Sustainability of Arctic Communities
Principal Investigator: Kruse, Jack (1)
Licence Number: 13021
Organization: University of Alaska, Anchorage - Institute of Social and Economic Research
Licenced Year(s): 1999
Issued: Mar 29, 1999
Project Team: Robert White, Gary Kofinas, Stephen R Braund and Associates

Objective(s): This project is an exploration into how various forces of change may affect small communities of the north in the future. The goals of this project are to improve the ability of communities and scientists to discuss: (1) how community life may change in the future and, (2) how communities may be able to shape changes to reflect community values. Both local knowledge and the results of research studies will be used to explain how the most important elements of community life may change in the next 10 to 40 years. Through discussions between communities and scientists, both groups will improve their understanding of changing conditions in the North and how best to deal with them. The project is focused on the implications of four potential types of change that may affect northern communities - climate change, changes in types and levels of tourism, changes in levels of non-local hunting, and oil development.

Project Description: Part A: "Possible Futures Model". Researchers have constructed models which project how force of change will affect communities in the future, based on local knowledge and research findings of previous studies. In 1998-99, the "Possible Futures Model" will be presented to people of Fort McPherson and Aklavik. The model allows users to consider the effects of changes that may occur in the next 40 years. The model will be designed so that each user can make choices and see the consequences of those choices. The objective is to provide community members a chance to respond to the consequences of possible changes projected by the model. Explanations will be documented of why locals think some outcomes are more or less likely to occur and consider various trade offs that may come with choices. Individual and group workshops will be conducted where the model is run and discuss the implications on community futures. Discussions about the model will be documented as a part of the computer program so that local explanations appear on the screen with other information. Changes will be made in the model functions to account for local knowledge. Part B: Policy Alternatives, sustainability issues with participating communities, and project evaluation (Spring to summer 1999). The final project objective is for locals from Old Crow, Arctic Village, Fort McPherson, and Aklavik, and researchers, to gather together and discuss the project results. At this gathering, we will identify common areas of understanding, areas of uncertainty, and data gaps/areas for future research.