Urban Transformation in a Warming Arctic – The continued effects of Nordic colonialism in urban planning and development (UrbTrans)
Welcome to the project page of UrbTrans, a community of researchers, artists and more that work with urban transformations in the Arctic. Our main focus is currently to understand the development of Nuuk from the 1950s and until the present. UrbTrans started in 2020 and will run until 2025. It has its home in Romsa/Tromsø, at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, but much of its activities are carried out in Nuuk and in collaboration with researchers at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland), Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu (Greenland National Museum and Archives), and Nuutoqaq (Nuuk Local Museum). Through this we hope to build new and stronger bonds for collaboration between the cities of Romsa/Tromsø and Nuuk, and to conduct our research in ways that are both sensitive to and can benefit Nuuk’s community.
UrbTrans is interested in how Nuuk, the capital city of Kalaallit Nuunat, has been planned and developed since the 1950s and up until today. It looks at the tools, procedures and government agencies involved in building and shaping Nuuk, and how this has changed with the shifts to Home Rule (1979) and Self Rule (2009). A major part of the project is therefore to study historical and archival materials. Equally important, however, is to understand how Nuuk’s development has been experienced, reflected upon and acted towards by its people. Conversations, stories, art, and culture can help us to understand both the changes and the everyday life of the city. Through this we hope to gain a better understanding of the connections between colonialism and urbanisation in Kalaallit Nunaat, as well as the role played by Nuuk in its decolonisation. More broadly we think this can contribute to a better understanding of what Nordic colonialism in the Arctic has been, and to a stronger awareness within the Arctic and the Nordic countries about how the past is shaping both the present and the shared futures of the Arctic region.
UrbTrans is conducted in cooperation with partners at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland), Greenland National Museum & Archives, and Nuuk Local Museum. Through this we hope to build new and stronger bonds for collaboration between the cities of Romsa/Tromsø and Nuuk, and to conduct our research in ways that are both sensitive to and can benefit Nuuk’s community.
UrbTrans is funded by the Tromsø Research Foundation and the Research Council Norway. Our research ethics are guided by the principles laid down by the Inuit Circumpolar Council for Ethical and Equitable Engagement and the CARE principles for data management.