Genius loci and/or city-forming enterprise: scientific centre as assemblage point (case study of the city of Apatity) 

Kliueva V.P.  (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


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Based on the theory of resilience, the author analyses the role of science in the life-sustaining practices of northern cities on the example of the Kola Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KSC RAS) in Apatity (Murmansk Region). The resilience of the territory is considered as a successful adaptation to changing conditions manifested in a crisis situation. The stability of the sociocultural resilience subsystem is ensured by the presence of the scientific community in the city. According to the typology of Arctic cities, Apatity is classified as a non-capital intracontinental university centre; the criterion for inclusion in the category is the presence of the KSC RAS in the city. It is the only RAS structure located in the Arctic. In the Kola Peninsula, the scientific institution has existed since 1930; since 1961, the majority of scientific institutions has been located in the Apatity Akademgorodok (Science Campus). Narrative interviews with residents of Apatity and Kirovsk became the source base of the study. The analysis of the interviews was conducted by coding method. The sample included citizens employees of the scientific centre and those not related to it. Thirty interviews have been conducted. As a hypothesis, the thesis was put forward that, at the heart of the local community of Apatity, there have been and still remain scientists and people with an understanding of the activities of the KSC. Subsequently, this part of the population forms behavioural practices and sociocultural values for all residents of the city. The key research question was whether the presence of the KSC RAS was noticeable for different categories of citizens, and above all, for non-scientists. The citys community considers separately KSC as a scientific organization, and Akademgorodok as a central urban neighbourhood. On the mental map, there is the Akademgorodok, which plays the role of Ge-nius loci. The Kola Scientific Center is perceived as a city-forming enterprise, although it has not been anymore since the early 1990s. The Kola Scientific Center is seen by the Apatity citizens as a place of attraction and a point of assembly of the urban community, without which it can lose the core factor of its sociocultural identity and merge with the neighbouring industrial Kirovsk.

Key words: Kola Scientific Center, Akademgorodok, Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, resilience.


Funding. The study was financially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project 18-05-60088 Urban Arctic resilience in the context of climate change and socioeconomic transformations), and State Project . -17-117050400150-2.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 07.09.2020

Article is published: 27.11.2020


Kliueva V.P.

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS,  Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation