"The poster aims to discuss my ongoing research project named The relative importance of habitation. This deals with the relations of suburban residents to there close environment. The main field of my studies is the tower-block suburb of Mezciems, Riga built in the 1970s. Its layout is of' a pattern common also in Western or Northern Europe. It is ill the form of a neighbourhood unit surrounded by green areas. Low technical quality, lack of maintenance constitutes a sad image, as does the impression of neglect of the place from the inhabitants. About 10 000 people, more than half of them "non-Latvians' live ill Mezciems and are for the time being facing a radical transition taking place ill their neighbourhood. Many private shops and other kinds of services and business have popped up ill the area. The school is divided into two _ one 'Latvian" and one "Russian". Lately privatisation of apartments and blocks of flats has started. How is Mezciems looked upon by its inhabitants today? Is this a place where families and growing children want to invest their feelings, their scarce money and own labour for a better future? Is the importance of place over all growing ill this transition to a modern market economy or maybe diminishing among all new problems, possibilities and available merchandise? Up to now I have studied some results from school children's drawings and writings about their neighbourhood, and have started interviewing parents and key persons. In this poster I try to formulate my early impressions of a place and its dwellers on the threshold to a new world, hard to understand and adapt to and full of possibilities, at least for young people. Life in Mezciems is about hope versus distrust and devotion versus indifference. The place holds many problems but there are also recognised as well as hidden qualities. This is my Nordic view on a neighbouring country which is geographically near but when it comes to modern history along another line. I hope to be able to get to know it more closely during several years of studies."