“Urbanism”: The way of life characteristic of cities and towns.
The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a rethinking of not only how people live, but where. The concept of tactical urbanism can be used to pilot projects to promote a more just and equitable “city for all,” which should no longer be the exclusive domain of major cities, but must extend to any place a person may call home. That includes areas in the harshest environments, where “public space” and wilderness intersect, where days and nights become seasons, and where man is not the sole master of its domain.
Inuvik, a remote Canadian town 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, defies the conventional definition of urban. Climate change increases the risk of fresh food insecurity and exacerbates the loss of permafrost and lichen, a main food source for Caribou populations. Indigenous tribes in Inuvik have a commensalistic relationship with Caribou populations, whose herd size and location depend on the fragile ecosystem of the evanescent Arctic and are critical to the preservation of the permafrost. This situation is also closely tied to food insecurity among Indigenous communities across Arctic Canada, which have been associated with disturbed eating patterns, reduced diet quality, and increased susceptibility to chronic and infectious diseases after the introduction of a diet high in processed foods.
Starting in the 18th century, commercial hunting depleted the wildlife populations that many depended on for food. Furthermore, in the 1950s, the Inuit were forced to live in permanent settlements. Community gardens play an important role in developing independent food systems, and that food sovereignty will look different for diverse communities.
Our proposal seeks to open up opportunities in strengthening local food security by building on the migratory nature of the Inuvik people. It is flexible and tactical, using recycled wooden shipping crates as building materials and durable ETFE plastic, able to be easily assembled or combined by local citizens to allow for a variety of uses and programming. It seeks to address food insecurity, focusing on providing resiliency and sustainability to traditional ways of life. Synergies in native flora are combined to create a community greenhouse for people and animals. Through a careful attention to materiality, design, and mutualistic ecosystems, our team presents a multifunctional geodesic microhub reminiscent of aboriginal shelters that allows for curated human interactions with nature.