Aspiring to The Russian Dream

Bloomberg Business Week reports that the Russian government wants to move urban residents from their "cramped" high rise apartments to new suburban developments. Single family houses would be built in joint ventures with private developers. Present plans are to develop 2.5 million acres of suburban homes. This is a very large program. At Los Angeles densities, this amount of land would be sufficient to house about 28,000,000 people, roughly double the present population of the Moscow urban area.

As occurred before in the United States, expanding suburban home ownership could generate a democratization of prosperity that brings far better living conditions to middle income households. Already, more affluent households have built European and American style detached houses outside Moscow's 8-lane ring road (see photograph).

Photograph: New detached housing, northern Moscow suburbs (Veshki).