Participants of Yakutsk Conference on Comfortable Urban Environment Note the Need for Integrated Development of Arctic Cities
On 23–25 May, Yakutsk is hosting the Arctic: Territory of Development Conference on Ensuring a Comfortable Urban Environment.23 May 2022
On 23–25 May, Yakutsk is hosting the Arctic: Territory of Development Conference on Ensuring a Comfortable Urban Environment. The conference is part of Russia's 2021–2023 Arctic Council chairmanship programme, which is operated by the Roscongress Foundation.
Improving the quality of life is one of the top priorities of the Russian government's Arctic policy. As Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Alexey Chekunkov said in his opening speech at the conference plenary session, the effectiveness of the policy directly depends, among other things, on efforts made by heads of regions, local communities, entrepreneurs, as well as creative and talented people.
"The development of territories and the creation of a quality urban environment can't be limited to spatial planning and landscaping. It is a set of measures employing a wide range of tools and directly or indirectly affecting different sectors and areas of life. And I am happy to see this approach reflected in the forum's business agenda," said Aleksey Chekunov in his opening speech.
"We believe that Arctic development is impossible without taking into account and balancing the interests of the region's residents and businesses. The well-being of people largely depends on the efficiency of the region's economic and business processes and its competitiveness on the global market," said Nikolay Korchunov, chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials of the Arctic Council and ambassador-at-large of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, in his address to the event participants. "Without a comfortable urban environment, we cannot count on the long-term sustainable development of the region and expect young people to stay in it. We need a smart urban environment and modern infrastructure solutions.''
During his speech, Far East Managing Director of JSC DOM.RF Aleksandr Levintal reminded everyone that at the 2021 Eastern Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to develop master plans for Far Eastern cities, and noted that such plans should also be prepared for Arctic cities to outline their development strategy and growth areas. In addition, it is expected that a programme for rental housing in the Far East will be presented at the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held on 5–8 September.
"We need to use all the mechanisms at our disposal. Unfortunately, bank loans are now largely useless in solving these issues, unlike DOM.RF's infrastructure bonds. Our interest rate has remained at 3.5–4.5% for 15–30 years. This mechanism is actively used by a number of territories. In addition, I would like to mention the developments in the rental housing segment. Here we already have tried and tested mechanisms such as corporate lease and a number of other tools. We are now working on a Far Eastern housing rental programme that would see the government and region pay a part of a person's rent", says Aleksandr Levintal.
Maksim Dankin, deputy director for regional development at the Information and Analytical Centre of the State Commission for Arctic Development, thinks that one of the key tasks for large Arctic cities is housing renovation.
"When we talk about business development in large cities like Norilsk, we can't just hire highly skilled professionals and put them in dilapidated housing. This makes renovating the city one of the key tasks. In addition to housing, we should also tackle the issues of education, social infrastructure development and the environment," said Maksim Dankin.
During the Arctic: Territory of Development Conference on Ensuring a Comfortable Urban Environment, leading experts will discuss strategic planning and service economy for sustainable development of the Arctic, the role of high-quality and saturated urban environment in enhancing the resilience of Arctic cities, creative economy, urban master plans, as well as new tools and the role of social and cultural projects in the development of urban environment. The conference participants will also discuss the implementation of the Arctic Hectare programme and the development of the tourism industry. The conference will be attended by representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation and major companies, as well as representatives of the regions of the Arctic zone of Russia and leading experts.