The Arctic Entropic

Landscape Architecture G2 Studio / Spring 2018 / Katherine Jenkins & Parker Sutton

As our environments change irrevocably, how can we preserve memory and meaning that is embedded within landscapes? A graduate studio, The Arctic Entropic (LARCH 7940), begins with this prompt. This question requires students to be highly speculative in their design production but grounded in a deep understanding of the processes transforming the Arctic landscape and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it. Entropy, defined in physics as a gradual decline into disorder, can also be understood as irreversible progress or change. The Alaskan Arctic, a resource-extraction economy that is warming at twice the rate of the equator, typifies the entropic landscape: oil cannot be put back into the ground, permafrost cannot be reconstituted once thawed. What does conservation mean in an era when boundary lines on a map are growing irrelevant and warming air, not terrestrial activity, is driving landscape change?

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