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An atlas of best practices and opportunities for culturally acceptable

and sustainable living environments in Nunavik

This research proposes to “do things differently” by building on Inuit engagement and on the experience of a multidisciplinary team. The project combines dimensions related to infrastructure / urbanization (built environment) and social context (culture and local knowledge). It considers the quality and humanity of dwelling spaces, as they also impact on residents’ safety, well-being and health. Doing things differently invites the Kangiqsualujjuaq community and a variety of disciplines around the crucial challenge of culturally appropriate, safe, and resilient living environments. As a result, an Atlas of best practices and opportunities, will offer a repository of models / designs, actions and policies proposing alternative scenarios for sustainable and culturally adequate living environments.

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Photo by Dominic Beaudoin, Kagiqsualujjuaq (11/2019)


Nunavik’s Inuit communities face urgent housing, development and climate change challenges and, in this regard, the houses and villages they actually live in are unsustainable. They are planned according to models drawn from the South that are ill-suited for the North, their development is carried out in hurry, and time is lacking to develop locally-anchored solutions adapted to the needs, resources, and climate of Nunavik. It is widely recognized that such environments, built without Inuit participation, do not meet their aspirations.


MAIN QUESTIONS 1. What are the most promising challenges and the best opportunities to develop sustainable and culturally adapted living environments? 2. What are the most useful means of action that would allow for such developments, and how could they be turned into pragmatic and convivial tools for community engagement and decision-making?


APPROACHES  1. A collaborative planning process for citizens, partners and investigators to engage together, co-produce knowledge and plan for its transfer in an applied manner. 2. The development of scenarios as part of an atlas, ie a depository (répertoire) of illustrations representing and translating different opportunities, strategies or conditions for alternative ways of planning or building sustainable and culturally adequate living environments.


RESULTS are expected to inform and hopefully orient local decision-making in sustainable planning and development. Together with citizens, the team will find the appropriate ways to “filter down” the results to decision-makers and organizations, who are the atlas’ first intended users and beneficiaries.

Photo by Annabelle Tougas, Kagiqsualujjuaq (11/2019)


The profound social and cultural nature of the present challenge will thus be tackled by a seasoned and dedicated team that has a genuine knowledge of the Inuit people, a sensible experience of their land and territories, and several concrete realizations (both in terms of collaborations with communities, empirical research and design productions).

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