Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Housing in Moscow

While many older buildings and subway stations in Moscow are very attractive, the same cannot be said for much of the housing. The Soviet policy of providing homes for each citizen, combined with the rapid growth of the city led to the construction of enormous, plain housing blocks. Over the years, many of these buildings have been poorly maintained and are most unattractive.
After the fall of communism many citizens received ownership of their apartments which had formerly been owned by the state or their employer.  This allows many Muscovites to live rent free and pay only building maintenance and the utilities.
Apartments are small by our standards. A typical one-bedroom apartment is about thirty square meters (323 sq ft), a typical two-bedroom apartment is forty-five square meters (485 sq ft), and a typical three-bedroom apartment is seventy square meters (753 sq ft).

I was often disturbed by the amount of graffiti that covered both the outside of some buildings and interior common areas. However, the same buildings often had very elegant renovated apartments mixed in with dilapidated units, often side by side on the same floor. In reading about housing conditions in Moscow I came across one article that suggested many homeowners don't mind the graffiti and unsightly common areas since it deters thieves!

During my recent visit I had the opportunity to visit a number of new housing developments that were very different. While many of the larger buildings are... larger buildings, I did see a number of new higher end developments which were quite comparable in exterior appearance to new, high quality developments in Canada. In a number of instances I was fooled by the age of the buildings, since many new buildings have the character of older buildings.

Below are just some of the projects I came across in my travels


Anonymous said...

Hopefully the older ones at least provide affordable housing for rent on purchase? Something not really existent in Vancouver.

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