When discussing “advancement of society”, I think it’s evident that there are multiple forms of “advancement”: political, cultural, social, economic, etc. Many forms of technology (ie: the personal computer, cell phone) are developed to make everyday life easier, faster, and more efficient. Although these innovations are convenient and can be examples of advancing science and technology, the majority of them won’t advance humanity in terms of culture, tradition, or social well-being.
After attending Lola Sheppard’s lecture, “Architecture’s Expanded Territory”, I realized that many of her projects, which utilize new technologies and building strategies, also try to address the local culture and social system of the site. The Arctic Food Network project uses technology and building innovation to not only address the Inuit community’s current problems with health, connectivity, and economy, but also to preserve traditional practices and bridge the gap between generations. The various Inuit communities in Baffin Island, Canada are separated by great distances and lack food storage, making it difficult to obtain healthy food options or preserve it for long time periods. This creates a reliance on expensive and highly processed foods, which has created massive health and financial issues. In addition, the traditional hunting and fishing practices have greatly declined because of the large youth population and growing divide between the old and new generations. According to Sheppard, the Arctic Food Network would create a “network of small structures that acknowledge the Inuit tradition of temporary enclosure and migratory existence”. The proposal would also connect villages by utilizing existing snowmobile trails to create a “regional network of arctic farms, freezers, fishing cabins and camp hubs.” Solar energy would help power smoke stacks which not only smoke game meat but also act as satellite and cell towers. Local materials such as rock, ice, and snow would be used in portions of the hubs. Although the Arctic Food Network proposal employs technology such as solar panels, communication towers, and aquaculture, its purpose is to improve the Inuit community as a whole and involve all community members in traditional practices.
Rosenfield, Karissa. “Arctic Food Network/Lateral Office.” Arch Daily. N.p., 10 Nov. 2011. Web. 6 Sept. 2012. <http://www.archdaily.com/182435/arctic-food-network-lateral-office/>.
Sheppard, Lola. “Architecture’s Expanded Territory.” University of Minnesota. Minneapolis. 5 Sept. 2011. Lecture.