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Arctic Research Center
University of Virginia  
Charlottesviile, VA, USA 

︎ uvaarc [at] virginia [at] edu

The Arctic Research Center (ARC) is a platform for collaborative Arctic research at the University of Virginia. Building on decades of Arctic-focused research, education, and outreach efforts, and spanning wide-ranging disciplines including environmental sciences, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, social sciences, data sciences and the arts, UVA-ARC brings together academic, institutional and community collaborators to address urgent issues and share knowledge.  

National Science Foundation Award #: 2022639
︎︎︎Link to NSF award page

NNA Track 1 | Understanding the Changing Natural-Built Landscape in an Arctic Community: An Integrated Sensor Network in Utqiagvik, Alaska (UCNBL-Utqiagvik)

Summary: The UCNBL investigates two essential challenges at the intersection of the natural and built environments in Utqiagvik, Alaska: 1) the impacts of critical community infrastructure on surrounding tundra, coastal, and lagoon landscapes within and around the city, and 2) the impacts of the changing natural environment on the maintenance, design, and planning of buildings, community infrastructure, and the city at large. The project has three broad interdependent objectives: 1) The collection and interpretation of sensor-enabled environmental data in order to assess how the development of community infrastructure, buildings, and urban landscapes, along with climate change, influence the surrounding air, ground, and water; 2) The application of sensor-based data to meaningfully inform current and future management of infrastructure, design, and planning initiatives for Utqiagvik, as a basis for the development of next best practices for similar Arctic communities; 3) The development, implementation, and study of co-production of knowledge that will directly engage and benefit the Inupiaq and local residents, particularly youths.

Broader Impacts: The research will generate a high-resolution dataset, representing a cross-section of the dynamic natural-built landscape of Utqiagvik. The inclusion of community members in the project will facilitate the application of this dataset toward improving future development, environmental stewardship, and cultural preservation guidelines for the city. This will impact the health and economic well-being of Utqiagvik and other North Slope Borough villages in Alaska, while providing an important reference point to better understand the coupled impacts of climate change and urbanization in Arctic communities. By making the data available to the local municipal government and to a larger scientific community, the project will enhance the maintenance and climate adaptation goals of the city, as well as the arctic research database more broadly, bridging science-based convergence research with STEM education and local decision-making processes. The project will utilize knowledge co-production with local and indigenous community members, including Alaskan youths, and students, advancing public participation and the local workforce development in STEM-based research. The education component of the project is extensive, providing opportunities for UVA undergraduate students to work in the field in Utqiagvik, and a field-based graduate design studio in Utqiagvik. The project team will participate in community outreach events in Utqiagvik, organized by our research team and local collaborators. The collaboration within the core research team is also diverse, bolstering participation and leadership of early-career scholars, women, and underrepresented minorities.

National Science Foundation Award #: 1744413
︎︎︎Link to NSF award page

Workshop: NNA: Bridging Science, Art, and Community 

Summary: The activities of the Bridging symposium consider the ways in which design, art, and music can be a bridge between scientific data and understanding, and are explored in the context of Arctic landscape change. The three-day event consists of presentations, discussions, workshops, performances, gallery opening, and poster sessions, all taking place at the University of Virginia with special attention to Alaskan youths.