Journal 2018#4


Consistent Approach to Assess the Comfort of Living in the Northern and Arctic Areas

The numerous publications of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods are devoted to the consequences of the unfavourable impact of natural and climatic conditions on the health and life activity of both the indigenous and incoming population, especially in the areas of new industrial development. However, the issues of an integrated assessment of natural and climatic conditions in terms of their influence on the comfort of living remain insufficiently studied. The purpose of this study is to develop a consistent approach to assessing the degree of the comfort of living in the northern regions with the help of an integrated indicator, as well as to test this approach on the example of the territory of the Ural North. The study is based on the hypothesis that natural conditions are one of the main factors affecting the level of foreign population and increasing the cost of infrastructure facilities construction and ongoing production activities in the North. The article analyzes the state of methodological support for the assessment of natural conditions and the comfort of living, proposed by the representatives of various scientific fields by economists, sociologists, demographers, geographers, ecologists, physicians, etc. We have proposed the basic principles and factors for determining the comfort of living in terms of climatic, socio-economic, medico-demographic and ecological approaches. By means of the empirical analysis, we have justified the methodological approach to assessing the comfort of living in the northern territories on the example of the areas near to the Ural mountains. We have proposed a set of indicators, which allow to adequately reflect the degree of comfort of living, and a calculation formula for its scoring. In the natural climatic zoning of the territory, we took into account zonal and azonal factors. The results of the assessment of the comfort of natural conditions are necessary to address a number of issues. Firstly, these results are needed to define a degree of comfort of human settlements conditions. Secondly, the natural conditions assessment is important for identifying the features of immigrants adaptation. Thirdly, the results of this assessment will contribute to establish opportunities for the formation of resident population from incoming population. And last, the assessment of the comfort of natural conditions is necessary to study the environmental sustainability to man-made activities, etc.