Living in a cold environment is commonly associated with the physical and relative sensations of freezing temperature, snow, ice. Although the whole set of traits assigned to the ‘cold’ is perceived rather as a burden — for some places in the North ‘cold’ has provided opportunities to ‘enact’, experiment with and be related to it in new ways.

Based on the fieldwork material in Norway, Finland and Russia this paper analyses how northern communities have created a vision for a viable future by turning the cold into a valuable economic and symbolic resource. It focuses on the place-making process that builds on and reinforces the idea of cold environment as an asset that has been largely oriented on the tourism and investment market.

Tracing on different ideas of cold, the paper evaluates how manifestations of a cold environment shapes the strategies of self-representation and mediates changes in local society and environment.