By Leman Mammadova
Baku will soon become a more comfortable place for the residents thanks to the realization of the city’s new master plan aimed at ensuring the capital’s sustainable and systematic development.
General plan of Baku will consider four major priorities, Chairman of the State Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning Samir Nuriyev said at a plenum of the Board of the Union of Architects on the topic “Development of Urban Planning in Baku”.
He noted that along with balanced zoning of the city to ensure sustainable development, these priorities are a gradual transition to the formation of alternative centers and sub-centers, regeneration of the environment, ensuring rational use of territories and comfortable life of the population, preserving the national cultural heritage and architecture of the city, enriching cultural life, and transition of the urban economy to the post-industrial period.
Recently, German company "AS+P" won the tender for the development of the second phase of the master plan of Baku. At this stage, technical work will be carried out on strategic and multi-level planning of the city’s territory, as well as modeling on the main development indicators. The second phase development will last for the next 18 months.
While speaking at the event, AS+P Managing Director Joachim Schares stressed the importance of moving a number of state structures out of the city center.
“The work on updating the master plan of Baku includes the idea of transferring various state structures from the city center to other areas, to the periphery,” he said.
In his words, it is necessary to first determine the district issues when preparing the master plan. “A smart, balanced approach can reduce the pressure exerted on the central part of the city and positively influence the development of district sub-centers.”
Schares stressed that AS+P plans to cooperate with the Baku State Design Institute and various international companies in addressing these issues.
He went on to add that the second important issue is the proper planning of the city, contributing to its overall development. Conducting mass cultural and sporting events make the city more attractive, he said.
Schares defined the involvement of all stakeholders in the discussion of the problems facing the capital as the third direction.
Among the conceptual tasks facing the developers of the master plan, he also noted the proper use of the city’s territory, the protection of the historical and architectural heritage, the provision of new economic development, taking into account the diversification of the urban economy in recent years in Baku.
“Azerbaijani capital is facing various challenges. Over the past 20 years, the population of Baku has increased by 26 percent, which caused new difficulties. The development of Baku and suburban settlements over this period requires the improvement of utilities and transport infrastructures,” said the managing director.
In his words, the excessive congestion in the central part of the city as a result of the construction of high-rise buildings and the irrational use of territories requires a qualitatively new approach to these issues.
“These processes have a negative impact on the social and historical architecture. At the same time, Baku has been an industrial city for decades, which had a negative effect on the atmosphere. Therefore, we must also think about improving the environment,” Joachim Schares said.
AS+P is a leading urban planning and architectural company with extensive international experience and headquarters in the German city of Frankfurt. The company has successfully implemented over 2,000 projects in various countries around the world.
In 2018, the State Committee on Urban Development and Architecture attracted the influential consulting company Boston Consulting Group to cooperate on the preparation of the first stage of Baku’s master plan. The contract value was about 1.3 million euros.
The company helped to prepare the concept of development of Baku and to determine the priority directions of development.
This is the fifth master plan of Baku so far. The first master plan was developed by the famous architect Nikolaus von der Nonne in 1898. In 1932, the capital's second master plan was developed. In 1964, the Council of Ministers approved the third master plan of the city. The latest master plan was approved by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1986 and this document covers the period up to 2005.
The new master plan - "Greater Baku Regional Development Plan" - should cover the period up to 2035. The project sketches were prepared jointly with consultants on issues of economic development (U.S. specialist Kay Miller), environmental issues (the Spanish company Eptisa), and urban planning (Italian Angelo de Urso).
The "Greater Baku Regional Development Plan" and the "Land Use and Zoning Plan of Baku" projects were prepared in 2011-2014 in accordance with the loan agreement signed in 2007 between the Government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank.
The capital, attracting large businesses and foreign investors thanks to the dynamic development, is becoming increasingly popular as one of the major cities for business and living, recreation and entertainment.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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