Moscow gives new life to demolition drive

10 June 2014

In Moscow, 114 cheaply built five storey blocks of flats (known as Khrushchevski) will be demolished this year. The structures were built at a rapid pace during the Khrushchev era to satisfy a growing demand for housing and were never intended to be occupied for as long as they have. In 1999, then Moscow major Yury Luzhkov instructed that 1,722 be brought down by 2010 but one of the requirements was that residents had to be moved into new housing before the buildings could be demolished.

Over the last 15 years, 1,451 have been brought down, despite that fact that the entire job should have been completed four years ago. However, the economic crisis had a serious impact on the Russian economy and the demolition drive struggled for momentum because potential investors are risk adverse following the crisis and have been struggling to provide accommodation for the occupiers of the old blocks. Changes to housing regulations also slowed the drive, laying down that Moscow authorities could no longer assign land to developers without carrying out a tendering process.

This year will see 93 blocks being demolished using Moscow authority funds and the remainder (21) by private investors, meaning that the clearance work in five of the city’s 12 administrative districts will have been completed. Of the remaining outstanding demolitions, city construction chief Andrei Bochkaryov was reported by the Moscow Times as saying that no more than 30 will be left by the beginning of 2016.

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