George Harris presents at Arctic Science conference

George gave a presentation entitled “Drifting Knowledge” at the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), 2018 Arctic Science Meeting, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Below is the abstract.  


Today’s Arctic settlements are under an increasing development pressure as both Inuit and non-Inuit  

population is steadily growing. While in more southern regions the natural processes are perceived to  

happen in the background of our lives, in the Arctic these processes are an integral part and cannot be  

ignored. Over thousands of years of inhabiting the north, the Inuit have learned to adapt their way of  

life and incorporate them into their living, building a wealth of arctic-living knowledge.   


Initially modelled after southern principles of urban planning, current planning policies in Nunavut  

shifted recently to incorporate local social priorities and environmental knowledge of wind, snow, and  

re-vegetation, however, upon implementation, conflicting interests between policies call for hard design  

decisions. The research of Drifting Knowledge narrates the challenges encountered by a large-scale  

master-planning process in Iqaluit, Nunavut where the work revealed tensions in the planning policies  

between natural processes, social and economic realities. Through the analysis of a real-life project, this  

presentation explores the need for a holistic, site-specific, integrated planning process in the arctic that  

incorporates traditional Inuit knowledge along with scientific evidence and reflects the social logic of the