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Arctic City

Public lecture at HafenCity University in Hamburg 10 January, 2018.

Despite being remote, the Arctic is in fact home to millions of people, and the region is facing some of the most rapid urban change on the globe due to climate change, resource exploitation and geopolitical posturing. The talk will present historical trajectories and contemporary dimensions of urbanism in the circumpolar region. It will unfold a critique of postcolonial perspectives on planning and urban development in the North, as well as the still-dominant architectural narrative espoused by Ralph Erskine and more recent examples of architectural climatic exotification.

Studies of urbanism in the Arctic provides correctives to mainstream discourses in urban development and design. It functions as a space for projection of various extreme formulations and experiments in visionary architecture and urbanism beyond the ordinary. At the same time the accelerating estrangement of people and the changing environment calls for ventures into the everyday: locally grounded and place specific approaches to urbanism in communities with limited agency on their own futures.


Hemmersam, P.(2018). Arctic City. Hamburg