Harold Denny, Modern City Thrice as Big as the Present One to House 5,000,000 Is Planned. Special Cable to The New York Times.
Ambitious to make Moscow the greatest city in the world, competing with Hitler’s plan to reshape Berlin, Stalin decreed in 1935 that a New Moscow would rise. Frustrated by the tangle and sprawl of the city he inherited, his plan was based not on individual buildings, but on larger blocks and districts, taller buildings to accommodate a denser population, and plenty of green park space to maintain citizens’ health. The New York Times reported on the ambition of the plan. Though not entirely realized, many of Moscow’s finest features to this day were laid out in that plan.
Original Source: New York Times, 11 July 1935, p. 1.
KREMLIN IS TO REMAIN
Red Square Will Be Enlarged
Parks, Boulevards and Airy Apartments Proposed.
MOSCOW, July 10. — An all-inclusive plan for rebuilding Moscow in ten years into a completely modern metropolis, covering more than three times the area of the present city and providing comfortably and spaciously for a 5,000,000 population, was adopted today jointly by the Council of People’s Commissars and the central committee of the Communist party.
A decree embodying the plan and ordering the State. Planning Commission-which prepares the five-year plans to work out complete details, together with costs, was signed tonight by Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, and Viacheslav Molotov, Soviet Premier.
By its provisions most of what remains of the old Moscow of narrow, winding streets and bulbous Byzantine towers one of the most picturesque cities in the world, even · if dirty and uncomfortable is to disappear. In its place is to rise a 1 new city of large squares, parks, wide boulevards, an entirely reorganized and many times enlarged ·transportation system and large apartment buildings with space between them to furnish light and air. In the words of tonight’s decree. “the construction and architectural design of the capital of the U.S.S.R. must perfectly reflect the grandeur and the beauty of the Socialist epoch.”
Rejected Plan for New Site
In adopting the plan announced tonight the Soviet rulers have rejected projects seriously advanced; for abandoning the present Moscow altogether and retaining this ancient capital of the Czars as a dead city — a lifeless museum of the past — and creating a new city beyond the boundaries of the present one.
They also rejected a proposal to destroy the present city and build an entirely new one on its site. They decided instead to preserve the bases of the city as laid out by history, but radically to reform them.
There is nothing in the decree to indicate that the Kremlin — probably the most fascinating conglomeration of buildings in the world and an area in which unbelievable events have occurred for centuries — is to go. Nor St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is reported from sources close to the Soviet leaders that Mr. Stalin appreciates the strange beauty of the Kremlin and would not countenance such an act of vandalism.
But the plans provide for the demolition of the old Trading Rows directly opposite Lenin’s tomb to make Red Square, already a huge space, twice its present size. Smaller buildings in Kitai-Gorod, the “Chinese city,” an old labarynthine section which once was Moscow’s business centre, are to be demolished and in their places will rise monumental structures to house the government departments which now are scattered all over Moscow.
Much of this vast reconstruction project — which is the most ambitious piece of municipal planning ever adopted anywhere — must take place in the next three years and the whole plan is to be fitted into the structure of the general five-year plan of the Soviet Union under which the entire Soviet economy is being rebuilt.
First Spread to Southwest
The first expansion of Moscow, which under the plan will grow from seventy square miles to more than 230, will be to the southwest beyond Lenin Hills, the old Sparrow Hills, from which Napoleon had his first view of Moscow. Eleven new bridges are to be built over Moscow River. The next city will grow eastward.
Tonight’s decree calls for the removal of street cars from congested districts, the laying out of other street-car lines, and thousands of buses and taxicabs. All streets and squares are to be paved with asphalt.
The gas, water and electric systems must be greatly enlarged and improved. Hundreds of new schools, nurseries and clinics will be constructed. New motion-picture theatres, clubs, department stores, refrigerating plants and even a big vegetable warehouse underground are included in the plan.