Things change, we change : planning for resilience in the Canadian Arctic

Parewick, Kathleen (2012) Things change, we change : planning for resilience in the Canadian Arctic. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This dissertation addresses climate and coastal changes in three small communities across the Canadian Arctic. The most pressing physical hazards were observed in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories (NWT) where erosive storm action and floods act on low-lying thermokarst terrain and shoreline infrastructure. Sachs Harbour, NWT is also experiencing rapid coastal erosion and permafrost ablation, although risks are moderated by the greater elevation of the townsite. Relatively few physical hazards were identified in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut but a sudden reservoir failure above the townsite in 2005 highlighted latent risks in infrastructure engineered to suit former climatic norms. -- In concert with physical hazard evaluations, community assessments were undertaken which revealed a variety of factors conditioning changes at the local level. They exposed significant community adaptation challenges stemming from human resource, organizational and relational factors. This approach also contributed to a working understanding of the many cross-scale interactions that ongoing physical changes are precipitating, in tandem with globalizing economic and social influences, on northern populations. Rapid changes in ice-rich terrain have raised concerns in relation to traditional Inuit livelihoods, knowledge and practices, but significant implications for northern community governance must also be recognized. Resilience is rendered as a dynamic, composite property of communities. A basic analytical framework derived from resilience theory was developed and used in the three Things Change, We Change community-based adaptation case studies. Adjustments were made along the way to suit arising local circumstances, in keeping with an exercise of adaptive as well as adaptation planning. The process has highlighted a number of factors conditioning community responses to environmental changes: examples are outlined using the Four Dimensions of Community Resilience defined and presented in a variety of ways to enhance legibility. -- Community resiliency is explored as a frame of reference for local governance and in relation to the significant ontological challenges presented by the necessary interchange among the multiple cultures entrained by global sustainability discourse. Consequently, community planning is re-imagined as an institutional practice which must seek to enhance or restore critical capacities to foster greater adaptability in every aspect of the community - 'built' and otherwise.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6163
Item ID: 6163
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 380-403).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Northwest Territories; Canada--Nunavut
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coast changes--Northwest Territories; Coast changes--Nunavut

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