Within the frameworks of online debates held by the Information Center of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in St. Petersburg and the German Centre for Research and Innovation in Moscow with the support of the Russian-German Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg hosted a webinar «CITY AFTER A PANDEMIC: WILL THE CITY OF THE FUTURE BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY?»
The Director of the Center of Additional Professional Programs, Associate Professor of SPbPU Institute of Civil Engineering Ksenia Strelets took part in the event.
The issues of the impact of the pandemic on cities’ ecology, the cities’ structure, and changes were discussed, as well as new strategies for the development of megacities and urban planning. The main focus of the debates was on the change in the values of the urban population after the pandemic and, therefore, changes in the cities.
The Head of Research Unit Urban Transitions at the University of Wuppertal, the Department of Energy, Transport and Climate Policy, Anja Bierwirth underlined that the pandemic highlighted the issues of urban ecology such as houses comfort, accessibility of social infrastructure and green areas, and environmentally friendly transport.
Ksenia Strelets mentioned new possible directions in urban planning, and the issues of cities sustainability on the example of St. Petersburg, and the possibility of ensuring sustainable development of the city’s life support systems and the ability of post-crisis recovery.
Experts noted that in the near future, the most developed cities in the world will become experimental sites for the implementation of the latest urban solutions.
The transformation of urban structures is essential for the development of green cities. Among them – modification of the transport system by means of creating opportunities for cycling. Maxim Titov, Executive Director of the Energy Policy Research Center (ENERPO) of the European University in St. Petersburg, gave an example of using an energy service contract to modernize the light system in Priozersk. As well, he underlined the importance of interaction with the population of cities and the targeted outcomes of educational programs for the population.
Experts also noted the positive changes taking place in St. Petersburg, such as the use of «green standards», and city projects for waste sorting.
Director of the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Professor at the Chair of Spatial Development at TU Dresden, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the open-access journal Urban Transformations, Professor Marc Wolfram commented on the importance of the interaction of research and the city administration in order to develop a strategy for transforming cities in line with new challenges. To ensure such cooperation, it is possible to develop a system of agreements, as well as create platforms for opinions exchange. When planning a new city zoning, it is vital to use all possible tools for citizens’ participation in city management. Experts agreed on the importance of an integrated approach to an environmental project, taking into account technological, environmental and medical factors.