Post Socialist Russia: Beyond the consumerist paradise
Post-socialist Moscow <ul><li>Beyond the consumerist paradise </li></ul>Anna Fenko, Department of Industrial Design
From communism to consumerism: 20 years of transition
Ideology is at rest. What has taken it’s place? Another ideology: consumerism.
GUM (Main Department Store), or the Upper Trading Rows, were built between 1890 and 1893 by Alexander Pomerantsev (responsible for architecture) and Vladimir Shukhov (responsible for engineering). The façade faces the Red Square. The glass roof (14 meters in diameter) made the building unique at the time of construction .
In the end of 2008 the total space of shopping centres in Moscow amounted to 3,9 million sq/m. The rental price is approximately $2.000 a year per sq/m.
Underground shopping mall “Okhotny Ryad” near Kremlin is the largest in Europe. It was built in 1997 by Zurab Tsereteli, responsible for many new, shiny, and tasteless buildings in Moscow. The total space is 70.000 sq/m, the rent is about $6.000 a year per sq/m.
Auchan, the French hypermarket chain, opened the first Russian store in 2002. Now it has 29 hypermarkets and supermarkets in Russia, 12 of them are in the Moscow area.
To drive to the hypermarket at the outskirts of Moscow, you need a car. At the beginning of 2009 the population of Moscow was 10,6 million, with 2,6 million car owners.
<ul><li>Buying expensive cars has become a new Russian obsession . </li></ul>
<ul><li>The city never sleeps. It never stops spending money… Mercer Human Resource Consulting claims Moscow is now the world's priciest city (above Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Geneva, and New York). </li></ul>
<ul><li>Shops are open 24/7. Traffic is also pretty bad all night… </li></ul>
You go shopping not because you need something…
Propositions to discuss: <ul><li>1) In the socialist period public spaces were mostly used for demonstration of the ideological power. Now they are mostly used for consumption. </li></ul><ul><li>2) People need places to shop, to go out, to meet friends. In Moscow there are two types of such places: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>overpriced, shiny new ‘palaces’ of consumption (shopping malls), and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cheap non-official chaotic street markets. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3) The ‘consumerist paradise’ increases social tension (most people can’t afford it) and deforms the worldview of the young people (they believe that a cup of coffee indeed costs $10). </li></ul><ul><li>4) Street markets are messy and produce a lot of waste (they also provoke criminal activity and police corruption). </li></ul>
Questions to think of: <ul><li>What can designers and architects do to fill the gap between two types of public places? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we create other types of urban public spaces that have nothing to do with buying and selling? </li></ul><ul><li>How to make “buy nothing” weekends attractive again? </li></ul>