“Not to spoil God-given wealth”: what we know about plans for Kazanka riverside improvement

The list of priority areas of improvement of the riмerside territory of the “main waterway of Kazan” to be announced at the beginning of 2020

“Not to spoil God-given wealth”: what we know about plans for Kazanka riverside improvement Photo: tourprom.ru

Since August, an expert group has been working in Kazan — the development of a strategy for the development of the riverside territories of the Kazanka River has begun. In the long term (it is a matter of decades), the improvement can affect about 68 kilometres of the riverside, along which 12 new parks and dozens of hiking and cycling routes from the Zilantov Monastery to the Blue Lakes are going to appear. In the framework of World Urban Parks Congress in Kazan Expo, there was the presentation of the strategy, which turned out to be more of the presentation of a “memorandum of intent”, as the huge brainstorming on what to do with three thousand hectares of land with not the best ecology and difficult construction, is not yet close to completion. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Aiming to improve 68 kilometres of Kazanka riverside

The proposed area of transformation, according to the project, includes 3,000 hectares of the riverside territory, the length of the Kazanka River in the city alone — 22 kilometres, it is, according to the calculations of the developers of the strategy, 68 kilometres of the riverside. In fact, it is the area of ten New York Central Parks or 54 Gorky Parks in Kazan, said the mayor. The project is going to affect the water bodies and riverside zones of the Kazanka River — from the historical river bed and the Zilantov Monastery, through the Kremlin, Kazan Federal University, other architectural monuments to the Blue Lakes, thus linking the main historical monuments and valuable natural areas into a single historical and ecological route.

Ilsur Metshin: “The developers have aimed at a completely different level: to create a new green frame of the city, which will help to restore, and in some places just create an ecosystem”

The ambitious plan to develop the riverside zones of the main waterway of the city involves the creation of 12 new parks (a total area of about 2,100 hectares) and about 60 kilometres of hiking and cycling routes within the city of Kazan. In addition, they plan to organize at least 25 access points to the riverside areas — equipped slopes and access to the water with eco-parks and public transport. It is specified that the development strategy of Kazanka includes especially protected natural and historical zones.

“Here, the developers have aimed at a completely different level: to create a new green frame of the city, which will help to restore, and sometimes just create an ecosystem. Of course, this work is not a matter of a year, two or three. But, with the help of our colleagues, attracting the best Russian and world experts, we hope to set a certain bar that will not allow God-given wealth of Kazan to be spoiled. In the coming decades, we would like to do something like this,” said the mayor.

Besides the plans for 12 parks, we know nothing — they rely on online advice from Kazan citizens

Besides the general information about the length of the Kazanka River and the proposed site of the work, nothing is known about the strategy at the moment. As explained by Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova — it is for quite objective reasons as the work on the strategy has just begun.

“Only with such mayor an unprecedented initiative can be started”, “we owe the Gorkinsko-Ometyevsky Forest to Mr Metshin personally” — with such words the Tatarstan presidential aide took the floor, then moved to the statement, apparently, of the main goal of the presentation — the presentation of the online resource — kazanka.tatar.

Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova presented the online resource kazanka.tatar, where Kazan citizens will have the opportunity to share their ideas and proposals with the developers of the strategy

She reminded that Kazan has become the first city in Russia to introduce the practice of holding public discussions, surveys of local residents before approving projects for the reconstruction of parks, squares and other public spaces. It was decided not to abandon the concept of openness when creating a strategy for the development of the Kazanka River. For this purpose, a separate website kazanka.tatar was created, where, according to the developers of the strategy, Kazan citizens will have the opportunity to share their ideas and proposals.

The French-St. Petersburg architectural bureau Orchestra is engaged in the development of the Kazanka River improvement strategy together with the Tatarstan ministry of construction and the city hall of Kazan, of course, under the curatorship of the team of Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova. The young company was founded by Parisian urbanist Edouard Moreau and Russian sociocultural design expert Ekaterina Goldberg and specializes in urban design.

It is known that before taking up the Kazanka River, Orchestra was engaged in several similar projects in Russia, however, their scale was much smaller. In particular, the bureau developed the concept and carried out planning of the embankment of the ancient city of Totma in Vologda Oblast, which, by the way, is included in the list of especially valuable historical cities of the country due to the well-preserved ancient buildings. The calling card of the young design studio is the industrial cluster Oktava in the city of Tula, created by Orchestra specialists on the basis of the plant of the same name.

According to Ekaterina Goldberg, the co-founder of Orchestra architectural bureau, the company's specialists have been working on Kazanka since August this year. By the end of the year, the bureau plans to fully develop the strategy for the entire territory of the river, and in early 2020 to begin projects in priority areas

According to Ekaterina Goldberg, the co-founder of Orchestra architectural bureau, the company's specialists have been working on Kazanka since August this year. By the end of the year, the bureau plans to fully develop the strategy for the entire territory of the river, and in early 2020 to begin projects in priority areas. Then it will become clear which areas will fall under the transformation first.

By Olga Golyzhlybina
Tatarstan