polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Exhibiting Urban Development

by Peter Sigrist

As part of a growing collection of features (from artists to quotes) contributed by Polis readers and writers, today we introduce one on places. This can include any location that makes you want to share the experience of being there with others. Simply upload a photo, multiple photos or video to the group pool on Flickr. Relevant submissions are then geotagged, briefly described and published on Polis. We hope this collection will be useful for designers, residents, planners and travelers in search of extraordinary places.

Today's feature is the "Permanent Exhibition on City Planning in Moscow" by the Moscow Government Committee on Architecture and Planning. It is located in the "Building on Brestskaya" at 6 Vtoraya Brestskaya Street, a few blocks from the stunning Mayakovskaya Metro Station.

The exhibit fills a gigantic room, and its centerpiece is a continuously updated wooden model of the city (above). It can be viewed at floor level or from a mezzanine. The quality is remarkable, and it shows that beautiful models and plans don't necessarily correspond with experience on the ground.

More-detailed models of buildings and neighborhoods surround the central display, along with high-resolution photos, maps and diagrams. The exhibit is a "meta" place, in that it comprises depictions of every place in the city. The experience is fascinating and highly informative.

A hand-drawn map of Moscow (above) greets visitors at the entrance. It has a key that identifies different forms of land use, including green space, industry and housing. I'd like to find out more about the production of this map. Could it possibly be updated consistently like the model? If not, I wonder how it differs from current maps, especially in light of the plan to vastly expand Moscow's borders.

Despite incredible quality, central location and (as far as I know) free admission, I don't think many people visit this exhibit. I highly recommend going if you're interested in urban development, architecture, planning, information design or cartography.

Credits: Photos by Peter Sigrist.

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