There’s a lot of building going on in Russia. As I’ve been told, people are afraid to lose their money in yet another economic crisis, so they invest in real estate. Real estate prices are already crazy, and still growing.
Moscow seems to have more building activity than any other city that I’ve seen on my trip. It’s a 24×7 process. Especially in the center of the city, where the land is extremely expensive. I was also surprised by how clean the process is. Before the old building is demolished it is wrapped around with the green construction net, and there’s no rubbish or dust coming out. When the green net goes down, a new building is revealed to the public eye.
In Togliatti there’s plenty of construction too. Half of the buildings look very fresh, like they were finished only yesterday, and the other half looks like they are almost ready, and will be operational tomorrow. Most of the new buildings, at least in Togliatti, are constructed with red brick, and not concrete or any other technology. Probably the bricks are cheaper there.
Another interesting thing about construction is the way the new buildings are connected with the old ones to save some money on communications. As I said before, there is usually a lot of spaces between buildings, especially those that were built during the Soviet era. What they do now is insert another building between the old two, connecting it all from wall to wall. And if the old buildings were 9 stores high, the new block is usually higher – 14 or 16 stores or so. It also goes inside too, instead of being flat, along the street. I understand the economic reason of building so, but it still looks pretty odd to me.
With all these building and construction, it’s surprising to see the lack of parking space. Soviet city planning calculated for about one automobile per one thousand people. That’s by far off today, but it seems that no changes were done to this characteristic. Huge buildings with hundreds of flats and thousands of inhibitants have less than ten parking places. And there is all these space covered with grass and gravel around the building. That’s just ridiculous!