The role of urbanization in the sustainable development of the Arctic region

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.4 Sustainable development of the Arctic - boreal regions
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Yaroslavna Ageeva (Saint Petersburg State University, Russian Federation)
Abstract text

This research focuses on the urban development’s role in the sustainability of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF). In the Soviet era, the need to explore and develop the region’s natural resources, land and maritime transport routes as well as to host a formidable military infrastructure were the main drivers for the urban development in the Russian Arctic. Such policies left post-Soviet Russia with heavily militarized and polluted urban infrastructure as well as with single-industry/mono-towns. Russia has to formulate new urban development strategies that should aim at both solving the existing socioeconomic, environmental and cultural problems and providing resilience and sustainability for the AZRF urban communities.This study discusses whether large-scale AZRF projects, such as revival of the Northern Sea Route, further development of extractive industries, telecommunications, modernization of urban infrastructures, scientific research projects and concomitant facilities, etc. provide new drivers for urban development in Russia’s Arctic or create new problems and imbalances? Given the remote location, Arctic cities provide better conditions in terms of self-sufficiency, accessibility and resource efficiency, but also have to cope with new challenges, such as global climate change, environment degradation, the need to restructure the local industries, introduce environment-friendly technologies, develop alternative sources of energy and deal with the massive migration out and to the region, etc.In terms of methodology, this research is based on the Environmental Assessment approach and Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis. The case study method to examine specific AZRF cities’ sustainable development strategies will be used as well.

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