Current relationships between EU and Russia experience serious challenges. Saving and developing interconnections, achieved between Russian and European societies over last decades, should be among the key priorities of Russian international affairs. Searching for solutions for the common environmental and economical challenges provides a promising background for Russian-EU collaboration. Urbanization is a current trend with economical, political and environmental consequences, similarly important for Russia and EU countries. European countries have been experiencing urbanization for centuries and therefore have developed approaches and technologies to deal with its consequences for society and environment. Russia used to be mainly an agrarian country till the second half of the 20th century. However, urbanization, currently occurring in several ‘hotspots’, like, for example, the New Moscow Project, is comparable or exceeds European tendencies. The internal changes generating inside Russian society make it essential to continuously exchange the information, experience and skills with socially more developed European partners having the same historical, spiritual and cultural background. The purpose of such exchange is to ensure the wide understanding of the most advanced social practices and to find solutions for challenges, familiar to both Russian and European societies. The importance of social, environmental and economical consequences of urbanization on-going in Europe and in Russia and the necessity to find solutions for them has built up the rationale for the current project.
EDEMS project, through a series of information and research activities, aims to promote innovation in teaching and research the best European practices in sphere of urbanization analyzing such domain from a cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary perspective. In addition, EDEMS project seeks to facilitate networking activities with other institutions, fostering the dialogue between the academic world and policy-makers, in particular to enhance governance of EU policies. In terms of specific objectives, EDEMS project aims to implement “Cross-fertilisation“ activities, which will promote discussion and reflection on EU issues and enhance knowledge about the Union and its processes. Such goal will be achieved gathering Russian and non-Russian experts on urbanization of different scientific domains (ecology, architecture, politics, economics, etc.), supporting the creation of EU studies and boost the existing knowledge of local teaching and research staff in the Russian context.:
EDEMS project envisage the organization of a series of dissemination events, involving a wide range of Russian regional universities, colleges, professional schools and decision-makers in these events, aiming at elaborating a common approach between European practices of sustainable urban development to policies of Russian Federation and Russian regions to govern and manage megacities smartly
The proposed set of events would aim at supporting wide understanding and reflection of European economical, political, landscape design and environmental management approaches and practices among Russian academic staff, decision-makers and stakeholders at universities, colleges and professional schools including those previously not encountered with such experience. Academics from distant parts of Russia would have a possibility to reach for new knowledge on the design and management of the current megacity projects, including the New Moscow Project, which is likely a unique zone of governed rapid urbanization and sustainable urban development.
The composition and deliverance of proposed events is targeted at covering all areas of social, economical, environmental, architectural and political spheres with the aim to discuss and find the possible points of common interest between Europe and Russia of today. The project would involve the cooperation and deep participation from the side of a number of Russian universities, colleges and professional schools and decision-makers in the Moscow city administration. The project would be promoted at the international and regional and conferences, publications in specialized periodic and involve the creation and maintenance of the internet site.
Expected impact of the project
Urbanization is a key issue, emphasizing problems important social, economical and environmental problems. Searching for solutions involve a broad sphere of experts in city governance, urban management, landscape design and planning. Therefore the target group of the project is large including academics, students of universities and professional schools, stakeholders and policy-makers in Russia. The impact of the project will be very high due to the right moment of is appearance and its importance for the modern Russian society development. The project helps to evaluate and reflect on the European experience, traditions and technologies in a variety of political, social, economic and environmental issues of sustainable urban development. Moreover, on-going urbanization in Russian provides excellent case studies to implement European knowledge and skills (as, for example, the New Moscow project) and therefore the project outcomes will be beneficial both for Russian and European participants.
The most important target group of the proposed events is educational community, including different stages of education: professional schools, colleges and universities. The specifics of the target groups imply the academic focus of university education and more technological focus of professional schools and colleges. Therefore the latter ones will be mainly addressed by the workshop events, where the practical solutions of sustainable urban management will be presented. The students of the professional schools and colleges will not only follow the presentation and discussion with EU and Russian experts, but also will be motivated to present their own view for, for example, design and management contests. These interactions of ideas and technologies will allow the most efficient involvement of the teachers and students of the professional schools and colleges into up-to-date practical issues of urban management, which is especially important for them as future members of the professional community. University lectures and students will be addressed mainly by round tables and conferences where the interdisciplinary theoretical aspects of urbanization consequences as well as possible solutions will be discussed with EU and local experts. It is especially important to involve the regional HEI’s of Russia, usually not having a possibility to participate in international exchange of teaching staff with EU, and willing to actively participate in the construction of their future. This target group will have access to representative events with participation of foreign experts in PFUR concerning the use of European experience in the field of political, social-economic, environmental and architectural issued of on-going urbanization. Well-developed network of regional universities, related to PFUR, will allow for the most efficient dissemination of the project outcomes for this target group.
The second target group is the research and academic community, which will be able to participate and learn from negotiations with the EU experts and with each other on the ways to adapt European traditions to develop sustainable urban environment in Russia. This target group will be mainly addressed by conferences, round tables and study visits. Involvement of the academic and research community will allow efficient dissemination of the project outcomes through the professional networks and by incorporation of the project results into the teaching process. The third target group is decision-makers (stakeholders and policy-makers). Stakeholders, including business and municipal enterprises involved in urban management (companies on urban planning, greenery, waste recycling etc.) This target group will be mainly addressed by the workshops where they can benefit from sharing European technologies of sustainable urban management. Moreover, involvement of this group will help to validate and adapt approaches negotiated by academics from EU and Russia for the practical implementation in Russian realities. Policy-makers will be addressed through round tables and conferences where the positive experiences of EU countries to address the urbanization issues will be discussed. Considering on-going urban development in the New Moscow, involvement of this target group into negotiations on the sustainable urban development, can have very positive results in the very near future.
Finally, urbanization is an issue, relevant at the multiple scales, both for EU countries and Russia, Spreading information of the positive experience of the sustainable urban development and search of the solutions to improve the quality of life in cities will be beneficial for all city dweller, which currently give more than half of the global population.