Moscow 20th century growth: key stages

In the beginning of 20th century the population of Moscow was around 1.5 million people, in the below image you can see what portion of todays’ Moscow territory it took. Nowadays the population is around 15 milion, 10 times growth in one century. Let’s look at the keys stages of the growth.

Moscow territory, 1907

Moscow, end of 19th century

The first main changes and the growth of Moscow falls on the post-revolutionary period. In 1918, after Bolsheviks moved the capital from St-Petersburg to Moscow, it became clear that the old city does not very well for this task. They decided to reconstruct the city dramatically to include more government buildings, also to construct living houses for the growing population. At the head of the reconstruction was Ivan Zholtovsky, who designed the Exhibition of Economic Achievements. Accordingly, the district VDNH and surrounding areas became part of Moscow.

VDNKH, 1930th

In addition, Moscow at this time accumulated the new areas (Babushkinsky, Sokol, Presnya, Timiryazevskaya Square and several others). The city extends, mainly, to the north, where the workers' settlements were historically concentrated. During the same period the city continues to attract various segments of the population. The increased standard of living in the country and the emergence of social lifts allows more and more people to come to live in Moscow.

Sokol district, 1930th

In 1931 there were already 3.8 million people living in Moscow. The city was already developing in a planned manner (with some interruption for the period of the war). High-rise buildings were constructed, including the main building of Moscow State University on Vorobyovy Gory. Vorobyovy Hills, or rather, the Lenin Hills, were added to the territory of Moscow.

Moscow University district, 1960th

But the main changes and the formation of the current image of Moscow occured in the 1960s, when the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) was built around Moscow. It is the Ring Road which determined the configuration of the boundaries of Moscow, which now included Solntsevo, Kuskovo, Perovo, Novogireevo, Tushino, Lublino, Chertanovo, Krylatskoe and much more. The growth of the city was impressive. During this period of time, the city area reached its peak. By 1960 in Moscow there were already 6 million people, of which 1-1.2 million were inhabitants of the absorbed cities.

New Arbat construction (1960th)

But why does MKAD have such a configuration? Because it was built on the basis of the existing shaded bypass roads around Moscow. According to plans that were developed before the war, it was planned to use about 100 km of existing roads in the ring, and to complete 30 km of new roads. The war confused the plans, but the road to "temporary" quality for the needs of the defense of the city is still built. After the war, it was this temporary road that laid the foundation for MKAD.

Of course, many changes happened in the planning of Moscow, the key one is the introduction of the New Arbat street which would connect directly so-called government highway Kutuzovskaya to the city center. Unfortunately, many old buildings and streets were destroyed.

By the end of the 1980s, the city's population already reached 8.1 million people. Overcrowding occured even in the new borders. As a result, the city went beyond the boundaries of the Moscow Ring Road. In 1985, Mitino joined the Tushino district of Moscow. In 1986, Novokosino joins the Perovsky district. In the same years, Moscow includes Northern, Eastern, Zhulebino, Butovo and other districts.

The newest history already strongly dictates the further expansion of Moscow. In 2013 the recent expansion happened with inclusion of new territories far beyond the MKAD.

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