Visaginas is a small town in the north-east Lithuania close to the intersection of Latvian and Belorussian borders. Built as satellite town to once planed most powerful nuclear power plant in the world Visaginas is an artificial urban island in the woody region. From the very beginning it has become the home for multicultural community (in accordance to research made in 2001 people of 43 different nationalities was living here) that works in power plant and its maintaining businesses. Due to engagement between Lithuania and EU NPP must be closed up to the year 2010 while leaving town‘s inhabitants without work.
The complexity of the site is emblematic to soviet new industrial towns that have lost their primary significance due to the collapse of their former industries and complex transition to the current nature of the western economy. This type of towns is hardly comparable to the naturally evolved cities due to their artificiality, rigid urban structure and almost sheer functionality which usually is represented in quite homogenous spatial solutions which are foreign for its inhabitants. In Visaginas‘ case the things are even more complex – town has never been fully completed. Current town‘s urban condition represents only vague hints of its further top-down master plan. Furthermore, the town is embedded in quite inappropriate location and lacks proximity to other nodal areas in the state and that minimizes the exchange possibilities. Monofunctional industry of the town and its close collapse does not sustain Visaginas’ self-efficiency and requires huge scale economical and spatial interventions as well as sophisticated government decisions. Along with politico-economic problems some social conundrums arise. After the closure of towns primary workplaces‘provider, that requires well-educated workforce major part of town‘s population is foreseen to leave the state due to the lack of its integration in overall society and its vague cohesion to the place.
After having analyzed various aspects of the site my project seeks the way to strengthen links between the town and its population, to increase people’s binding to the place by solving multiple problems and providing new spatial, social and economical future scenario.
Status: School Project
Location: Visaginas, LT