Economy & Politics: The consequences of the corona crisis for the Latvian economy and its employees

Image: The SWEDBANK tower at the left bank of the Daugava river in Rīga. Image created in December 2013. Click on the image to enlarge it.

In a virtual press conference on April 22, 2020, Kaspars Rozkalns, the head of the Latvian State Investment and Development Agency LIIA, made the statement that the corona crisis will reduce exports of the small European country by 20 to 30 percent compared to to last year. At the same conference, Latvian Minister of Economy Janis Vitenbergs predicted an overall economic recession of about 8 percent. Logically, the tourism sector and automotive suppliers are particularly affected by the global economic development.

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Neighborhoods of Rīga: Zolitūde

Image: The neighborhood of Zolitūde in Rīga. Multi-storey apartment buildings. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Zolitūde is a neighborhood of the Latvian capital Rīga, which is located several kilometers west of the left bank of the Daugava River, the so-called Pārdaugava. The neighborhood belongs to the suburb of Zemgale. In Zolitūde almost 20,000 people live in an area of less than 3 square kilometers. This district is mostly characterized by multi-storey apartment buildings from the 1980s shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Like all of these comparable neighborhoods in Rīga, Zolitūde was planned as a typical microrajon with schools, shops, bars and restaurants as well as administrative units. From a spatial and functional point of view, Zolitūde is generally a clearly identifiable neighborhood.

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Neighborhoods of Rīga: Skanste – The very modern heart of the capital of Latvia

Image: The Neighborhood of Skanste in Rīga. The modern multi-multi-storey apartment houses. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Skanste is a neighborhood in Rīga, it is located in the center of Riga, but administratively belongs to the Vidzeme suburb. It is the most modern part of the Latvian capital and is characterized by multi-storey apartment buildings. The landmark of this neighborhood are the Skanstes virsotnes – the needles of Skanste. Today there are around 12,000 people living in this area, but once it is completed there will be around 42,000. When the goals of the city planners come true, Skanste will become the economic heartbeat of Rīga and all of Latvia. The conditions are certainly not bad due to the proximity to the center and the available space.

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Neighborhoods of Rīga: Ziepniekkalns

Image: The neighborhood of Ziepnikkalns. Multi-storey residential house. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Ziepniekkalns is a neighborhood of the city of Riga in the Zemgale district. The neighborhood is located a few kilometers west of the left bank of the Daugava River, the so called Pārdaugavā. In large parts, Ziepnikkalns is a district that was planned and built in the 1970s and 1980s. Older parts goes back to the 18th century and it was called in German language Seifenberg. The center of Ziepniekkalns is the Ēbelmuiža Park, in the eastern part of which is the thickest oak in Pārdaugava. The modern Ziepnikkalns was built as a typical microrajon with multi-storey apartment houses, shops, schools and all things of daily use. But Ziepnikkalns also consists of detached houses.

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Economy & Politics: Rail Baltica – Detail design work for Rail Baltica in Latvia is now starting

Bild: Hauptbahnhof in Rīga. Der Bahnhof wird im Zuge des Baues der Rail Baltica komplett umgestaltet. Aufnahme vom Dezember 2013. Klicken Sie auf das Bild um es zu vergrößern.

RB Rail which is responsible for the project management of the new train network Rail Baltica has signed two contracts covering the detail design phase as well as the monitoring phase. The Rail Baltica is the largest infrastructure project of the three Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The high speed train network will connect Tallin (Estonia) and Warsaw (Poland) via Rīga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). The project delay has been around 3 years so far. One contract covers the route between Valka on the Latvian-Estonian border to Vangaži and the other from Misa to the Latvian-Lithuanian border south of Bauska.

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