Urban greening as a response to societal challenges. Towards biophilic megacities (case studies of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, Russia)

Maria Ignatieva, Diana Dushkova, Irina Melnichuk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The density of the population in megacities is continuously increasing, resulting in a marked reduction in “living” and associated green spaces and a deterioration in the quality of the urban environment. Urban green spaces are often being replaced by carparks, shopping centers, and service enterprises. Residential courtyards are getting compacted and crammed with cars, forcing pedestrians to weave their way through parked cars. This chapter examines the efforts of two megacities in Russia — Moscow and Saint Petersburg — to organize sustainable greening solutions for their residential areas using new achievements in landscape design theory and practice, such as the concept of the biophilic city. It starts by analyzing the history of the two cities’ greening strategies during major historical periods (pre–Peter the Great, Peter the Great, the nineteenth century, post–Russian Revolution, early Soviet period, after the Second World War, and the current post-Soviet time), and discusses the concept of urban green infrastructure and its implementation in both Russian megacities. Traditions and specific peculiarities in the organization of the urban green spaces in each city, as well as their respective urban green policies, are highlighted. Special attention is given to urban biodiversity within the context of urban green infrastructure. The chapter presents an assessment of the current state of urban green spaces and the most recent master plans and how these cities are facing and responding to modern societal (e.g. social, economic, and environmental) challenges. The article also contains the results of an analytical review of the most successful urban greening projects in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. At the same time, the economic and climatic features of the urban green areas, their architectural and planning features are considered, along with strategies for further development of the urban green spaces in both cities, aiming to address the new principles of biophilic cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking green cities
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Challenges and Practice
EditorsJürgen Breuste, Martina Artmann, Cristian Ioja, Salman Qureshi
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ChapterSub-chapter 6.5
Pages352 - 370
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-37716-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-37715-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCities and Nature
ISSN (Electronic)2520-8306


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