Arctic cities

BODØ - A EUROPEAN CAPITAL FOR CULTURE 2024 

Bodø is the second-largest city in northern Norway, located at 67 ° 17'N. Bodø municipality has 51,681 inhabitants. It was founded in 1816 as a market town with just 55 inhabitants and continued to grow as a result of the herring boom. In 1940, during the Second World War, bombing destroyed over 60% of all buildings in Bodø and the city had to be rebuilt. Now it is a modern trade, service, administration, education and communication center.[178]

In 2014 the city adopted a new municipal plan. The objective was to develop a compact city and a strong city centre, making sure that growth occurs in the urban areas, facilitating high-quality housing projects, and green structures in the city centre and nearby districts.[179] The compact city model is motivated by a commitment to addressing environmental issues, reducing the number of cars and transportation needs, and to avoiding construction on undeveloped land. Furthermore, a compact structure increases walkability, and the use of public spaces for social interaction, urban gardening, etc. 

Several buildings in the city were demolished to make space for more compact structures, including high-rise buildings. Anticipating population growth over the next 50 years, a new area near the airport is going to be built as a compact and mixed neighbourhood hosting up to 15,000 dwellings. 

The city focuses on promoting the cultural aspect of city living. Constructed in 2014, the cultural centre Stormen houses a concert hall and a public library and brings vitality to the city center. Bodø was named a European Capital of Culture 2024, the first city in the Arctic to win the title. As part of the project, Bodø will increase the use of the Sami languages both locally and around Norway north of the Arctic Circle.[180] The project will help create jobs in new and existing industries. 

TERIBERKA 

The small village is situated in the Murmansk region (Kola Peninsula) on the Barents Sea coasts. Teriberka was first mentioned in 16th century and originally it was a Pomor[181] settlement. Nomadic nature and proximity to the sea define the way Teriberka exists. Through the years this marine-orientated settlement utilised the resources of the sea and developed international connections with other Northern countries. 

In the Soviet times, Teriberka became one of the important Polar administrative centres. The fishing industry and shipyards located in the town drove economic growth and infrastructure development. The prosperity phase was related to the early post-WWII period. In those days apart from the strong shipbuilding and fishing industries Teriberka developed agriculture: two fish farms, two dairy farms, a poultry farm, mink breeding farm, etc. In the 1950s the population grew to 5,000. It had all the necessary social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, an ambulance station, community center, etc.[182] Although there was a lack of hard infrastructure connecting the town with the rest of the country – reaching Teriberka was possible only by sea or air – it was a flourishing remote settlement with strong nomadic roots and traditions. The 1960s marked the start of a period of decline for Teriberka due to the development of fishing and port facilities in Murmansk and Sevemorsk. The village was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Severomorsk and was made a “closed city”.[183] Teriberka lost its economic backbone, the population began to shrink, and the village fell into disrepair. 

In 2009[184] the “closed city” status was lifted and Teriberka became accessible for visitors and tourists. The population has significantly declined since the Soviet collapse, and now there are only 596 people living there.[185] Teriberka remains a remote settlement which lacks infrastructure and basic ground transportation facilities. The development of the territory after the removal of the special status was related to the Shtockman gas-field exploration by Russia’s Gazprom in cooperation with Total and Statoil. The project also involved improvement of the infrastructure and could have shaped Teriberka’s urban and social development if the project had not been halted due to lack of feasibility.[186] Before the plans were changed, Gazprom helped build a new road in the village.[187] The population works mainly in the public sector in schools, libraries and the community centre.[188]

New opportunities for the economic development of Teriberka are usually associated with the creative industries and tourism. The iconic 2014 Russian drama “Leviathan”, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, received a number of top global movie awards, such as the Cannes Prix du scénario, Golden Globe, and Munich International Film Festival.[189] It opened this small village to the world. Since then the tourist flow to the Kola Peninsula, especially to Teriberka, has grown constantly. In 2015-2017 the number of Russian tourists visiting the Murmansk region increased to 300 thousand people, while the share of foreign tourists – mostly Chinese citizens – rose almost 1.5 times.[190] The 2020 winter was a record for Teriberka’s tourism as more than 2,000 people arrived here for the New Year holidays.[191] In the summer season Teriberka hosts a special music festival.[192] Since 2014 the festival has become a platform for promoting the unique culture, cuisine and music of the region attracting investors and expanding international ties. 

The development of tourism in Teriberka, though, remains very controversial. First, the settlement, as well as the whole Murmansk region, needs significant both hard and soft infrastructure improvements to handle the increasing flow of tourists and to provide relevant services. Moreover, such big events as the Teriberka Festival require sustainable organization skills and facilities in order to save the unique environment from the resulting waste and pollution. Second, sociological research shows that the local population is sceptical of the developing tourism industry,[193] as they are excluded from the profit chain. The hotels, restaurants and other facilities are created mostly by non-residents, and the local community does not receive any profit or jobs. Unemployment is a serious problem for Teriberka, and locals are often involved in semi-legal or illegal operations like picking berries and mushrooms, fishing and crab poaching.[194] Igor Zadorin, the head of the ZIRCON research group, stated: “The grey economy is highly developed in Teriberka, and it seems to create significant barriers to human capital development and the establishment of public trust. Many businessmen told us that it is almost impossible to reach an agreement with local partners.” According to the ZIRCON experts, it is essential to eliminate unofficial activities and achieve mutual trust, as it will enable an increase in the level of involvement of the local population in the transformation and development of the territory.

The local authorities in Murmansk are planning to boost tourism in Teriberka, hoping to reach 100,000 visitors by 2025. The aim is to create a national park, Teriberka, with designated routes in order to promote sustainable tourism. The Barents branch of WWF is involved in preparing the plan.[195]