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EXTREME

Rethinking the Limits to Community, Architecture, and Urbanism

21-25 January 2018, Longyearbyen, Svalbard


Density and sparsity, height and depth, hot and cold, centre and periphery, wet and dry, war and conflict: People the world over have adapted their living practices, architectures, and landscapes to extreme conditions. In our globalised era, local conceptions of the ideal dwelling, city, and community are increasingly exposed to alternative understandings. How do the house in the country and the flat in the skyscraper, the remote mountain village and the hyper-dense world city, the frigid arctic science station and the blazing desert financial district differ from and resemble one another? Can extreme environments foster innovative lifestyles that are conducive to community and inspire beneficial future urbanisms? Or do the technical solutions relied upon to help people cope with extremes of population, climate, light, height, and other factors necessarily distance people from each other and from the natural environment?


This interdisciplinary conference probes the limits to community, architecture, and urbanism from the perspectives of urban studies, geography, design, architecture, anthropology, sociology, and other fields and disciplines.


How to make a presentation.

Presentations are welcome on all aspects of life in extreme conditions. Presentations last 15 minutes and will be followed by around 5 minutes’ question time. The early deadline for abstracts is 28 February 2017, but to take advantage of early registration rates and ensure that you have time to seek funding from your institution or government, we recommend that you submit your abstract early.


If you have any questions, please e-mail convenor Adam Grydehøj (agrydehoj@islanddynamics.org).






© Heinrich Eggenfellner


About Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Longyearbyen (population 2200) is the world’s northernmost town, the main settlement in Norway’s vast, icy Svalbard archipelago. The polar night, when the sun never breaches the horizon, lasts from late October until mid-February. Most residents stay for only a season or a few years, and even those who remain must eventually return to their homelands: Because Norway provides no health and social care, it is colloquially said that ‘In Svalbard, it is illegal to die.’ Furthermore, the risk of attack by polar bears means that people are only permitted to leave town in the company of someone with firearms training.


Although Longyearbyen is iconically remote, the town is highly cosmopolitan, hosting citizens of over 40 nations and an economy based on tourism and mining.


About the conference.

Delegates will arrive in Longyearbyen on 21 January. On 22 and 25 January, delegates will take tours out into Svalbard’s spectacular arctic landscape: a hike to an ice cave and a trip out into the polar night on by dog sled. Conference presentations by delegates will be held on 23-24 January at Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen. Full registration covers five dinners and all conference activities.