BRICS Business Magazine English Edition No.5(9)
When abroad, we are used to answering the question, “Where are you from?” More often than not, we mention only the country, because any additional details are superfluous. Yet with many cities, it is not necessary to mention the country. Their name alone will elicit a clear and complete picture. Compare France and Paris, Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, or China and Shanghai. We live not in countries, but in cities; this informs our perception of reality. At the end of the day, it determines how we see countries.
The words ‘politics’ and ‘polis’ share a common root. Thus, it follows that ignoring the city is dangerous. It is from here that all interactions are born, interests are formed, and added value is created. Cities define how cohesive our space is, how comfortable it is, and, ultimately, how much of it is even ours. Therefore, city policy is one of the most important components of broader policy; it has a significant influence on both domestic and international affairs. In fact, cities became an important topic in international relations long ago.
People should acknowledge this fact and begin behaving accordingly, especially in those places where realpolitik lags behind reality. Le Corbusier called the house ‘a machine for living.’ I would say the same about cities. In an era of total mobility, the convenience and productivity of these machines defines the destiny of states. And although errors are always possible everywhere, developing countries do not have the moral right to work with their cities in a way that is worse than that of the developed world.
Although capitalism as we have known it for the last half-century seems to be on its way out, prospects for the capitalist system are not as bleak as some may argue. Despite its shortcomings, capitalism is likely to evolve into a new form – one which responds to humanity’s innate drive to amass wealth.Opinion
The Urbanica Institute of Spatial Planning has regularly prepared an integral rating of the 100 largest Russian cities since 2011. The authors call it ‘a goal-setting tool,’ which is available to anyone who is interested in assessing the attractiveness of a certain city. For researchers and authorities, the conclusions about what motivates Russian people is also quite useful.Urbanism
Spatial development and urban planning define how competitive countries and regions can be, but they remain obscure on a practical dimension. As a result, there is still much to be accomplished in Russia. Mikhail Grudinin, Director General at the Russian Institute of Urban Development and Investment, has been trying to explain this to everyone from mayors to ministers.Urbanism
Vladimir Pirozhkov is the most renowned Russian industrial designer in the world. His CV boasts 20 years of work in Europe and Japan, as well as interior designs for famous car manufacturers like Citroën and Toyota. After returning home, he set up Astra Rossa, a company that will soon evolve into a new project called Kinetics, which will encompass the aquatic, aerospace, biotechnology, and information industries, among others. However, his main objective for the next 20 years is not to develop his business but to establish a school of ‘technological special forces’ and a prototype-building center that can tackle any task.Technology
New medical advances and state-of-the-art technologies have made it possible for our children to live 100 years or more. But they will not be able to reach such an advanced age if the world does not have enough food to feed them – a possibility that is looking increasingly likely. Timely steps must be taken to put our food security on more sustainable footing using the resources we already have at our disposal.Resources
The world’s rapidly growing population cannot be fed by ramping up the industrialization of the food industry. Instead, we need to unleash the power and potential of small-scale family farmers, who have the capacity to feed themselves and our entire planet in a healthy and sustainable way.Resources
Would you like to start a business partnership with China, but feel overwhelmed by doubts and questions? Gleb Romanov has all the answers. He and his partners have managed to build a successful company specializing in importing Chinese equipment and setting up the manufacture of Russian brands in China, a country which has become his second home.Cross-cultural communication
The nearly 40% drop in oil prices in just the last six months has led to radical changes in international markets. Large energy importers like India, China, and South Africa now stand a chance of making a great leap forward. But hydrocarbons producers like Russia and Brazil are rapidly losing hard-won positions in the international economy.Business
There are many reasons why the BRICS countries should join forces to share ideas, knowledge, and investment, but one stands out the most. If each country paid only one-fifth of the bill, they could all enjoy 100% of the rewards. This is the kind of ‘one size fits all’ approach that applies both to urban development and far beyond.