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Tarmo Pikner

Tarmo Pikner holds doctoral degree in human geography from the University of Oulu. The thesis focused on cross-border urban networks in Baltic Sea area. Currently he works as research fellow at the Centre for Landscape and Culture at Tallinn University. His research topics include urban cultures, sociality of infrastructures, and affects of late modernity. Pikner has published in several peer-reviewed journals and edited books. He also holds lectures at the MA-program of Urban Governance at Tallinn University.

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Lines of movement connecting Tallinn’s old harbor and the city

Roads and streets appear as lines or paths with different textures on the area map. Bird-eye view removes frictions, which immediately revoke while taking a walk or a slow drive. Thus, practised ʻlines’ are important by bringing together social, spatial and affective registers of change (Ingold 2007, Massey 2005, Stewart 2014). Tallinn city and its harbor form like the edge and the quasi-beginning of the international road corridors leading from Estonia towards East and South. This harbor evolved together with the city along ruptures and more stable periods over centuries. The collapse of Soviet Union regime shifted radically the locus of the mobility hub. The role of the cargo-harbor decreased although the share of trucks on ferries is still remarkable. About nine million people travel yearly through the city’s old-harbor. The differences between alcohol and service prices are significant drivers for the tourism. The higher salaries of Finland motivate many people to find a job-place over the gulf and to keep commuting life-style. Thus the harbor coexist with wider networks, embedded paths and social forces by forming a narrow “sand glass” where dispersed fluxes become intensified along certain trajectories. In this perspective distinctions between highways, city streets, terminal’s passages and situations on ferries become blur. The dotted-line and the anchor sign on maps hardly can explain the transformative mediations of the harbour affecting transnational movements and urban fabric. The current paper can valorise few dimensions of practiced paths or ʻroad register’ (Stewart 2014) by focusing on contact lines between harbor’s circulations, social formations, events and rationalities of city planning. The reader will be invited to join the path and entangeled nodes through the city of Tallinn where international fluxes accelerated via harbor become materialised and socially experienced within dynamic urban spaces.