On Friday I visited the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, the second-largest community of Svalbard. The easiest way to get there in summer is by boat, as there are no roads between it and Longyearbyen. Barentsburg is said to be home to some 500 people, but apparently noone has ever seen more than a few dozen. At first it may seem almost abandoned, but you can quickly notice signs of community life reflected in the way space is arranged. Tables, chairs, benches and grills create both formal and informal outdoor gathering spots, suggesting a lively self-organised community. To meet its energy needs Barentsburg relies on coal, like Longyearbyen, and there is a growing tourist sector and some research. I’ve been told this is the place on Svalbard that will change in the most in the coming years.