Collaboration with northwestern Russia

For several years, The Norwegian State Housing Banks regional office in Hammerfest has been reaching out to several contacts at Northern Cape and arranged cooperative projects to the joy of many areas with similar climate challenges.

In later years, work has mostly been focused on Northwestern Russia, with emphasis placed on creating common areas to discuss and have influence on housing policy, social housing work, the environment, energy and universal design. The good relationship between neighbours has made professional networking and development of expertise possible.

The Housing Bank helps to arrange the annual housing and living standard conference in Murmansk called “Our home in the North” together with Finnmark County, the Barents Secretariat and Murmansk County. The conference brings together more than 100 participants from Russia, Sweden, and Norway.

In 2007, the conference’s theme was “A complete perspective on development of Northern cities,” which focused on housing and living standards for weaker groups in a vast expansion, and with its social challenges, including drug problems. The situation is also very difficult for mentally and physically disabled in Russia who are often placed in institutions with a varying degree of quality. The Housing Bank has taken up these questions in several international arenas. The conference’s individual workshops included:

    * Social challenges linked to housing for the needy
    * Energy conservation
    * Urban planning in light of industrial activities
    * Sister cities in Norway and Murmansk County.