Tracing Shadows and Shaping Futures

Exploring the Legacy and Future of Soviet-Era Housing in Riga

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Despite nearly three decades having passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet-era housing remains a significant component of major cities’ housing stocks. Often perceived as outdated and socially stigmatized, these housing estates surpass their intended lifespan, leading to difficulties in maintenance and renovation. In this study, the interplay of history, architecture, and well-being in the context of Soviet-Era housing in Riga is explored.

By examining the historical context and development of socialist housing in Baltic cities and assessing architectural principles from the socialist era, the impact of architectural design on inhabitants is evaluated. By analyzing existing research on construction methods, lifespan, and sustainability of Soviet-era housing, this study intends to assess the feasibility of various renovation strategies and their implications for future urban development. Additionally, the research will investigate the emotional resonance of Soviet-era architecture among residents

The study employs a combination of methodologies, including historical literature review, case studies of specific housing complexes, and analysis of emotional responses to architectural features, to inform decision-making regarding potential interventions for Soviet-era housing estates in Riga. The study hypothesizes that architectural characteristics significantly impact residents’ well-being, and strategic interventions such as revitalization or repurposing can enhance both physical and psychological aspects of these living spaces. Through comprehensive understanding and informed recommendations, this research aims to contribute to sustainable urban development and housing policy in Riga and beyond.