CENTER Agency operated and directed the 2nd International Urban Forum Designing the Future in Makhachkala

21 November, 2019

The 2nd International Urban Forum “Designing the Future” took place in Makhachkala on November 20 to 21 The key issues addressed by the forum included modern architecture and urban planning, tools for comfortable public space design, and the best Russian and foreign practices and the historical and cultural code of the cities and regions in the Republic of Dagestan as the foundation for the Republic’s development priorities. The agenda focused on real-life case studies of urban environment overhaul, in addition to analyzing the most efficient urban planning methodologies and determining how to scale officially tested solutions.

According to the results of the forum, a number of important decisions were made. 

1. The urban forum in Makhachkala will become an annual event. This was announced by the Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Dagestan Artyom Zdunov as part of his speech at the opening of the forum. The Head of the Government of the Republic emphasized the importance of such events for the region and the need for their annual holding.

2. The administration of the city district "Derbent city" plans to create a project office to work on the development of the city. The main architect of Derbent, Isa Magomedov, announced that the Administration of the city district “the city of Derbent” plans to attract the best specialists from all over the republic to work on urban changes. The project office will include architects, designers and managers who have relevant work experience. The selection of specialists will be carried out by resume. Everyone can send information about themselves and their experience to e-mail

3. The Club of Chief Architects of the North Caucasus Federal District will be created in Dagestan. Nezir Huseynov, Chairman of the Committee on Architecture and Urban Planning of the Republic of Dagestan, suggestd the creation of the Club of Chief Architects of the North Caucasus Federal District. It will become a collegial body. Within its framework, proposals will be worked out for further architectural and urban development of the region.

Artyom Zdunov, chairman of the Government of Dagestan, opened the Forum with a speech where he stressed how important the event was for the Republic. The speech was followed by a plenary session on the sustainable development of urban architecture in an unsustainable reality. During the discussion, Nezir Guseynov, Chairman of the Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning of the Republic of Dagestan, shared his hopes for the forum as a solution for the current disregard for official regulations and lack of systemic approach. Andrey Bokov, Vice-President of the International Academy of Architecture and President of the International Academy’s Moscow division, also noted that such essential regions of the Russian Federation as the Republic of Dagestan could have adopted legislative measures regulating the changes in the region’s municipalities and aimed at restoring the local agriculture. The discussion participants made multiple comments on the vital need to involve young professionals in the creation of a comfortable urban environment. For instance, Khizri Abakarov, Head of Derbent Urban District, expressed his firm belief that the future rests with “young architects who are capable of painting a clear picture of the city’s further development”.

A lecture by Martin Biewenga, partner and project director at the West 8 architecture bureau (the Netherlands), was of a particular interest. Mr. Biewenga spoke of public spaces with thousands of years of history and of modern approaches to working with such historic sites. During the lecture, the expert pointed out that governmental contributions are very important as they build a foundation for proper urban renovation. A separate discussion was dedicated to reviewing the competition in Derbent, which had concluded a day before the forum. Members of consortiums that had reached the final stage of the competition talked about the main stages of their work on the master plan, the challenges they had run into, and their vision of Derbent’s future.

The importance of a master plan for predicting urban development stages was highlighted by speakers at the “City and Territory Master Plan as a Grand Business Deal” session. According to these experts, master plans require a comprehensive approach that ought to account for the opinion of the entire community. “A master plan is a highly relevant documents that brings together an incredibly diverse range of urban development aspects,” said Narine Tyutcheva, founder and director of the Rozhdestvenka Architecture Bureau and head of the RE-School Research and Education Center for Architectural and Cultural Heritage Preservation.

A round table titled “Profession: Architect. Priorities for the Development of Cities and Territories” featured contributions from the chief architects of the Northern Caucasus Republics. The explained to the audience how they work on their work tasks and how they shape urban transformation. During the discussion, the architects also shed light on stakeholder interaction. Round table contributors undertook to work as a team and to share their professional experience and insights.

The business agenda for November 21 covered the issues of creating comfortable public spaces, urban planning regulations, the preservation of cultural and historical heritage, and modern architecture trends. The speakers that contributed to the “Infrastructure and Amenities: the Technologies of Creating a Comfortable Urban Environment” session pointed to the importance of urban comfort for each member of the community, the role played by architects in making the city more appealing to live in, and the challenge of preserving each territory’s unique character and historical and cultural heritage. They also mentioned that successful cities require comfortable and aesthetically pleasing streets and public spaces, a well-developed transport network, modern power and utility services, and a robust social and cultural infrastructure. 

Today, many cities focus on developing their downtown areas, which the want to attract local visitors and tourists alike. But one of the key criteria that define whether or not a city is successful is a comfortable environment,which is based on the development of public spaces like promenades, the creation and upgrade of urban parks, the construction of recreation facilities, and the active inclusion of waterway into the city space. All of the above was discussed at a case session titled “Public Spaces: How to Save and Develop the City’s Social and Financial Capital”. In turn, the “Legal and Regulatory Base for Urban Planning” session was dedicated to the key issues and violations in urban planning, the analysis of changes in construction rules and approval procedures, compliance cost evaluations, and predictions for the loss of funds and reputation that may result from violating urban planning regulations. 

The forum’s concluding discussion was titled “Planning the Future. The Main Development Directions for the Republic of Dagestan Territories”. It charted the main course for the republic’s further development, in addition to summarizing the previous two days of work.

The forum delegates were highly appreciative of the series of workshops hosted by the International Academy of Architecture. Among other exciting highlights, the educational program included speeches by: Mikhail Beilin, cofounder of Cityzenstudio; Narine Tyutcheva, founder and director of the Rozhdestvenka Architecture Bureau (RDNK); Maria Sedletskaya, head analysis at Agency for Strategic Development CENTER; Konstantin Khodnev, architect and partner of the DNK Architecture Group; Maria Sonne-Frederiksen, member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA) and the Moscow Architects’ Union and professor at the International Academy of Architecture (Moscow); Aleksey Ginzburg, head of the Ginzburg Architects Architecture Workshop; Irina Zamotina, managing partner at the Urbanica Institute; and Yury Vissarionov, Vice-President of the International Academy of Architecture (Moscow). The speakers touched upon the architectural heritage preservation and historical site renewal, industrial renovations, public housing, and public educational programs on architecture. They described their unique methodology and signature style, and talked about the birth of the projects that later become paragons of their time.

The workshop track was concluded by a one-hour public lecture, delivered by Aleksandr Kudryavtsev Head of the Department of Archaeology and Regional History, Dean of the Stavropol State University Branch in the town of Izobilny. The lecture was dedicated to the genesis of Derbent and its history, which goes hundreds of years back.

The Forum was organized by the Republic of Dagestan, the Dagestan Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning, Derbent Urban District, the I Love Derbent Charity Foundation, as well as the Agency for Strategic Development CENTER, which has become its operator and organizing committee.

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