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The ‘Good’ Arctic City – Researching urban space in Greenland

Participating in the Arctic Building and Construction project, we ask, “What is a good city under Arctic conditions?” Through fieldwork and interviews in Nuuk and other Greenlandic cities, researchers in the Arctic City research group collect and share relevant perspectives on urban space qualities for the development of urban space for the construction industry and the urban planning environment in Greenland – especially in connection with housing construction.

Urban space is about technical, environmental, and climatic factors. At the same time, urban space is a place for community, everyday activities, play, economic activity, and social interaction for all groups in society. There is a tradition of discussing urban spaces in relation to climatic comfort in an Arctic context. At the same time, planners and architects have placed less emphasis the on social and cultural dimensions of the city’s life and spatiality. In Greenland, urban space design has been a secondary priority in constructing housing and public functions.

The project group carried out preparatory studies and fieldwork in early 2022. The first round of fieldwork was carried out in a winter situation in Nuuk in March 2022. It will be supplemented with studies of the summer situation in the Greenlandic urban spaces during the summer of 2022.

We discuss how Greenlandic urban spaces can be compared with cities in other parts of the Arctic and what Greenlandic planning and construction can learn from elsewhere in the region and vice versa. To that end, the subproject includes a digital international experience exchange workshop with experts in architecture and urban design in other Arctic territories.

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