Blessed Land of Arkadag
A young graduate architect Arslan Annamuhammedov works as the chief specialist of the coordinating department of industrial construction and communications of the hyakimlik of the city of Arkadag. Now his job is to control the preparation of tender documentation – this is a set of documents containing an invitation to bidding, information on the facility, subject and conditions of the bidding, instructions to its participants and proposals on the terms for transferring the order to the winner for the performance of work specified in the subject of the bidding.
However, as an acting architect, he has already showed himself in the urban planning of the new city – the Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in the city of Arkadag is an embodied project of five architects, one of whom was him. The head of this project is the head of the architectural department of the Ministry of Construction and Architecture of Turkmenistan Tirkesh Tajiyev.
Arslan Annamuhammedov told about a “smart” city, the construction of the second stage and the importance of “smart city” concept for the country in an interview with our newspaper.
Mission of the “smart” city
“Today, the city of national importance, thanks to digitalisation, is included in a single coordinate system. Remote control software has been introduced here for a comfortable life and professional activities of citizens at all levels – from living in a ‘smart’ flat to automated control of the entire infrastructure of life in the city of Arkadag.”
“I would like to note that the Conception of the Digital Economy Development in Turkmenistan until 2025 is one of the most effective tools for the digitalisation of cities and villages of the Turkmen state, since artificial intelligence is the norm of life for a modern person. After all, the use of digital technologies and other innovations has already rebuilt many spheres of public life, including production – this is how widely the digital transformation has spread in society. The profound effect of this change is reflected in the concept of the fourth industrial revolution, which is already changing the way economies and societies are organised and function.
“This is supported by technological innovations such as big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, autonomous vehicles and others. “Smart City” is a conception based mainly on the widespread use of information and communication technologies, the goals of which are to plan, implement and promote sustainable development to address the growing challenges of urbanisation. The mission of smart cities has a great impact on the development of the global economy. First of all, by creating a comfortable urban environment that provides all the conditions for the economic development of the city, the realisation of the creative potential of each resident and the improvement of the quality of life.”
Vectors of social policy
“The development of territories united by the term ‘smart city’ is taking place all over the world today. Such cities involve the use of information and communication technologies in the management of urban space. These innovations improve the lives of citizens by improving management efficiency and increasing resource savings.”
“In creative urban planning work, the main principle is a comfortable urban environment. The city of Arkadag is prosperous, comfortable and innovative with high-quality and affordable housing and urban services. It was officially laid down in April 2019, and already on June 29 of this year, the first stage of the ‘smart’ city was put into operation. On the basis of a modern digital system, conditions have been created for the work of medical, banking and trade institutions, regulation of bus traffic is being implemented and taxi services are being provided.
“This is a single space, the most comfortable and safe for residents, thanks to digitalisation and the integration into a single system of all the main vital systems of the urban economy. But in order to live the city needs workers – specialists of various categories and professions. Schools and kindergartens, medical institutions and utilities – can you imagine the scale and volume of new jobs?!”
“The city is certified by various international organisations, and there are many colourful awards presented to it. But what does the weighty certificate ‘Development of sustainable, green, climate-friendly cities with innovative solutions in the region of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’ from such an authoritative organisation as the OSCE mean?”
“There is nothing surprising in the fact that the world community sees real steps taken by our country in respect for the environment. These include speeches by the country’s leadership at high-level international conferences on environment protection. For example, on July 4 this year, at the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, our esteemed President Serdar Berdimuhamedov in his speech outlined five important areas of cooperation with the international organisation, among which was the coordination of joint work in the fields of climate change, environment protection and ecology. In this context, the head of state invites all interested parties to consider the possibility of participating in the implementation of Turkmenistan’s initiative to establish a Regional Centre for Technologies related to climate change.
“It is important to note that the speeches of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov at international venues are interconnected with the implementation of social policy in the field of nature protection. The Laws ‘On Nature Protection’, ‘On Ecological Expertise’, ‘On the Protection of the Ozone Layer’ and ‘On the Vegetable Kingdom’ and a number of other equally important legislative documents have been adopted and are in force in the country. In the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, issues related to cities are noted in point 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’. Therefore, Arkadag City, as a real object of the Sustainable Development Goals, corresponds to the OSCE certificate.”
“Prophylaxis” of ecology
“An environmentally friendly city is not only a suburban area… What parameters determine the ecological wellbeing of the city?”
“The environmental aspect is central for the development of cities today. The ecological principle is based on a careful attitude to natural resources and on a focus on the long term. Environment protection is one of the main priorities of the social policy of Turkmenistan. Work in the field of nature protection and the conservation of biological diversity and natural resources is a holistic scheme for connecting communication and information technologies with the Internet of things, which helps facilitate the management of urban processes and improve the conception of life for townspeople. And the ecology of a ‘smart’ city is, first of all, improving the environmental situation through the use of digital technologies and improving the quality and reliability of assessments of the state of the environment. Traditional transport components (such as diesel fuel and internal combustion engines) are giving way to more advanced forms of transportation – electric cars and buses, which will form the basis for a humane urban environment in the near future.
“Therefore, in the city of Arkadag, traffic on the roads belongs to electric transport – taxis and city buses operate on electric traction. And, finally, a planting campaign in the city of state importance as part of the National Afforestation Programme of Turkmenistan for the period 2021–2025. So, coniferous, juniper and fruit trees and more than 500 young grape vines will be planted along the perimeter of the construction of the second stage of the city. In the rainy season, water in one hour of work of modern technologies, provided by the countries of America, Europe and Asia, will become clean and suitable for irrigating green spaces.”
“What kind of objects of the second stage of the ‘smart’ city will be built?”
“The entire architecture of the city will be built using innovative and environmentally friendly building materials. On an area of more than 272 hectares, a residential complex of five-, seven- and nine-storey houses will be built. Other social infrastructure facilities, such as schools, kindergartens, a health centre, a city amusement park and others will also be constructed. An area of 130 hectares has been allocated for the industrial zone of the city, where enterprises of the medical and food industries will be erected.”
Professionals of the new era
“The idea to involve students of specialised higher educational establishments in the design of construction objects belongs to the National Leader of the Turkmen people Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. In what objects is this idea embodied?”
“Support for young architects and students of the Turkmen State Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering and the State Academy of Arts of Turkmenistan and the involvement of young professionals in real professional work are a natural process of implementing the social policy within the framework of the Law of Turkmenistan ‘On State Youth Policy’. And this is a real provision of active participation of young people in the economic, political and cultural life of our country. And there were many various projects for small architectural forms (under the terms of the competition), high competition, a great number of ideas, from which the most suitable and more interesting projects were chosen. Landscape architecture structures to create a comfortable rest for citizens include outdoor lighting fixtures, park facilities, city street furniture, trash cans, children’s play complexes and others.
“Young people are the future of our country. And the careful preservation of traditions, culture and art, left by our ancestors, is in their hands. It is the representatives of the younger generation who are the successors of this invaluable asset and the successors of good deeds aimed at the further prosperity of the country.”