The Skolkovo Foundation chairman, Arkady Dvorkovich, spoke at the Moscow Urban Forum as part of an international panel with expert representatives from Germany, Russia, the UK, Columbia, and the UAE. 

Mr. Dvorkovich focused on smart city solutions, a new area in urban development that has emerged with the advent of artificial intelligence and digital technologies. During the panel discussion titled “A Star is Born Cases of Successful Urban Transformation,” Mr. Dvorkovich envisioned smart city technologies being developed by implementing large-scale urban projects.

Smart city developments almost invariably involve innovative technological solutions covering a broad spectrum, whether it's transport, health, environment, home, etc. With growing urbanization and the prospect of more than half the global population living in cities by the middle of the century, there is a drive to create solutions that facilitate maintaining or increasing the standard of living in increasingly crowded urban areas. 

Skolkovo Innovation Center - a testing ground for urban solutions. Photo:

The question regarding innovative smart city technologies is what unmet needs are there in the urban environment? Furthermore, because some of these technologies are so new, there are certain restrictions on where developers can test them. Skolkovo has served as the ideal testing ground for such developments because of its unique legal status.

Arkady Dvorkovich: “Skolkovo is developing simultaneously as a town within a city on the one hand, and on the other hand as a town with a unique administration, a university complex, technoparks for hundreds and thousands of startups, a unique medical cluster in partnership with foreign clinics, and R&D centers belonging to large companies all coexisting simultaneously. However, Skolkovo is also a center for the development of solutions for the entire country –  smart city solutions, security, including biometrics. Skolkovo has become the first town for testing autonomous transport, 5G technologies, and will soon test 6G. Many regions are already implementing these developments, particularly medical technologies based on artificial intelligence.”

Skolkovo is currently implementing over 200 urban projects with an annual turnover of 110 million euros (10 billion rubles approx.):

  • Smart home and smart city platforms;
  • Construction materials and technologies;
  • Housing and public utility solutions and waste management;
  • Heating and water supply, ventilation and air purification;
  • BIM-modeling and design in construction;
  • Autonomous systems.

Skolkovo urban solutions include the following:

  • A universal smart city platform called Alphaopen solves coordination issues and controls different engineering, technical, and information systems within a single building, a complex of buildings, or even a region.
  • CityAir company develops systems to monitor city air quality online. Developers tested the system at Skolkovo Innovation Center, and then a chain of City Air stations was deployed throughout Moscow. Today, City Air monitoring stations are located in over one hundred cities worldwide, from the US to Europe and China.
  • Big3 has developed a unique digital platform that covers the waste management sector in cities and regions and meets the needs of its users. Today, regional waste management operators use it in 53 subjects throughout the Russian Federation.

According to Mr. Dvorkovich, the next step requires investment into human capital and education, thus creating opportunities for each individual to utilize Skolkovo developments.