Boreas: MOVE

A Comparative Study of Development and Settlement in the Circumpolar North

Funded by National Science Foundation, Arctic Social Sciences
PI Timothy Heleniak
University of Maryland, USA

Book Chapters

“Changing Settlement Patterns across the Russian North at the Turn of the Millennium”, Russia’s Northern Regions on the Edge: Communities, industries and populations from Murmansk to Magadan edited by Markku Tykkylainen and Vesa Rautio, University of Finland (In press).

“Migration and Population Change in the Russian Far North during the 1990s”, Migration in the Circumpolar North: New Concepts and Patterns, edited by Chris Southcott and Lee Huskey, Northern Studies Press, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada (In press)

Invited Presentations

“Changing Settlement Patterns across the Russian North at the Turn of the Millennium”, presented at “Encountering the Russian North” Conference organized by the Russia in Flux Research Programme of the Academy of Finland, 12 - 13 December 2007, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland.

“Migration and Restructuring in the Russian Far North”, Centre for Russian Studies Annual Conference “Russia and the North”, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), 28 – 29 November 2007, Oslo, Norway.

“Migration and Population Change in Siberia and the Russian Far North during the 1990sā€, paper presented at the conference “Migration in the Circumpolar North: Lessons Learned, Questions Remaining”, 10-12 June 2007, University of Roskilde, Denmark.

“Migration To and From Siberia, 1897 to 2002”, Keynote speech presented at the conference “The Ethno history and Archaeology of Northern Eurasia: Theory, Methods and Practice”, 19-25 May 2007, Irkutsk, Siberia.

Conference Presentations

“Migration in the Russian Far North during the 1990s”, presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, California, April 18, 2007.

Using the tools of economic geography and population geography, the aim of this project will be to document and analyze changes in the spatial distribution of economic activity and settlements patterns across the circumpolar North. The project aims to be comparative, spatial, and temporal. A major component of this will be to examine the events of the past decade and a half in the Russian North against the situation in other northern regions. The breakup of the Soviet Union, transition of the Russian economy, and liberalization of society has had profound consequences for the Russian North as well as on relations among northern regions. A question is whether the Russian North is beginning to resemble other northern regions elsewhere or whether the past patterns of development and settlement will remain.

A major component upon which the analysis will be based will be a geodatabase of economic activity and population distribution across the North. Other geodatabases or GIS (geographic information systems) have been compiled on the Arctic or the North that emphasize changes in physical characteristics of northern regions, many emphasizing the impact of climatic change on these regions. The proposed geodatabase would emphasize the economic and human aspects of the circumpolar North and changes in these attributes.

The comparative analysis that the project is taking of the diverse circumpolar migration and resettlements movements will have relevance and intellectual merit for the community of academic researchers interested in circumpolar issues. The combination of the broad comparative approach proposed in this project, along with comparative approaches being undertaken in the other projects at other geographic scales will contribute significantly to our theoretical understanding.

The models of economic and population change developed in this project will have broader impact and relevance for other academics and policy makers dealing with circumpolar issues. The geodatabase of economic and demographic characteristics across the circumpolar North will be of value to both groups as climate change and other factors impact on the North in the decades ahead. In order to enhance these broader impacts, outreach efforts will be undertaken to ensure wide distribution of the data collected and analysis undertaken in the project.