Various challenges threaten community sustainability. Some examples pertain to housing crises, which manifest themselves in different ways. In a nutshell, there are not enough affordable, culturally appropriate homes available to meet demand. Demographic shifts and climate change are two important factors exacerbating the problem. Many communities in the Canadian North are expanding. Some very quickly and as a result of resource extraction (past examples include towns located in the iron ore region of western Labrador, including Labrador City and Wabush, where population decrease can happen equally as sudden due to mine closures), others more incrementally. Either way, local and regional governments are tasked with allocating space for new residential development and in many cases are involved with the actual construction of homes as well.
On top of these challenges, housing policies in Canada have served as colonial tools in the past. Starting in the 1950s, some housing programs were implemented by the federal government to channel settlement patterns and behaviours of Inuit. Other programs were devised to assimilate individuals and communities into the Canadian western capitalist mainstream. Some contemporary programs may risk prolonging colonial legacies rather than breaking with them.
Taking these considerations into account, I would like to present alternative examples to the dominant paradigms of housing development in the Canadian Arctic and Subarctic, highlighting examples from Labrador, Nunavut, and the Yukon. Check back soon on the Hygge blog!