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As part of Moscow’s Moya Ulitsa ("My Street") program, gardens and greenery have returned to one of the city’s major thoroughfares, the Garden Ring, which consists of 20 streets and has a total length of 15.6 km.
Two centuries ago, as far back as in 1816, Moscow authorities decided to create a "Garden Ring" surrounding the city center, and the implementation of this beautification project took about 15 years and was completed by 1830. During the Soviet Union, the area became an aggressively car-dominated environment, and in the early 1930s, it was deprived of its greenery under the Stalinist Moscow Master Plan and has been a five to eight lane highway ever since. Underground crosswalks, intended to protect pedestrian crossings, sacrificed many places with the greatest potential as public spaces to moving cars.
The Garden Ring Project was implemented between 2015-2017, and the concept of “100 Gardens of the Garden Ring" was ”based on the desire to restore its historical heritage by giving high priority to greenery, public transport and pedestrians," said the project's coordinator, Daria Paramonova. "Strelka KB also aimed to reintegrate two parts of the city—the microdistricts outside the Ring and the city center. Today the Garden Ring is not just a circular avenue surrounding central Moscow, but a unique space which connects different parts of the city."
Launched in 2014, the My Street program is one of the largest public space restoration projects in the city’s history, and it involved the renovation of 150 public spaces and architects from Russia and around the world. In an effort to make Moscow more livable and pedestrian friendly—on par with many other European capitals—almost every sidewalk has been repaved and every road has been narrowed.
According to Strelka KB, the consulting firm for “My Street,” since the inception of the program, 92.8 km (57.6 mi) of Moscow streets have been rebuilt, 12,000 trees planted, 7,000 street lamps installed, and five million square feet of granite pavement tiles laid. And while there is more shared public space where Moscovites can rest, visit, and socialize, the impact of these improvements is measurable: the space for pedestrians increased by 15%, the number of road accidents with injuries decreased by 29%, and those with fatalities have fallen by 56%.
All images courtesy of Strelka KB
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.