- Moscow's government says it has completed the first phase of its massive My Street renovation project. The city-wide upgrades create what the municipality calls a "citizen-oriented" city.
- City leaders say the initiative involved technological additions like implementing more than 11,000 smart traffic lights, installing free public Wi-Fi in the city center and using a blockchain e-voting system.
- Environmental and aesthetic improvements include renovating more than 2,400 buildings, adding more than 12 miles of bike paths and planting more than 12,000 trees.
The My Street project is being completed in phases and despite original projects of full completion next year, it will extend into 2020. Many of the central aspects of the project have been completed while smaller portions will continue into the coming years.
Moscow's sweeping upgrades launched it into the smart cities sphere. It set out to tackle issues with smart technologies. For example, leaders addressed the city's traffic congestion by installing thousands of smart traffic lights to aid traffic flow, which it says has improved by 10%.
The government's implementation of blockchain voting allows citizens to give feedback to leaders and influence decisions. It's being used to poll about a variety of projects and concerns in the city, including where My Street phases should take place and what they should include. Moscow is the first city to use blockchain voting on such a large scale.
While many support this redevelopment plan, a large number of citizens are concerned about its potential negative effects. Protesters have taken to the Moscow streets throughout the year to oppose the city's plan to tear down wide swaths of housing in order to proceed with the redevelopment project. In fact, the renovations require demolishing about 4,500 apartment complexes, which is about 10% of the city's total housing, to make way for high rises. The redevelopment certainly will benefit residents in the long run, but it only can be considered fully successful if it is done in an equitable manner that best serves residents and their needs.