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Moscow's big move: the city is for the biggest urban demolition project ever

A full 10% of Moscow’s housing is set to be torn down and 1.6 million people moved as the city’s ‘Khrushchevka’ flats are destroyed. 7,900 Soviet flat blocks in Moscow are to be torn down, in what will be one of the largest urban resettlement programmes in history.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has declared the programme an “absolute necessity” to replace ageing housing. He promised the replacement flats would be 20% larger on average. Although the city has yet to list the buildings that will be demolished, Sobyanin has promised that 25 million sq metres of residential real estate – more than 10% of the city’s housing stock – will be torn down. An estimated 1.6 million people will be resettled. The city says it will spend at least 300bn roubles, and independent experts have estimated the actual investment will be 3TN roubles ($500M). Some call the programme an attack on “low population density, which apparently is too big a luxury in Moscow now”. Apart from unsatisfied residents, there is another huge problem to deal with – the rennovation program is expected to generate about 53M tons of waste. Moscow just closed one of the biggest waste landfills (700K tons/year) after direct request of president Putin. It is widely recognized that Moscow area has depleting capacity in waste landfilling and 5 new large waste burners projects have been announced recently to deal with the problem. However, construction waste cannot be burned and has to be utilized.

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