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Comfortable urban environment in the Arctic opens doors for innovations — experts

Due to the geographic distances and a lack of available necessary devices, many people have to become inventors, one of the experts said

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Arctic zone will become a center for development of Russian investments, and comfortable urban environment in the Extreme North, including under the continuing federal program, will boost technology development there, experts said at a meeting of the PORA Project Office for the Arctic’s Development on Tuesday.

Territory for innovations

"The Russian Arctic is bound to use innovations. The extreme climate conditions and initiative people, who come to the North to work there, offer the environment for new technologies’ development," Deputy Director of the Institute of Regional Consulting, a representative of the Moscow University’s Geography Department Nadezhda Zamyatina said.

Due to the geographic distances and a lack of available necessary devices, many people have to become inventors, she continued.

"When we were working on the economy diversification strategy for the Khanty-Nansi Region, we saw the locals had to develop equipment for off-road driving. The region has many swamps, and the regular equipment is not sufficient there, thus many locals would make various improving devices by themselves. In case of an industrial approach, many of those inventions could be on sale, and they would be of equal demand in other northern countries," she said.

Comfortable environment

PORA’s expert Alexander Vodyanik says implementation of innovations in the North requires comfortable environment, where local people could develop cultural, educational and social networking.

"It is necessary to work on the notion of comfortable environment for the Arctic. Apparently, what is working in Russia’s central regions may not be applicable to the North (the Arctic regions - TASS). For example, parks and gardens in the Arctic zone are useless, as in winter it would be too cold there and in summer people suffer from clouds of midges. At first, we should structure what the comfortable environment for the Arctic is, and then implement it. We can name existing technologies - parks with wind protecting walls of ice and snow, snow towns for kids, heated pergolas protected from snowstorms," the expert said.

Head of the Yauza-Project urban development company Ilya Zalivukhin shares the opinion - in the Arctic’s construction developers should use methods and styles different from the typical Soviet or Russian approaches.

"Historically, we have been growing in width, without saving space. But in the Arctic we should be saving the infrastructures and areas. Thus, we should build and develop small, compact towns, where all territories would use effectively the housing infrastructures," he said.

Experts’ initiative

The PORA center (the acronym may be read in Russian as ‘high time’) plans to put on paper its suggestions on comfortable environment and have it presented to the Ministry of Construction, so that the concept becomes a part of the federal program on formation of comfortable urban environment.

"Canada has a strategy of a winter town, where winter is an advantage. They build parks with wind protection, snow and ice towns, ski and Alpine resorts, and at night they have festivals of winter fashion and light - this is fully applicable to the Russian North. We shall prepare the suggestions and in 2018 will present them to the Ministry of Construction," Vodyanik said.

The PORA Project Office for the Arctic’s Development is an expert center, involved in studies of social, economic and ecology aspects of life in Russia’s Extreme North.