JANUARY 21, 2019


ARCHINFORM is developing an architectural concept for the 'Southern City' (Samara), one of the largest comprehensive development zones in Russia. The area of the new residential district is located half an hour ride from the city center. The design plot area is over 500 hectares, the population – over 70 thousand people. The overall area is approximately 2 million square meters.
Taking into account the scale of the project, we originally offered to treat the design area not as one large district, but as a full-fledged city, which has its own inner structure divided into independent infrastructurally and socially secure planning elements.
When it comes to living in the city, a person primarily considers environmental values, not square meters. The feeling of a fulfilling life is provided by the presence of public spaces, the right development proportions, the closeness of public goods, additional functions, and environmental variety of the urban fabric. When a city has been developing for several centuries, all this is gradually formed naturally, because of a large number of changes and cultural layers. However, in a situation when a large planning area appears at once, and its development history is measured by several years, there are simply no chances for such evolutionary urbanistic development. But if we want people who will live in this area to feel as functional city residents, we should synthesize many aspects that are considered normal by them in a city.
An important part of our work with this project is modelling of the urban fabric, taking into account social, cultural and behavioral factors. One of the key factors of a person's life in the city is his or her detection of unique and identic fragments of urban environment. We suggest recreating this effect by means of polycentricity, which helps develop separate local subcenters in each of the planning elements. This principle creates a brand new perception of urban life for the residents of each area, where different neighbourhoods have their own identity and visibility. A system of environmental perception is formed for various central locations connected with unique functional facilities or public spaces, which all together create a whole range of versatile scenarios for urban environment perception.

We suggest a quarter development system with high horizontal density, and the default number of storeys remaining 7 – 10 storeys. Separate quarters will feature outer sections of up to 14 storeys to create a more expressive street silhouette. The central part of the area includes a more comfortable development: semi closed and enclosed quarters of complex configuration and 5 to 7 storeys.
Thus, the district planning structure presents a dense regular urban fabric, which is evenly saturated with public facilities and spaces. The area of public zones is occupied by public buildings (social infrastructure facilities) and adjacent 'green' zones.

At the same time, various dispersed subcenters are all part of a unified system of pedestrian and recreational spaces, consisting of boulevards, public gardens and linear parks. This pedestrian recreational frame also links major public and social facilities (schools, kindergartens, healthcare facilities).
At the heart of the planning frame for the whole area lies a clear and optimized system of street and road network, including city, district and residential streets with various profiles. The transport service of the whole area is optimally designed and is carried out by means of bus and tram services that should link the new residential area with the city center of Samara.

Apart from the environmental variety and polycentricity, we have suggested creating a system of differentiated classification of living comfort, which would be linked with environmental parameters of the location. Thus, a more comfortable development is localized along pedestrian routes, in close proximity to the main public goods, while for the quarters bordering park and recreational zones in the central part of the 'Southern City' we suggest a low-rise business class development. The variety of urban environment should be created by means of artificial waterbodies and unique urban landscapes. However, the idea of creating a system of parks in the heart of the area does not only bear environmental value, but also helps solve a purely practical task, as it is driven by the need to consider a large number of zones with special land use and development limitations.