EcoGrad, a concept for ecologically efficient city planning tailored to St
Petersburg conditions, is ready to be applied in practice. Partners are being
sought who are capable of implementing the pilot project.
VTT’s final report on the project EcoGrad. Concept for ecological city
planning for St Petersburg, Russia presents the EcoGrad urban concept. The
concept includes a dense urban structure, a minimised need for private
transport and maximised use of public transport and light traffic, minimised
energy consumption, the use of renewable energy with maximum efficiency, and
sustainable waste and water treatment solutions. The concept also takes into
account social and cultural aspects.
The fact that buildings
are constructed with a high level of density in St Petersburg, and that local
regulations require everyday services to be located close to residents,
supports ecological planning. However, there is still plenty of room for
technical, economic and administrative development in Russia. Energy-efficient
building is still at the initial stages of development, and there is little
familiarity with energy systems based on renewable sources of energy.
the course of the VTT-led project, seven meetings were held with
representatives of the City of St Petersburg. During these meetings, elements
of the concept were presented and feedback was received on the extent to which
different segments would suit local conditions. This made it possible to forge
the relationships and prerequisites for the crucial co-operation with
officials in St Petersburg.
The project also involved a
resident’s questionnaire, among the findings of which was that residents (92%)
do not consider it important for renewable energy to be used in residential
heating. Mechanical ventilation is unknown to the majority (80%) of
respondents. Fresh air is considered important (80%), but less than half of
the respondents (40%) were willing to pay for it. As a result of the project,
it was observed that involving inhabitants in the development process is an
important part of ecological planning. It should be further developed in
Russia and integrated as part of the planning process.
As part of the project a list of criteria was
drawn up for ecological city planning in St Petersburg. The list specifies
which matters require attention, which metrics should be used, and which
special features should be taken into account in the ecological city planning
of St Petersburg. The list of criteria helps local city planning to move
towards more ecological planning of residential areas.
addition, three pilot areas were planned within the project. The plans
estimated energy consumption levels within each area, and ascertained the
emission distributions of various energy systems tailored to local conditions.
Calculations also took into account travel to services as well as traffic. In
one pilot, a plan was also prepared which attempted to increase the ecological
efficiency of an area without pushing up investment costs.
future, the aim is to work with local bodies to develop tools for city
planning based on the list of criteria. We are looking for partners in the
form of investors and a production network in order to implement the pilot
site,” says Senior Research Scientist Åsa Nystedt of VTT.
are also plans for a virtual platform concentrating on energy-efficiency that
would function as a meeting point for different actors. The platform would be
used by Finnish and Russian businesses as well as Finnish R&D bodies and
universities,” Nystedt adds.
The goal of the EcoGrad
project was to apply VTT’s new Ecocity concept, which has already gone through
its pilot stage on an international level, to housing production and urban
property development in Russia. In the past, exports promotion has focused on
supplying materials and finished products, but there is an increasing need to
develop comprehensive service concepts.
From the perspective
of Finnish actors, Russian conditions are distinguished by a similar climate,
the opportunities of making use of renewable building materials, and partly
also the need to concentrate housing production in major centres as dispersed
residential settlements empty out.
The EcoGrad project ran
from January to the end of November 2010. It was funded by the Ministry for
Foreign Affairs of Finland.
A report was published on the
basis of the project:
EcoGrad. Concept for ecological city planning for St Petersburg, Russia