How Moscow Came to Recognize, and Protect, Its Green Spaces

When people think of Moscow, they're unlikely to envision lush green landscapes. But over the last two decades, thanks to a burgeoning environmental movement, the city has rapidly expanded its protected green space.

1 minute read

July 21, 2013, 5:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Sveta Samsonova provides a brief outline of the history, current state, and future prospects for Moscow's protected green spaces. "Precursors of today's protected areas have existed since the 16th century," she explains, "when some territories were placed under special protection by the royal family and nobility as hunting grounds and private estates." 

Although a greenbelt around the city limits and ring of parks around the city center were established in Moscow's 1935 General Plan, "construction of factories, residential areas and roads significantly reduced the amount of green space in and around Moscow," from 1940-1980.

However, following mass protests in the late 1980s, "[t]he Moscow Soviet of People's Deputies (Mossovet) decided to set up a system of protected areas, and the second (Bitsa Park) appeared in 1992. Since then, the network has increased substantially. In 2004, the municipal government approved a plan for the 'Development and Management of Protected Areas in Moscow' with a list of existing and planned sites up to the year 2025."

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