Planning Sustainable Development Strategies of Russia’s Arctic Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

Athors

Nikolai Bobylev (Saint-Peterburg State University, Russia) 
Aleksander Sergunin (Saint-Peterburg State University, Russia)  

Abstract

Russian Arctic is a highly urbanized region, with most towns built in the Soviet era to facilitate extraction industries and provide provision and maintenance to military facilities. Global environmental and development changes, as well as national political decisions open up Russia’s Arctic to massive investment, industrial and socioeconomic development. How do Russian Arctic cities, towns, and municipalities reflect on new opportunities in terms of planning their development at a local level, in particular where the transfer of EU policy and technological innovation are concerned? Starting with theoretical discourse on planning in general and strategic urban planning in particular and European best practices, this research examines state-of-the-art, challenges, and trends in planning for sustainability in Russia’s Arctic industrial centers. The field component of research was based on cities of Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Norilsk, Salekhard, Severodvinsk and towns of Monchegorsk, Nickel and Vorkuta. The study concludes that in spite of significant challenges identified, the total “balance sheet” of the Arctic cities’ Sustainable Development strategies is quite positive: Russian northern cities try to adequately address existing problems via planning for sustainability approach.

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