Kangiqsujuaq: Heart of the Arctic
Day 3

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Overnight, we entered Hudson’s Straight, where an immense amount of water comes from the Atlantic Ocean, creating massive tides and whirlpools of mythic proportions. With an early wakeup call, we headed to Kangiqsujuaq, a small community of 720 Inuit, a few of whom joined us on the ship for breakfast.

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Aktopak: Heart of the Arctic Day 2

Saturday, July 18, 2015

In the Arctic, summer sunrise comes more or less immediately after sunset, but thanks to the ship’s portholes and calm waters, we slept through. At 6:45 a.m., a happy voice over the sound system awoke us earlier than expected, calling out four polar bears on the beach of Aktopak Island, just starboard of where we had anchored. Sleepy passengers gathered on the 8th deck, talking in hushed excitement.

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The Inuit: A view from the top of the world

Much of what we write about here on PlaceShakers has to do with dense urbanism and clustered rural development, as an alternative to auto-centric suburban development patterns that have dominated North America for the last 70 years. What we don’t talk about as much is that a big part of our raison d’etre is these compact patterns save our farmlands, rangelands, and wilderness from being gobbled up as quickly, and that walkable places reduce vehicle miles traveled and help with our global commons problem of climate change.

For the rest of July, I intend to turn a focused eye on rural settlement patterns, environmental issues, and preservation, thanks to the Heart of the Arctic expedition I’m embarking on with my family this week. Follow my husband, Stephen Borys, for the cultural perspective, as the Director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The WAG holds in trust the world’s largest Inuit art collection and has plans underway for a new Inuit Art Centre.

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Porchtastic: Living in Season

Living in season asks us to “entice people outside, where they get more acclimated to the local environment, needing less heating or cooling when they return indoors,” according to Steve Mouzon via treehugger.

Howard Blackson dares us to live outdoors where “we can again connect with our climate and place — another step towards unsealing ourselves from our hermetic suburban environments.”

I always think of these two when the hot summer days roll around, and I busily open windows at night and close them in the morning to acclimate un-air conditioned space. And yes, it gets hot in Winnipeg. Winnipeg may be the third coldest city of its size on earth, but it’s also one of the sunniest.

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“General Welfare” for the Next Generation

Lately I’ve been thinking about “health, safety, and general welfare” — the basis by which zoning is typically legitimized and measured — and wondering just how great a disconnect needs to form between our purported values and our land use regulations before we admit that something’s not working.

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Household Solar Popularity Builds, As Does Utility Industry Discomfort

Kaid-BenfieldA couple of weeks ago, my wife Sharon and I were out for a long neighborhood walk. This is not unusual for us, but on this particular day we took a route we hadn’t walked in quite some time. I was pleased to notice that one of the traditional, colonial-style houses we encountered was sporting solar panels on its roof. And then we noticed another. And another. And yet more, so many that we lost count. Not every house, certainly, but enough in this particular section of northwest D.C. to make a strong impression.

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