#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Norilsk, Arhangelsk and Murmansk were among the three Arctic capitals of the country – the key multifunctional centers of the macroregion. The typology of settlements in the Russian Arctic, in which more than 500 people live, was first compiled by scientists from Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics and the Information and Analytical Center of the State Commission for the Development of the Arctic.
Scientists have divided over 230 cities and towns into eight categories. The authors of the study believe that even small Arctic cities and towns are important because they provide various services for the surrounding area.
And in general, the Arctic needs special approaches to organizing spaces from the point of view of the economy and the social sphere.
Arhangelsk, Murmansk and Norilsk became the capitals. Among the sub-centers of the north-west of Russia, scientists named Apatity, Severodvinsk and Vorkuta – settlements with a high level of transport accessibility, the presence of universities and cultural institutions.
The sub-periphery includes quite developed cities that stay in the shadow of larger centers, but provide a fairly large territory with goods and services. These are monocities like Novodvinsk, Monchegorsk and Severomorsk.
The scientists divided the periphery into privileged and ‘deprived’. They differ in the presence of sociocultural objects.
Suburban and workers’ settlements constituted the’deprived’ part of the periphery with high risks of degradation. These settlements are easy to reach, but there is almost no infrastructure.
The next category is isolated settlements associated with deposits. They live well while mining is in progress.
Stand-alone isolates are former settlements or resource project centers. like Amderma in the Nenets autonomous district. Many of them are in dire socio-economic situations.
The settlements with a history and a favorable geographical position, connecting a large territory, were attributed by scientists to remote subregional centers. An example is the city of Mezen in the Arhangelsk region.
Recently, there have been heated debates about whether the Arctic needs cities at all, and there is an opinion that it is better to switch to a rotational development method altogether.
“In my opinion, such disputes regarding already existing cities are incorrect. Efforts have been invested in them, potential has been accumulated, people who are adapted to the difficult conditions of the North live there. This human potential cannot be lost, since it will be very difficult to replenish it.
Another question is whether the Arctic needs new cities and which ones? They have not been built at the deposits for a long time, although such projects have been discussed recently in Russia. All over the world, Arctic cities are multifunctional university centers not related to resource extraction. The emergence of such centers in the Russian Arctic would be logical. But if the economic sense of the city will consist only in servicing the field with a 20-30-year life, it is inexpedient to build it”, experts say.
Scientists note that scientific centers should become the basis for the development of the Arctic capitals – this is a global trend. The prospects for Arctic science are related to the development of technologies that will help make life in the North more comfortable and safer.
Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko, Irina Kostareva / faces-places.ru, Sergey Garmashov / mezen.ru, gov-murman.ru, visitnao.ru, maps.spravka-region.ru