Stop me if you've heard this before, but Russia is looking to create a worker's paradise from the ground up. Only, this one's going to be for scientists, and they're spending $4 billion on a brand new village stuffed with bike paths and solar panels to entice techies to move in.
The town of Skolkovo is just southwest of Moscow, and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has chosen it to be completely rebuilt as part of a modernization drive. The new Skolkovo will feature five different sub-villages (specializing in different fields of research) located along a lush, tree-lined boulevard designed for pedestrians and bicyclists. The town will run entirely on energy that it generates by itself, thanks to solar panels, windmills and geothermal wells.
It all sounds great, and the idea is that Skolkovo will entice "top scientists" to move there and be happy and productive. Still, there's really no getting around the fact that this is Russia, folks. It's next door to Moscow, and it's hot and humid during the summer and really freakin' cold during the winter. (So, it's New York City! -Ed)
The original Silicon Valley, as you know, is located right here in balmy California, where there are beaches and palm trees and the snow is rarely closer than Tahoe when you want to go skiing. I guess what I'm saying is, designing a brand new tech town full of pedestrian walkways and bike paths is all well and good, unless nobody wants to go outside, in which case they'd better find some other way of luring in the thin-skinned hipster techy crowd that put the original SV on the map.