chapter  6
1 Pages

Estimations of Urban–Rural Population Movements in Latvia

Soviet summer-cottage cultures, many families in Latvia have second homes. Garden

allotments in Riga were introduced at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As the

result of the Agrarian Reform in 1920-1937 garden colonies were created in both

urban and rural places, mostly in the Riga region; allotments were distributed not only

to persons with gardening skills, but also to railway personnel, members from creative pro-

fessions (university personnel, artists and writers) and state administrators (Loks, 1930,

p. 553). Due to the Soviet realities, summer-cottages and garden allotments were not

only used for leisure, but also as private space and food production site (Lovell, 2002;

Caldwell, 2004). In 1995, there were 32 thousand allotments inside the city (Riga City

Council, 2001); since then the number is decreasing. Although data and policies at a

national level are absent, local municipalities are informed regarding second homes,

summer-cottage villages or garden allotments, and are concerned on issues relating to

infrastructure and service provision to their seasonal population. The current economic

crisis showed that easily available household plots for food production both in urban

and rural areas defuse social tensions and “uncertainty in the economy” (Southworth,

2006, p. 469).