The Urban Environment and Technologies to Support Livelihoods in the Arctic
A comfortable living environment affects the attractiveness of investing in regions
“A comfortable environment is one of the key factors that affects standards of living and the population's ability to work. It affects whether the region can attract financing, in the long run, whether the region is attractive to invest in. This is particularly relevant for regions with harsh climate conditions, such as those in the Arctic,” Stepan Svetankov, Partner, Head of Business Finance Services, Investment and Capital Markets Division, KPMG in Russia and the CIS.
The northern territories must be developed in a comprehensive way
“The development of northern territories must be comprehensive. Especially since we’re talking right now about the North as a driver of economic development. A comprehensive approach is the only option if we want to talk about sustainable Arctic development. This depends in large part on decision-making: the speed at which decisions are made, whether they're backed up by reliable data, how targeted and relevant they are. Development based on leading modern approaches,” Kseniya Sukhotina, General Director, Rusatom Smart Utilities Ltd.
A deficit of competent contractors
“The problems facing Arctic regions are not just its harsh climate conditions and short daylight hours, it is also difficult to find competent contractors because of how remote the main industrially developed centres are and because they lack any knowledge of the particularities of working and living in Arctic conditions,” Oleg Zorya, Head, Urban Renovations All-Russian Project.
A short construction season
“Construction can only happen under certain environmental conditions, which is why it's highly seasonal. The period during which street objects and facilities, including children's playgrounds and recreational areas, can be utilized is short. The upkeep of these objects during the winter is difficult,” Yuriy Gurin, Head of Municipal Formation Dudinka City.
Creating methodologies and regional training centres for constructing comfortable urban environments
“Creating special methodologies for creating a comfortable environment in regions with a harsh climate, as well as regional training centres dedicated to the creation of sustainable environments. All of this absolutely must happen on location, because, on a federal level, such programmes are formed without taking climate features into consideration, professionals on location would be able to correct them accordingly,” Oleg Zorya, Head, Urban Renovations All-Russian Project.
“We must give authority to the regions and municipalities. In large settlements, regional centres, with a population of 2–4 thousand people, to prepare comprehensive solutions. Smaller settlements may require some individual solutions, taking local conditions into account. And on the level of federal subjects, to help municipalities develop their projects until they get to the point where they can hone details,” Irina Alekseeva, Head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning under the Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); Chief Architect of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Urban planning that takes the Arctic climate into account
“In order to make sure that public spaces don't turn in to transit areas for 6 to 7 months out of the year, we need to consider the readiness of any public spaces for the cold right from the planning phase. We can learn from the experiences of other places around the world and consider the possibility of building covered public spaces in the cities and settlements with the harshest winters,” Oleg Zorya, Head, Urban Renovations All-Russian Project.
“In those northern cities where it's applicable, we must put more energy into commercializing cultural heritage items. We must also consider the possibility of implementing individual projects devoted to northern cities, which could have a significant effect on life in those areas,” Viktor Ikonnikov, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region.
Involving urban development enterprises in the creation of a comfortable environment
“While working towards our industrial (increasing handled volume) and staffing (attracting and retaining specialists) goals, we realized that not only do we need to pay wages and taxes, we need to create a comfortable public environment. In northern cities, where the majority of enterprises are responsible for urban development, thoughtful urban design becomes far from an easy task. Which is why, no matter where you're looking from, when you look at the city, you see the enterprise, which in our case is the port,” Denis Ilatovskiy, Deputy General Director, Director for Logistics, SUEK.
Involving local residents in project implementation
“Involving all stakeholders in the conceptualization of how a city should develop. And not just local authorities, but residents as well, in order to understand whether they are ready to participate in the planned transformations. If we don't involve stakeholders, all of our plans and strategies will simply turn into documents which will be read and will inspire, but won't be implemented,” Svetlana Rubashkina, Director, Norilsk Development Agency.