Date : 2017 – ongoing


Services provided:
– analysis of the physical and legal planning constraints,
– quality assessment of the existing facilities,
– analysis of transit routes,
– landscape and visual impact analysis,
– multistage social research,
– service and financial modelling.


Client: Metalloinvest MC LCC


In partnership with: SNOU project

The study “The Age of agglomerations” provides a fresh perspective on governance practices and strategic planning in global metropolitan areas (agglomerations).


The research covers such megacities as London, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Moscow and Buenos Aires. All of them face unique development challenges within complex social and political framework while they are comparable in terms of population.
We have also reviewed a number of cases on rapidly growing agglomerations (1.5 to 5 million residents): Milan, Lyon, Auckland, Copenhagen-Malmo, Montreal and Brisbane. Several metropolitan areas in Russia with advanced governance arrangements were introduced as a part of the study (Saint-Petersburg, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Makhachkala-Kaspiysk, Perm, Samara-Tolyatti, Vladivostok).


At the early stage, the agglomerations` boundaries were defined according to the OECD methodology using official statistical data on population density and daily commuting patterns. We were the first to apply the data provided by the mobile phone operators (for 1 x 1 km grid cells) for shaping up the agglomerations in Russia.


In the main part of the research, we have examined the connection between the spatial development and urban governance, innovative practices for inter-municipal cooperation and funding mechanisms for large infrastructure projects. Besides scrutinising existing strategic planning documents and open sources, we have conducted a large number of interviews with the representatives of local governments and experts which allowed us to get deeper insights into agglomerations` structures and verify our own conclusions.


Key findings, cartographic data and diagrams are presented on the online platform The platform allows examining various aspects of urban development in the agglomerations by visualising 10+ socio-economic indicators at the smallest available scale. It also features complex metropolitan governance mechanisms and interconnections delivered in a transparent and interactive format. Additionally, there is a tool that helps users compare the agglomerations by different parameters.