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