Frozen Infrastructures: Changing Human-Environment-Technology Relations in the Anthropocene

Type: Virtual Panel
Sponsor Groups: Eurasian Specialty Group, Polar Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 50
Organizers: Vera Kuklina
Chairs: Andrey Petrov


The study of infrastructures has seen high interest in recent years across academic disciplines and global regions. The fields of explorations increasingly expand including not only traditional built structures, but also natural objects (Carse, 2012), people (Simone 2004), social relations (Star, 1999), ideologies (Humphrey, 2005), and so on. The cold regions have special relations with infrastructure as the areas where building, maintaining and development of infrastructure depends on and is shaped by frozen matter: permafrost, snow and ice. These elements have been domesticated and utilized in local and indigenous cultures for local transportation (Aporta 2004), housing, recreation etc. Strong, almost indivisible connections between permafrost, ice and snow and the built environment in such conditions define frozen infrastructures. While green infrastructure has already been in the focus of scholarly attention, frozen infrastructures receive surprisingly less attention.
Specifics of frozen infrastructures are related to their highly vulnerability in face of climate change (Ford et al, 2019; Stephenson et al 2011; Melvin et al 2017, Raynolds et al 2014) and permafrost degradation (Suter, Streletskiy, Shiklomanov, 2019; Hjort et al, 2018). The choices and decisions over where these frozen infrastructures develop exemplify power relations between multiple stakeholders, growing wealth, natural forces and technological advances. With growing complexity of infrastructural development and stakeholders involved, it’s highly important to study how people design, construct, own, use infrastructure and benefit from its functioning.
Implementation. We invite papers from a broad range of disciplines that critically examine frozen infrastructures as part of changing human-environment-technology relations in the age of Anthropocene. Geographic scope includes permafrost regions, and both rural and urban, indigenous areas dependent on ice and snow for maintaining traditional cultures and subsistence activities, communities, enduring effects of urban heat islands (Esau et al, 2019), devising new specific technological solutions or preserving traditions for building and maintaining built environment.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Vera Kuklina V.B. Sochava Institute of Geography SB RAS 15 4:40 PM
Panelist Olga Zaslavskaya IACC/NAKKA 12 4:55 PM
Panelist Jeremy Tasch Towson University 12 5:07 PM
Panelist Andrey Petrov University of Northern Iowa 12 5:19 PM
Panelist Matthew Farish University of Toronto 12 5:31 PM
Discussant Mia Bennett 12 5:43 PM

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