Ilulissat, Living the Arctic

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för arkitektur och byggd miljö

Abstract: Nowhere in the world is there more proof of climate change than in Greenland, Ilulissat is no exception. With climate change and visible climatic shifts things are rapidly changing and already affecting the life of the people who live there. Those dramatic changes are not only affecting the Arctic but the whole global community. In this project it was though important to think locally to be able to focus on their needs and to act on how this Arctic community can be supported with sustainable and climate sensitive architectural solutions. My question was therefore: “How can we create a social, economic and environmental sustainability with climate sensitive architecture and urban design and without losing the cultural identity?” Traditional practices are already at risk in Ilulissat, those practices are subsiding and a livelihood of many people is disappearing. New challenges are being introduced to all the people of the Arctic, their environment, nature, wildlife and their culture. It is unavoidable to say that a birth of a new generations in Greenland is a fact if nothing changes soon. Population in Greenland and in Ilulissat as in other towns in the country is declining mostly do to emigration but then at the same time there is a housing demand in Ilulissat that for example comes from emigration from smaller settlements where traditional practices are or where their life. The Arctic is circumcised with extreme landscape and harsh climate conditions and the people who live under these conditions need an environment that fits their life and their physical needs. My project focuses on strengthening this Arctic community and new generations of people so it can more easily adapt to future challenges. It focuses on creating an urban density to avoid unnecessary future urban sprawl and on a climate and cultural sensitive urban planning that can both support social, economical and environment sustainability and at the same time create a vibrant and visually stimulating environment. Other important tasks of my proposal was to strengthen the core of the town to create an even economically stronger society and to follow up on my vision of this project. A vision for a resilient quality environment and sustainable future for new generations. Where traditions and cultural values don´t get lost in future changes.

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