Emerging cities in pioneer mining fronts: the examples of Guyana Plateau and Yakutia (Siberia)

Abstract : By 2030, the sustainable development objectives renewed and recommended by the United Nations include the processes and dynamics of emerging cities and urban growth. Over the last thirty years, the fluctuations and evolutions in “urban production”, particularly in the developing territories and regions, are also characterised by the "shrinking" processes because of the economic decline and high emigration. Artic and Sub-Arctic or Guyana mines and pioneering cities in Siberia or in Sweden or in Venezuela for example, are particularly dependant on the economic “fluctuations”. The economic development is an engine of urban development (Aydalot, Polese). The aim of this communication is to contribute to the analysis of the concept of emerging cities and urban growth, and the territorial dynamics in the fronts of mining and energy-industrial pioneer cities and to propose a conceptual factors of urban change. Former mining sites are the starting point for the specific urban dynamics. In many cases they constituted spaces of urban manufacturing laboratories since antiquity. In the long term, some of the former mining sites have spawned the beginnings of industrial activities since the First Industrial Revolution. This is what P. Bairoch (1985) analyses in particular to explain the beginnings of the industrial city. Today, it seems that these cities and their urbanization processes are the most incompatible with the policies of sustainable development. In many cases, there is a huge discrepancy between the decisions at the governmental level and the reality of ecological disasters and socio-environmental impacts (Kadnikov et al., 2016; Bank et al., 2015). Often the socio-economic conditions are on the edge of respect for human rights, for example, the "desakotas" (McGee) resulting from changes of agricultural territories. Therefore, it is very important to understand better identifying factors and characteristics of the new urban forms (growing, abandoned, with the depletion of the natural resources, etc.), that is a key-issue for the implementation of sustainable urbanism, planning and development in the mines and pioneer cities. Urban mines and pioneer cities development processes are juxtaposed with social, economic dynamics linked to the continuing territorial integration, and globalization (and its vagaries). Due to the very high dependence of mining and energy activities on world commodity prices, uncontrolled urban growth is exacerbated by the influx of migrant population, attracted by a new "El Dorado" in Venezuela and the Far East (Oriental Siberia), and conversely de-urbanization processes are related with the cessation of mines activities. Many actors interfere in these territories and conflicts can be very high between those who defend the promotion of sustainable development and those who manage mining and energy operations. Very few mining cities, as for example Mirnyj in Yakutia, are considering long-term urban planning.
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Contributor : Sébastien Gadal <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - 3:36:51 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 12:34:07 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01858545, version 1

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Anne Péné-Annette, Jūratė Kamičaitytė-Virbašienė, Sébastien Gadal. Emerging cities in pioneer mining fronts: the examples of Guyana Plateau and Yakutia (Siberia) . 2018 IGU Urban Commission Annual Meeting Urban Challenges in a complex World - Key factors for urban growth and decline, Aug 2018, Montreal, Canada. ⟨hal-01858545⟩

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