Moscow, Russia is the largest city in Europe with over 12.6 million residents. The remarkable fact is that it is also a biologically diverse ecosystem with a few dozen specially protected natural areas, including 15 large forest parks and a variety of smaller nature-places. The recent landscaping “improvements” conducted by the Moscow government since 2010 greatly increased negative impacts on the green infrastructure, e.g., a lot more paving, systematic grass mowing, widespread planting of exotic plant species, increased residential and commercial construction, more noise, etc. While quantification of the impacts of the above on the biota is not easy, we offer some insights into the changes over the last 10 years with respect to birds, insects, and plants within a few green spaces inside the city beltway. We then proceed to analyze these changes from the political ecology perspectives by looking at what Moscow residents feel and how they interact with the now more controlled nature and how nonhuman actors interact with the residents. Paradoxically, some developments may have actually increased contact opportunities for the residents with certain elements of nature, while at the same time forcing the wilder natural elements to retreat away from the city and give way to lawns and other controlled substrates.
Blinnikov, Mikhail S. and Volkova, Liudmila
"Green to Gray: Political Ecology of Paving Over Green Spaces in Moscow, Russia,"
International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research: Vol. 7
, Article 2.
Available at: https://dc.uwm.edu/ijger/vol7/iss2/2