SHS Web Conf.
Volume 63, 2019Modernism, Modernisation and the Rural Landscape, Proceedings of the MODSCAPES_conference2018 & Baltic Landscape Forum
|Number of page(s)
|Mapping Modernist Rural Landscapes: Shifting Used and Patterns
|15 April 2019
Soviet era landscape change and the post-Soviet legacy in Latvia
Estonian University of Life Sciences, Chair of Landscape Architecture, Tartu, Estonia
2 University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography, Riga, Latvia
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The collectivisation of agriculture and the development and application of land improvement “melioration” programmes and technologies, as well as the construction of kolkhoz centres during the Soviet era in Latvia was extensive and has a legacy on the post-Soviet landscape and agricultural economy. A study of a number of rural municipalities in different landscape types, through the comparison of maps from the early 20th century with those from around 2000, and one example with maps from the 1960s and 1990s, together with field work, revealed the degree of change that had taken place. In particular, there was a significant increase in forest – despite the kolkhoz system being targeted at increasing agricultural outputs, a reduction in the number of farmsteads – in some places this was a result of land battles in the Second World war – and a concentration of residences in villages and widespread drainage of marshes, wetlands and wetter forest. Village centres with concentrations of blocks of flats, storage sheds and industrial units were developed. After 1991 and the restitution of land to the original owners or their descendants, large numbers of kolkhoz agricultural buildings, old estate buildings and some residential blocks became redundant and abandoned. Some of the farmland was also abandoned. The sampled areas show different amounts of landscape change and all showed large numbers of ruined buildings scattered around the area. The question of what to do with these, many of which are robbed of anything useful, vandalised and possibly causing pollution remains open, even after 25 or more years.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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