“For the first time Moscow took the first place in five PWC indices out of ten, namely in transport infrastructure, investment capital, sustainable development of environment, level of technological availability and demographics”, Sobyanin said. “Esteemed colleagues from PricewaterhouseCoopers have been publishing their Emerging Cities report for several years now where Moscow is rated along with Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, and other capitals. Russian capital always made the top three and was in the second spot last year”, he said.
Moscow took the first place while Beijing came in second, followed by Mexico City (Mexico), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Mumbai (India), and Istanbul (Turkey).
PwC experts evaluated cities using ten key indices, which include multiple sub-indices. Some of the key parameters considered included volume of foreign direct investment, workforce productivity, year to year real GDP increase, city greenery acreage dynamics, percentage of college graduates among residents, general Internet availability, public transport network reach, the overall state of housing, and gridlock dynamics.
Reports like PwC’s offer unbiased third party evaluation of performance of managers of international megacities, as well help evaluate megacities’ investment attractiveness, help determine prospects for their further development, help identify real issues and offer solutions.
Other Moscow Urban Forum delegates praised Moscow’s progress. Over 120 experts came as part of international delegations from Europe, United States, Mexico, India, Japan, and other countries.
“I am really impressed how Moscow changed over the last six years. This is a dazzling result. Moscow is peerless in subway construction, the sheer quantity of new underground stations opened and new transfer hubs development,” said Maurice Leroy, ex-minister of Paris City Affairs in charge of the Grand Paris project. “Bigger Moscow” project has overtaken “Grand Paris” project based on the speed of implementation, he added.
MUF delegates noted that six years ago nobody believed that Moscow could be turned into a city comfortable for life, as it seemed too ambitious of a task. Simultaneous solution of the most acute city development problems turned Moscow into a city equal to European capitals, delegates concurred.
"Our first task was to solve traffic problems via scalable and rapid development of city’s transport infrastructure. Up to 70% of the city construction budget is spent on transportation network upgrades,” said Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Mayor, Moscow Government, Urban Policy and Construction. “De facto, we are implementing a gigantic integrated development project which will be the cornerstone for Moscow’s development for the next 20 years."
Moscow Government 2016-2018 budget for Moscow development is 1.17 trillion rubles ($18.3 billion U.S. dollars.). The bulk of this investment (up to 70%) goes to funding Moscow’s “mega-projects,” most of which are infrastructure-related: construction of 300 km of roads, 78 kilometers of subway lines and 38 underground stations, construction of transport and passenger traffic exchange hubs as well as revitalization of the Moscow Ring Railway. Other “mega-projects” include “New Moscow” construction, Grand Sports Arena "Luzhniki" renovation prior to FIFA World Cup 2018, construction of the park "Zaryadye", revitalization of industrial parks and redevelopment of Moscow River riverfront.
To international investors, Moscow Government offers a wide range of investment solutions, including a popular public-private partnership (PPP) investment vehicle. Over the past five years, Moscow authorities signed over 500 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) worth of PPP contracts. Foreign investors can invest in both infrastructure and development projects in the Russian capital.
"Large cities become gravity centers for the types of investments that simply are unattainable in other cities. They become centers where new lifestyles are becoming economically feasible and trigger new classes of services for residents, where new scalable markets for regional products spring up, where financial centers for national development appear,” Mayor Sobyanin said.
Forum experts noted evergreen interest of foreign investors in Moscow real estate. One reason for this interest is favorable to foreign currencies Russian ruble exchange rate factored into asset appraisal, the other is sustainable 20 percent per annum profit margin associated with real estate projects in Moscow. Experts agree that currently the biggest opportunity lies with large infrastructure projects that are closely linked with commercial realty. For example, representatives of investment and development company Eagle Hills Properties (UAE) announced their intention to fund the construction of several transportation hubs in Moscow, namely "Alma-Ata", "Novokosino", "Seliger" and "Rasskazovka". Similar projects are closely considered by one of the oldest Japanese architecture bureaus Nikken Sekkei. Nikken Sekkei’s official delegation visited Moscow in May for technical negotiations with transportation hub project developers. Moscow transportation hubs are also considered by investors from China and France. Besides hubs, French investors from Engie company may participate in the design of modern energy-efficient administrative and business center in New Moscow, as preliminary agreed upon by Engie official representatives and Moscow city officials of the sidelines of Moscow Urban Forum.
Moscow Urban Forum is a conference showcasing Moscow city projects, dedicated to further the search for new approaches and activity clusters aimed at Moscow urban development. Since its inception, over 10,000 delegates from 45 countries attended Moscow Urban Forum.
Since its debut in 2011, Moscow Urban Forum has become an important international platform devoted to the development of megacities, and improvement of the quality of life of urban residents around the world, as well as in Moscow and in Russia. Over the years, it has developed into a major international platform that brings together people with ideas to improve the quality of urban space, and people who implement these ideas: mayors, politicians, urbanists, and architects from all over the world.
MUF 2016 was dedicated to "Fast-Growing Megacities: Technologies for Dynamic Development."