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"Green economy" and spatial development of remote northern regions

Shevchuk, Igor
Zhirnel, Evgeny
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional development & globalisation: Best practices", 26-29 August 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia
Spatial development in remote areas is associated with a number of problems and hindrances, the main ones being the difficult demographic situation and poor infrastructure. By introducing "green" technologies one can begin to overcome infrastructural limitations, develop the economy and the settlement system through efficient utilization of local resources. This approach is implemented in practice within the international project "Green cities and settlements: sustainable spatial development in remote border areas" of the Karelia Cross-border Cooperation Programme of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. "Green" cities and settlements are a model of communities that strive to live so as to reduce pollution, efficiently use local resources, convert wastes to energy, and thus minimize their input to climate change. The key is not only to develop the territory in a sustainable way, but also to eliminate infrastructural limitations and find new opportunities for local economic development. Land resources in many municipalities are now used very inefficiently because of the poor condition or absence of utility and power networks. Local administrations with their deficient budgets cannot handle the problem on their own, whereas businesses are not willing to invest at such scope. By reducing the dependence on centralized infrastructure, first of all energy infrastructure, one can expect the spatial hindrances to the development of settlements to be eliminated. The project pilot areas are the border municipalities in the north of the Republic of Karelia. The project outputs are proposals on how to actualize the potential of the territory, promote spatial development and business development. These proposals are concerned with the development of energy-efficient technologies, enterprise development, utilization of local resources for building the "green economy". Implementation of these plans requires a fundamentally new approach to the infrastructural development of municipalities. We believe "green" technologies today are an effective, if not the only, way to develop the energy, housing and utilities infrastructure in remote areas. These technologies can help maintain the settlement system by making the living in remote communities more comfortable. Many of such communities have the potential to become eco-settlements and focus on sustainable tourism. One of the project outputs is the Concept of establishing the cross-border cluster of energy-efficient technologies. The partnership network that has brought together Russian and Finnish entrepreneurs, scientific organizations that design and implement energy-efficient technologies can turn into a new arrangement for the development of northern border areas and formation of the "green economy".
green economy
northern border regions
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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