Melting Permafrost Challenges for Architecture and Urban Planning

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.4 Sustainable development of the Arctic - boreal regions
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Ivan Kuryachiy (Project North, Russian Federation), Sergei Kulikov (Project North, Russian Federation), Anton Kalgaev (Project North, Russian Federation), Yaroslav Kovalchuk (Moscow Architecture School, Russian Federation)
Abstract text

Almost 70% of Russian territories are covered with permafrost. That soil was supposed to be frozen forever, so it was used as a solid foundation for multistorey buildings in Russian North. But due to evolving climate change permafrost started to melt. Overlapped with outdated engineering solutions and maintenance problems it results in crumbling buildings and urban infrastructure. More than 1 million citizens live in those melting permafrost areas in Russian North. In Yakutsk - world's largest city in permafrost with 307 thousand citizens - almost half of the housing stock is threaten by loss of bearing capacity of building foundations. And in worldwide scale it is estimated that thawing permafrost will cost 43 trillion USD in lost agriculture, ecosystems and health impacts by the end of that century.


To deal with those challenges sustainable strategies should be implemented in environment protection, architecture, engineering and planning of urbanised territories located in permafrost areas of North. The challenge is so critical and complicated that only international collaboration can bring proper solutions. Proposed UArctic Congress session will gather key experts in sustainable development in Arctic areas - both Russian and international ones. Discussion will be focused on solutions than can help renovate existing buildings and urban infrastructure, create new sustainable urban development and keep permafrost ecosystem intact. 


Russian think-tank Project North will host the session and present research results on architecture and urban planning challenges in permafrost areas in Russian North. Project North will also be responsible for invitation of related experts to the session.

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