Gift shop urbanism. Anchorage, Alaska. Images from Google Street View.
Firstly, the way Anchorage looks is very, very similar to many Finnish cities. Somehow a little bland and thin, in the layers of anything urban.
Secondly, perhaps there’s a pattern in these Northern, arctic habitats. It’s somehow funny how cities with very short summers and depressing, heavy winters (like Anchorage, or my native Helsinki, for that matter) still somehow manage to “be” cities. It’s modern, in the way that man has conquered nature in order to reside where he wants to. But sometimes, when the wind nearly punctures your face with icy particles and the snow piles up on your streets, with no one taking it away for three days, the comedy of trying to live the urban life in a Nordic city just makes me smile. And perhaps the humor in the trying is what appeals to me most.
Thirdly, have you ever been to the Market Square in Helsinki? These days, it’s probably the number one place to buy reindeer skins and fur hats. For no apparent reason. I’m getting the same vibe here. It seems visiting Anchorage is all about buying T-shirts and sweaters?
Posts tagged Urbanism.
And here is evidence to what I claim here sent from a friend. That the new urban planning in Maniitsoq not far from Nuuk is designed to in small ways promote ‘traditional’ lifestyle things. It sounds like the building is designed to have at least one of these hangers under a window for each apartment to allow for drying fish. This sort of thing is done in makeshift ways in houses and apartments all over the country, but unlike the European-model housing bloks in Nuuk, the design acknowledges and enables this. I think this is an interesting suggestion to the ‘problem’ of an urbanizing indigenous nation, as it suggests an urban space that does not totally reject the countrylife.
Emil Ekberg, at Galleri Mors Mössa in Gothenburg this week.
The new Nuuk
mall Center is set to open in the summer.
As with every new architectural plan in Greenland the design sketch is radical and dramatic, juxtaposed design on the wild landscape. But undoubtedly it will come out as any other mall. ‘Malling’ I think is an actual benchmark in the urbanizing process. There are arguments to be made for and against - for, because some may suggest that Nuuk being able to collectivize and gradually become a more cosmopolitan center while other areas remain as they have been show hope that Greenland can hold its own in the world and allow for different ways of life to coexist. On the other hand it suggests a greater segregation between the capital and the rest of the country, especially with the expensive new national gallery and Qinngorput housing developments.
Abandoned subway stop in the middle of the botanic gardens. This is by far better than any of the others. They should have gotten rid of the two stations two blocks away and kept this.
In the 1970′s the Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill with the help of NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University held a series of space colony summer studies which explored the possibilities of humans living in giant orbiting spaceships.
A funny little local government building in Inuvik, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories, Canada.
It’s interesting to see this ‘new generation’ of corrugated arctic buildings cropping up (much like this in Nunavik) that are using the subtleties of the material to be a little bit witty and design-y, while not denying that the main reason for using it is still just utilitarian. The box-y variation in heights, the mix of circular, conglomerate and rectangular windows, the colours, the one bit of slanted roof - it’s all pleasing and a tiny bit whimsical, but not distractingly so.
I’d also like to point out the blog this is from, Inuvik Photos (the link is in the photo, like all of my sourced posts). It’s great to get an insight into the ISR because it is perhaps the most excluded Inuit region in broader discussion. For understandable reasons, the first block being that it is in some ways an extreme example of ‘Arctic life’ - in that the communities are all very small (the total population wikipedia tells me is about 5,600), very few, very far from one another and spread across a mass amount of land across the coast of Western Canadian Arctic (over 900,000km2); so that is about half the land mass, but 15% of the population of Nunavut. But it is especially unique among Inuit regions for a couple of reasons, and surely more I that can’t speak to after my limited reading:
- It encompasses three dialects - Siglitun, Uummarmiutun, Inuinnaqtun - none of which ‘competes’ for regional dominance (although Siglitun is most spoken), since the communities they are spoken in are so extremely isolated from one another and there is little in the way of a ‘central’ administration or cultural life
- It has some substantial communities and areas below the treeline
- There are few noteworthy ‘archaeological sites’
What I certainly can say is in all news I read about inuit nunaata - in Nunavummiut, Greenlandic and pan-Canadian indigenous news sources, ‘studies’ on different arctic-related issues ethnographic and not, also stuff released by the ICC and Gáldu and the like - the ISR has practically never come up. In fact I have only read of Inuit of the Northwest Canadian Arctic in passing never named in a community group, only 1) in the migration context, with little emphasis on those who settled there (considering there were so few) and 2) in linguistics where the ISR is split in three, and historically four parts.
Well. As I said I can’t speak to this fully. But look at the blog I link to, it’s an interesting eye on daily life in a fairly distant-from-thought region, even within inuit nunaata.