The XI International Forum

Arctic: today and the future

December 2-4, 2021, St.Petersburg



Russian geographers have classified eight types of Arctic cities


Russian geographers have classified eight types of Arctic cities

Specialists have classified Arctic settlements with a population of more than 500 people. In addition, they have analyzed the peculiarities of the location of towns and settlements regarding mining sites. The new method was developed by specialists from the Geography Department of Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics and the Information and Analytical Center of the State Commission for Arctic Development. It allows to assess the prospects for socio-economic development, as well as the potential of the mining industry and related services nearby each settlement. 

Various indicators were taken into account in determining the types of Arctic settlements. They included administrative status, number of inhabitants, transport provision, availability of entertainment infrastructure and institutions of higher education, discomfort index, and development of the extractive industry.

As a result, the scientists have identified eight types of settlements:

  • Arctic capitals (Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Norilsk);
  • Arctic sub-centers (Anadyr, Apatity, Vorkuta, Nadym, Salekhard and others);
  • Subperiphery settlements (Belomorsk, Dudinka, Kandalaksha, Kovdor, Monchegorsk, Naryan-Mar, Urengoy, etc.);
  • Settlements of the privileged periphery (Vidyaevo, Kirovsk, Nikel, Onega, Pechenga, Severomorsk, etc.);
  • Settlements of the deprived periphery (Ambarny, Bor, Vaskovo, Zarechensk, Louhi, Purovsk, Turdeyesk, etc.);
  • Remote sub-regional centers (Batagai, Belaya Gora, Bilibino, Lovozero, Olenek, Pevek, Tiksi, Chersky, etc.);
  • Isolated settlements in the areas of resource projects (Beloyarsk, Gyda, Eletsky, Igarka, Nakhodka, Tazovsky, Khatanga, etc.);
  • Autonomous isolated settlements (Verkhoyansk, Dikson, Kamenka, Markovo, Kharyyalakh, etc.).

- The issue of a city's connection with the nearby infrastructure acquires special forms in the Arctic. The problem of connection of an Arctic city with its surroundings is transformed into the problem of the city's ability to play the role of a base for the development of the adjacent territory. Last year, we have developed a typology of the world's Arctic cities, distinguished by a single criterion of population size (more than five thousand people). This allowed us to make proper international comparisons. The current study is more detailed. It is a pioneering attempt to typologize all the settlements with a population over 500 people, - said one of the authors of the study, associate professor of the Geography Department of Moscow State University Nadezhda Zamyatina.

The Russian Arctic is extremely diversified, so it is difficult to describe many unique situations with a single typology and set of parameters. Nevertheless, the selected indicators on the character of connection with the surrounding territory have shown their effectiveness. The resulting typology can be used as a starting point for the development of territorially differentiated state policy in the sphere of socio-economic development of Arctic settlements, the authors note.

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