March 16, 2022: Article “Infrastructural legacies and post-Soviet transformations in Northern Sakha (Yakutiya), Russia”

The town of Tiksi came into being in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union intensified its efforts to industrialize the Arctic. A critical element of that policy was to make the Northern Sea Route a viable Arctic shipping lane and Tiksi, located where the Lena River meets the Arctic Ocean, became an important transportation hub on that route. Post-Soviet transformations led to a rapid decline in population numbers and economic significance of the town, while climate change opened up new opportunities for shipping and mammoth tusk collecting. Today, the situation seems to have stabilized but the promises of a bright future pronounced in strategic papers by the government are yet to be realized. The article explores the socio-economic, infrastructural and environmental changes of recent decades in order to explore future development prospects for Tiksi. The infrastructural legacies of the Soviet past, combined with the environmental conditions of the region, result in the intertwined material dependencies of built and natural environments. Still, these material dependencies are neither straitjackets nor unchangeable. It is the interplay between global climate change, national policies, and local initiative that will challenge the material dependencies of the past and present.

Published in “Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning”, March 16, 2022

Full article as PDF

Olga Povoroznyuk has defended her PhD-Thesis

On September 19, 2022, Olga Povoroznyuk successfully defended her PhD dissertation “Soviet Infrastructure in the Post-Soviet Era? Building a Railroad and Identity along the Baikal–Amur Mainline in East Siberia”. Her cumulative dissertation introduces the notion of transformative infrastructure and focuses on the role of large-scale infrastructures as articulations of state modernization and identity building. The […]

June 14-15, 2022: InfraNorth Workshop “Arctic Infrastructures: Histories of Exploration, Colonization and Industrial Development”

The Arctic, which often has been recognized by residents of temperate climate zones for its supposed unspoiled nature, has a long history of colonization, urbanization and industrial exploitation. From the days of Arctic whaling to gold rushes and oil booms, the Arctic has a rich legacy of built environment serving as infrastructure mainly for non-arctic […]

June 6, 2022: The Online Survey of the ERC Project InfraNorth has been launched!

This survey focuses on the role of transport infrastructures in Arctic and sub-Arctic communities. It is anonymous, consists of seven (7) questions, and takes about 10 minutes to complete.The survey is available at https://sosci.univie.ac.at/InfraNorthQuestionnaire/All residents in Northern communities aged 18 years or more are invited to participate in the survey!