“The Capital of Empty Spaces”

Dealing with the shrink of the Great Baltic City

Read the story of Riga, the capital of Latvia. It was the fourth city (after St. Petersburg, Moscow and Warsaw) in the twentieth century, when it was part of the Soviet empire. The agricultural city, built in the 13th century, transformed in an industrial area where many Soviets moved to in order to work. However, when Latvia regained its independence, many Latvians decided to leave the city full of Russians. An even bigger decrease in population occurred when Latvia entered the European Union in 2014.

Riga might now loose its status as the city of the Baltic States to Vilnius that managed to crawl back up again after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although Riga is still the biggest city of the three, and seems to be lively at times, it can also be characterised by its emptiness. Many spaces are unoccupied as a result of the outflow of the population. Will Mawhood wrote an article about this problem and named examples of organisation who try to improve the city, like Free Riga. Read the full article here.

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