Nowadays, there's competition between cities over attracting citizens with high demand for quality of life: qualified specialists, business people, academics. This creates the basis for economic growth in cities. If we create a large amount of cheap housing, we are surely not solving this task, and we are not forming a quality urban environment.
Equally important is where exactly we are building today. Compactability is good for urban development, because it provides high concentration of resources per square meter (the quality of improvements, saturation of service industries, short links between infrastructure facilities). Take Moscow for example – it continues surrounding itself with new transport rings and because of commuting the city is strangling itself. At what price can Moscow solve these problems? Creating separate remote districts drains public city resources for their development, which is always more expensive than developing a plot in the city center. But quite often plots in the city center are problematic from the viewpoint of property rights, they are 'loaded' with the necessity to redevelop industrial zones. The question is how to find balance. For a developer, it is easier to develop a remote area, but it is more expensive and more difficult for the city. What should be prioritized: increasing the quality of life in the city or the opportunity to develop new areas?
Urban development is not a blessing in itself. It is clear even by the terms. 'Development' means 'evolution', but in Russian the main meaning is 'building up'.
Yekaterinburg, within its existing boundaries, has great potential for internal development.