5.1. Saint-Petersburg Master plan

For city now known as Saint-Petersburg until 2004 the Master Plan of Leningrad and its oblast adopted in 1987, was considered as valid one. City authorities, taking into account political and socio-economic shifts triggered by perestroika, as early as in the beginning of 1990-s initiated contest on master plan revision concepts. There were represented four alternative proposals, but following exhibition and discussions served as support to dominant opinion, that the moment for the adoption of such a document has not yet came. Few years later some features of legislative and political stability, growth of GRP and private investments to construction as well as intensification of problems regarding deterioration of stock and all facilities once again focused attention of city authorities upon urban planning tasks. To 2001 Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture, assigned by City Governor as master plan customer, issued planning assignment and arranged contest. Company HIPIgrad of Saint-Petersburg Ltd has come out on top of competition as general contractor.

As the sort of frame for New Master Plan was considered the Strategic Plan of Saint-Petersburg, approved by the City community in 1997. Strategic Plan, worked up by Leontief Centre with the participation of many professional institutions, businessmen, executive structures, defined essential issues, competitive capabilities, strategic course of City development, regarding both city economy and urban environment quality. Meantime Strategic Plan but partly filled up the gap, caused after disappearance of long-term socio-economic planning. Strategic Plan defined key directions, but has not represented quantitative indicators, necessary to substantiate spatial transformations for certain time interval. By request of general contractor there were performed demographic forecast (by Saint-Petersburg State University), socio-economic prerequisites (by Leontief Centre) and appraisal of land value ("Perspective" Ltd). Different executive structures and private companies conveyed data on housing stock, public service, engineering and transport facilities, environmental quality. Besides by the order of Committee on state control, usage and preservation of cultural monuments there were inserted corrections to preservation zones project. These corrections attended two tasks: to adjust preservation zones project to last federal law in the field and to clarify most part of restrictions (to put them down "on the table" for interested parties in advance). Substantial for the framing of the territorial development strategy was the consideration of City's competitive abilities, outlined in Strategic plan and later specified at socio-economic prerequisites, issued by Leontief Centre. As most important factors of economic development were considered:
  • transport-distributive and trade-mediatorial activity, based on the City unique location at the junction to Europe;
  • quaternary activity: there are in the City multitude of scientific and educational institutions of federal importance;
  • commercial service, including designated for tourists.
Besides stable budget income is provided by some manufacturing enterprises (as shipbuilding and energy machinery construction), still growing on.

There are problems which can not be tackled within current city administrative boundaries: like e.g. location of suburban public recreations and summer houses, location of some manufactures, external transport development, preservation and regeneration of natural resources. To provide possible solutions planning assignment obliged to perform at Master plan proposals for coordination of planning decisions of Saint-Petersburg and surrounding Leningrad oblast within area, where interests of both regions are to be considered (60 km from the city centre) with the aim to develop suburban area of mutual interests according to concerned regions' agreements.

Carried out analysis of socio-economic prerequisites, current development trends and territorial resources let to put forward key tasks:
  • preparation of acceptable proposals regarding the volume, order and types of improvements regarding existing transport, engineering infrastructures and stock;
  • planned enhancement of functional zoning, considering land rent income (e.g. now old industrial belt adjacent to City center hinders the effective usage of this area, attractive for residential development- see fig.1, 2 and 3);
  • to prevent the concretion of central megalopolis territory with suburban small cities and settlements (such a concretion has started at the expense of agricultural and green areas under the pressure of short-run financial interests of St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast and some private companies);
  • cutting down the crude sewerage tapping into water area and decrease of negative impact caused by industrial enterprises and transport;
  • withdrawal of transit freight traffic out of the most populated areas;
  • the preservation and improvement of the city image: preservation historic centre structure, silhouettes of most popular embankments and steady melioration of expressionless buildings and blocks;
  • localization of areas for special usage (as storing of waste products and treatment, ordnance yards etc.).

The selection of essential parameters of the city urban development was established at the Master plan concept stage on account of performance and assessment of five variants.


All variants were based on unified socio-economic hypothesis, rather "optimistic" one: stable resident population to 2015 (4.7 m.), GRP growth 2.5 - 3 times, multifunctional city profile. According to urban space transformations, variants represented different development efforts within built up and newly designated areas (renovation contra new development) as well as different rate of individual dwelling units (one-family houses). Assessment of variants was essentially based on the comparison of expenditures and rental incomes. To input the land market value were used data on real transactions, as well as opinions of professional appraisers. There were estimated the demand for the different uses and "best use" factor. Travel times for jobs and recreations were considered with the application of transportation models. Assessment, carried out by experts, gave grounds to prefer compromise proposal,which settled some equal efforts for renovation and new development, about 30% of the floor area at vacant areas fall at one-family houses.

One has to note, that in spite the participation of Green-movement activists, the alternative regarding the amount of one-family suburban housing (at the expense of agricultural areas or natural landscapes) has left without definite assessment due to quite contradictive outcomes of residential suburbanization (see table with the comparison of variants).

Fig. 2. Land market price at Saint-Petersburg

Fig. 3. Land market price at Nevsky avenue area





The preservation of suburban green areas for public uses



The intensity of trips by individual cars



Quality of residential environment



Power inputs



Construction cost



Forming of active attitudes on ecological issues



+ variant gains;    - variant  losesOne may assume, that in the long run the last criterion is of prevalent importance. Meantime by common opinion the gradual transformation of summer residences, located within one hour distance from city center, to year-round family houses would be positive change. To encourage such transformation Conception anticipated the development of necessary amenities.

The Master plan concept was examined by Saint-Petersburg branch of Architects association of Russia, Association of construction companies of Saint-Petersburg and by other influential stakeholders at the fields concerned. Concept was approved by Public council at City Governor. At all 20 administrative districts were settled exhibitions, provided by comments of responsible executives, by representatives of general contractor and by other professionals. Public participation resulted in the multitude of requests of citizens and associations to public bodies. Most part of responses was related to issues not to be considered by Concept, once referred to specific buildings, sites, social housing allocation and to the work of maintenance companies. Other part of responses was relevant to Concept and mirrored unavoidable conflicts of interests represented by groups with different values and preferences (as adherents of individual or public transport, protection or intensive renovation of cultural monuments, intensive suburban housing or conservation of public recreation areas). The expediency to consider public preferences dependent from the established goals, tasks, resources and the process of consideration was not at any way formal. As result of discussions some proposals of preferable variant were amended at final Master plan stage. Most important adjustments were:

  • enlarged green areas for public use;
  • more transit transport lines were relocated from residential zones;
  • within public-business zones distinguished specific public and commercial zones for medical and educational uses.

Some public proposals, though based on the quite respectable motives, could not be properly considered, once represented interests of minority. E.g. many residents of blocks at Vasilievsky island, facing Finnish gulf, remonstrate against new landfills at the shoal (about 4,0 sq. km) for the construction of the new passenger port, housing, business and entertainment complexes as well as objected to construction of speed highway, which planned trace joints north-west and south-west sectors of the city and crosses new-made territory. Meantime according to performed computations new speedway will be daily used by 125 thousands cars and lorries now crossing dense central City areas and causing negative impact on human health and on historic buildings. Any other west-side tracing than proposed, would result in much more negative outcomes. The construction of the new passenger port gives possibility to moor large-tonnage ships, to encourage tourist tours. At 2004 the Concept was approved by City Government and later approved by the City representative body.

All Master plan materials include 17 volumes. Within composite volume of Master plan, worked out according to new RF Urban Development Code there are presented sections as follows:
- Initial positions for Master plan performance:

  • goals and tasks of Master plan performance;
  • methodology of performance;
  • analysis of the previous master plan (1987) implementation process;
  • review of land planning documentation, adopted at 1987-2004.

- Socio-economic premises for City urban development:

  • external interconnection of Saint-Petersburg;
  • demographic situation;
  • economic situation;
  • state of the housing stock;
  • state of public service.

- Premises for City urban development:

  • analysis of territories: potential, restrictions, problems;
  • natural complex;
  • environmental conditions;
  • cultural heritage;
  • engineering and transportation infrastructures;
  • federal interests on Saint-Petersburg planning and development;
  • current land usage analysis;
  • assessment of land for development purposes.

- Master plan proposals:

  • goals and tasks of spatial development;
  • planning structure development;
  • functional zoning, strategy of land use transformations;
  • transport and engineering infrastructures development;
  • cultural heritage preservation;
  • arrangements regarding nature protection and environmental issues;
  • scope of immediate actions (to 2010).

- Actions for Master plan implementation:

  • cultural heritage preservation actions;
  • installation of land improvements;
  • sanitation of territories;
  • implementation of federal needs;
  • actions to prevent extraordinary situations of natural and anthropogenic origins;
  • actions regarding legislative and normative base.

- The essential maps of Master plan included:

  • survey plan (or reference plan) of the city and surrounding area;
  • scheme of the current and proposed land usage of suburban area (part of Leningrad oblast);
  • historic survey or historic reference plan;
  • the essential Master plan map for 2015 and territories reserved for 2025;
  • scheme of immediate actions to 2010;
  • scheme of hosing development and renovation;
  • scheme of international transportation corridors at Saint-Petersburg;
  • schemes of the external transportation development for 2015;
  • schemes of the engineering infrastructure development for 2015;
  • scheme of the land improvements and landscaping;
  • scheme of the sanitary purification;
  • scheme of entrails of the earth and nature protection;
  • scheme of protections against extraordinary situations of natural and anthropogenic origins.

Master plan anticipates:

  • growth of residential areas at the expense of agricultural and vacant lands (fig. 4 and 5)
  • significant transformation of functional zoning, including growth of public, business and residential uses in central areas on account of industrial uses reduction;



  • renovation of mass industrial housing of 1960-es, elimination of dilapidated housing;
  • significant transformation of the cargo transport complex (shift from the simple transportation and reloading to developed logistic services);
  • perspective construction of international transportation corridor #9;
  • twofold growth of the Saint-Petersburg sea port turnover of goods to 2015;
  • transformation of the сity railway dead-end junction to trough one and relocation of freight operations out of central areas;
  • construction of two new bridges over Neva;
  • creation of speed highway system roundabout of central and densely populated areas;
  • development of the inter-city speed public transport lines, including new 41,5 km of metropolitan lines to 2015;
  • construction of new treatment plants;
  • complete sewage sediments utilization;
  • complete hard waste treatment;
  • protection o f low-lying areas against flood;
  • provision of gas fuel for all boiler-houses;
  • cessation of raw sewage disposal to Neva, its confluents and Finnish gulf;
  • enlargement of green areas.

Master plan materials were published, approved by City districts administrations, federal and regional executive bodies of sectors concerned. Then materials were represented at public hearings at all 20 City administrative districts. The most active remonstrance at this stage was triggered by landfills and speedway westward to Vasilievsky island, but the proposal remained in force. After getting the conclusion of the State expertise and some revisions to City Government was delivered:

  • Master plan materials;
  • The draft of the Law on master plan and monuments preservation zones project at Saint-Petersburg.

To the end of 2005 Master plan was approved by City Government and delivered to the City Representative Assembly. Master plan was adopted by regional law 21.12.2005.

The Master plan is not approved by Leningrad oblast. The Urban Development Code stipulates necessary approval of municipal master plans by bordering municipalities, but does not provide similar direct obligations for master plans of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, as cities of federal importance. Most likely some issues, as going on development of the ring motorway and its adjacent areas (motorway crosses both administrative areas) as well as City intentions to use some suburban sites for circuitous railroad soon necessitate to insert into Master plan amendments, approved by neighboring region. http://www.stockmap.spb.ru/news/126964323/

No doubts the implementation of the Saint-Petersburg Master plan will encounter serious difficulties, caused rather not by qualities of adopted plan, but by situation turned out for decades. Its main features are as follows:

  • along with new construction there shall be carried out the modernization of the stock at a pace close to the pace of construction typical since the end of 1950s (some 1,5 million sq. m per year);
  • once in most houses some apartments are owned by the city (not privatized) and for most buildings the associations of owners are not established, the issues on settling (in a new place) and financing of modernization are complicated;
  • the effective technologies for modernization of housing, built last 50 years (some 70% represented by prefabricated buildings) are not known; the examples of total demolition of such buildings by blocks and new construction are but in Moscow, where land prices are about 1,5 - 2,0 times higher than in Saint-Petersburg;
  • facilities are wearing out with a speed exceeding going on modernization works;
  • stability of the city population may be provided only on account of immigration, which currently include some exotic (for local population) ethnic groups: Uzbeks, Chinas, Abkhazians etc.

In current situation (which is typical for most Russian cities) one may expect the appearance of large rundown areas, concentrating low-income families, counting as well ethnic minorities. Such a City image may have negative effect on investment activity. Last federal laws are aimed to encourage development of owners' associations and hypothecs, but for successive physical modernization public bodies must undertake some extra steps to trigger resettlement of inhabitants from blocks to be redeveloped, as well as financial participation of families, eager to improve their living conditions. And modernization adequate to challenge of physical and moral depreciation is realistic but in the case of sustainable economic development.