To make parks, squares, and pedestrian zones even more attractive for local residents, the areas renovated under the My District programme are gaining new art objects with a unique historical twist.
Only 10 years ago, Khodynka residents could not even imagine that the obsolete airfield which had once served as a platform for the take-off of the first international flights from Moscow would turn into a unique park. In 2018, the area was not just landscaped — it became a conceptual public space where the proud history of Russian aviation was processed and 'served' in a creative way, in the form of two new art objects.
The former runway has now turned into the park's central alley. But one of the most captivating objects in Khodynka is the glass labyrinth: it reflects the endless sky with all of its faces, which is probably the reason why this art object has become one of the area's signatures.
Young visitors have their own favourite art object in Khodynka: the Aviator platform. No wonder that this play structure gets children so excited: it looks exactly like the four-engine turboprop airliner Il-18! It has plenty of slides and all kinds of climbing frames, and you can even spin a real steering wheel in the navigation room.
A picture worth a thousand words is the snow-white entrance arch of Lianozovsky promenade that mimics the outlines of pointed roofs of Soviet intelligentsia dachas (country houses). Lianozovo was where the famous two-storey Art Nouveau-style dachas were located.
Over a hundred years later, designer take on the history of the area has turned out so well that it truly deserves to be called an art object, especially in the nighttime, when not only the arch but the entire pedestrian zone on Uglichskaya Street is illuminated, with all of its cosy summer houses and swings.
The coat of arms of Bibirevo District features an actual adventure story: a golden beaver is pictured next to 5 green three-leaf clovers and seems to be trying to find the lucky four-leaf one… Historians help solve the mystery of the coat of arms: yes, the name of Bibirevo derives from the Russian word for beavers — they used to inhabit local rivers. As for three-leaf clovers, they symbolise five villages that were once located in the area.
Last year, a new Park of Light was also built in Bibirevo under the My District programme; the park has replaced a regular little square on the way to the metro. The park is home to the bronze Beaver Family — this art object is well-loved by locals and visitors alike. Thanks to impressive installations, the Bibirevo Park of Light is as well-lit in the nighttime as it is during the day.
Native residents of the north-east of Moscow are well aware that you can find elks not only in the Elk Island (Losiny Ostrov) National Park but also in the Torfyanka Park which has just recently installed a bronze sculpture of a life-size elk next to the entrance to the main alley. The reason is that elk is the symbol of Losinoostrovsky District. By the way, the name of the district originates from Losinoostrovskaya railway station which in turn was named after Losiny Ostrov.
To no one's surprise, the symbols of Northern and Southern Medvedkovo districts are bears ('medved' is the Russian for 'bear'). It all makes perfect sense: the symbol of Northern Medvedkovo is a polar bear. A bear sculpture weighing several tons is now 'strolling' around a children's playground in the renovated square, Severnaya Medveditsa ('Northern She-Bear').
The coat of arms of Southern Medvedkovo features a regular brown bear. The same wild animal now 'lives' in the renovated square in Dezhnev Proezd (Dezhnev Drive) and is always happy to pose for numerous selfies.
These art objects from different districts have one thing in common: both sculptures are polygonal. According to contemporary urbanists, this kind of shape is more dynamic which makes it more suitable for the fast pace of large cities. As well as small squares.
My Region programme of the Moscow Mayor offers equal development terms for all city districts considering their specifics. The programme takes into account the opinions and needs of residents of specific districts, builds new spaces for recreation, sports, and cultural entertainment, renovates old ones, and creates a convenient urban environment. From now on, a comfortable and modern city is not just about the city centre.
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