Picture 1The IASC community workshop “Towards Sustainable Infrastructure: Environmental, Technological, and Societal Impacts of Development in the Arctic” held at ASSW 2023 in Vienna and online, became one of the key events in the long history of the interdisciplinary research network RATIC (“Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate”).

The workshop, convened by Olga Povoroznyuk (University of Vienna) and Howard Epstein (University of Virginia) kicked off with a poster session and a networking luncheon attended by RATIC members and friends, where early career scholars presented their recent research in the Arctic. Two following scientific sessions opened with an introduction by the conveners on the background and goals of the workshop and featured multiple project presentations by social and natural scientists and architects on a variety of infrastructure-related topics. The scientific part of the workshop was rounded up by Sandy Starkweather’s presentation of the 4th International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP IV) and Skip Walker’s talk about the past and the future of RATIC in connection to the ICARP process and beyond. The workshop finished with a lively open discussion on the next steps in interdisciplinary research on Arctic infrastructure and the role and format of the RATIC.

Picture2All in all, over seventy in person and twenty online participants from sixteen countries, including Arctic residents, Indigenous peoples, early career and advanced stage scholars, artists, research funding and policy agencies, attended the workshop. They contributed to the truly interdisciplinary and international debates about social, environmental, technological and other aspects of Arctic infrastructure in the context of permafrost thaw, resource extraction and urban and industrial development.

The main takeaways from the workshop can be summarized as follows:

  • Infrastructure should remain one of the central topics of interdisciplinary Arctic research, especially in the context of environmental changes and technological solutions for increased sustainability and communities’ well-being
  • Such research should rely on even stronger involvement of Indigenous and local stakeholders, and participation of architects and artists, as well as industrial players and development agencies
  • RATIC’s revisited mission and format, seen in the broader context of the ICARP process, will be formulated in a position paper and discussed at the next workshop planned for the ASSW 2025 in Boulder, Colorado.

More information about the workshop, including the agenda, presentation slides and recording of the event, is available at the RATIC’s website: https://www.geobotany.org/ratic/workshop2023.php

Photo Credits: 
Top-Left: A. Azanova. Conveners introducing workshop.
Bottom-Right:  By A. Azanova, Opening project presentation

Date and Location 

February 2023 (during ASSW 2023) in Vienna, Austria

IASC Working Groups funding the project

Project Lead

Year funded by IASC


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