team with a new video project which aim was to deep dive the viewer into the Moscow roads context and complexity, losing themselves into a pitch black room where the 3-chapters video was projected at full size, enveloping the audience in a virtual experience.

“DRIVE – Moscow and its Roads”, the first chapter of MIC’s video project, is focused on showing the totally car-oriented vocation of the Moscow urban environment and road network through the eyes of a visitor travelling from the airport to the White City. What will he experience?

“WALK – Observing the site” is the second chapter of MIC’s video project and it shows the critical issues affecting the pedestrian experience when moving across the White City area and its road network. Even in this historical and central part of the city the cars are still dominating the environment.

The last video is about “DESIGN – The Volkhonka Vision: a project for the heart of Moscow”. An overview on how MIC envisages a revision of the Volkhonka axis and of the White City area, in order to give it back to the people and to its tradition of values and livability, while still guaranteeing the operation of the broader transport framework.

Video Project by MIC. In collaboration with White City Project and Moscow Museum of Architecture. Video making by Francesco di Maio.

Tags: Boulevard ring, Car dominance, Car oriented
Sections: Infrastructure and the City, News & Insights, Public Transport