This special issue of Civil Engineering is the first about Russia and in particular a Russian city; not just any city but ‘The Venice of the North’ - Saint Petersburg. Of the six papers presented, five are from Russian authors generally from the Saint Petersburg State University (the first Russian university, founded in the early nineteenth century) and the sixth is from two British engineers. This issue covers the city's 300 year battle with flood waters and the development that has taken place, urban redevelopment strategies for five distinct types of historic urban area and the use of geographic information systems to model and improve the city's complex and continually developing road and rail network. It also addresses public-private partnerships, for example the Western High-Speed Diameter Highway (Saint Petersburg's ring road). The issue also looks at a new method for predicting frost heave on roads built with frost-susceptible materials, and the redevelopment of Pulkovo International airport.