As of now, most people on Earth live in cities or urban conglomerations. In a few years, this index may well reach 60−70% of the Earth's populace. People stream into cities, as all the end-of-the-line technologies are developed there: IT, bioengineering, quantum technologies, robotics, industry and manufacturing. Even solutions for the agricultural sector are developed in cities.

«Development of cityscape has become a national priority, — explained Andrei Chibis, deputy minister of the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation, — Today, we have to form common standards for urban redevelopment of different types of cities. These standards have to be based on previous positive experience from the regions. Yet, it is most important to take account all the cultural and planning peculiarities of different cities so as to avoid typification. I'm not talking about some mandatory standards — we are going to create some solutions to how one should effectively take into account the architectural peculiarities of each city and urban redevelopment standards.

ITMO University. Vladimir Vasilyev

The deputy minister noted that he expects the forum's participants to work together actively, so that they can arrive at some decisions and outline the future ways of cityscape development. Vladimir Vasilyev, ITMO's Rector, underlined that the choice of the forum's topic — «Extreme Urbanism» — is most meaningful. «Extreme» here means that it has to do with a complex of different problems that affect everyone.

«During the forum, we'll be solving multifaceted tasks that have to do with the cities geography, the improvement of the urban environment, we'll discuss the problems of retaining the normal ways of human interactions in the context of a city. These questions — the questions of retaining the cultural and ethical code of cities — are most essential both in Russia and abroad», — shared Vladimir Vasilyev.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the Hermitage Museum that hosted the forum, called St. Petersburg the best place for discussing the problems of urbanization. Despite the fact that the city is constantly growing and new innovative technologies are being introduced, Russia's «Northern Capital» succeeds in retaining its historical appearance. This often calls for extreme, unconventional solutions — believes Mr. Piotrovsky.

It is also important that all the participants acknowledge the tasks that are now set before the governments of different cities. One of the key ones is searching for solutions that will be accepted by everyone. Administrations sometimes ignore good architectural solutions from young specialists. The citizen's opinions are often ignored, as well. Also, the construction lobby plays its role in decreasing the quality of living by building new massive blocks of multi-storied buildings that lack the necessary infrastructure.

ITMO University. Mikhail Piotrovsky

«We have to find some balanced solution which takes into account all groups and opinions. Surely, it won't be simple, but we are set on developing procedures that will solve the problems, be open and and take all propositions and objections into account», — underlined Andrei Chibis.

ITMO's Rector added that each city has to have a clear understanding of its «mission». This will allow us to devise developmental policies for years ahead. Thus, in every city there should be key competencies that are considered when important urban development solutions are made.

Each city in the world faces several key problems. For St. Petersburg, that would be the so-called «grey zone» — the territories of former manufacturing plants that divide the residential districts from the city center. This leads to everyday «labour migrations» from the outskirts to the city center and back again. That could be avoided if more workspaces were created in the «grey zone». There was a related exhibition on redevelopment of these territories at the forum; Sergei Poltavchenko, St. Petersburg's Governor, visited the exhibition and praised the projects presented there. The governor shared that in the current situation, new ideas are what the metropolis needs most.

ITMO University. The Second International Spatial Development Forum

«Another modern trend of St. Petersburg is the active development of areas adjacent to the Ring Motorway. It spreads into the Leningrad Regions, so it's most essential that the governments of the neighboring regions collaborate on new urban development solutions. By following the traditions, we aspire to combine innovations with our historical heritage», — shared the governor.

Despite being hosted in St. Petersburg, the topics at the forum are not limited to this city. More than 1,500 participants from Russia will come to this event, as well as about 100 speakers from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the USA. Professionals and social activists will discuss «independent» developmental strategies during special meetings.