On the frontline of climate change in Anchorage
Alaska is on the frontline of climate change, with temperatures across the state increasing at higher rates than anywhere else in the US.
In October, to coincide with Anchorage Design Week, the Anchorage Museum launched a series of projects and installations for My Mark: My City, engaging Anchorage residents to think bigger and more boldly about the future of their city and state.
Prototype, Respond, Reconnect
The Museum took three themes for their My Mark: My City activity: Prototype, Respond and Reconnect.
How do we create a sustainable city? For this project, we hosted conversations about transportation, then prototyped a bikeable city, worked with local artists and designers to create furniture from leftover bike parts, and even shut down a city street to test biking lines and bike culture. To spur thinking about future living, we converted rooms in the Museum’s SEED Lab into celebrations of reuse working with the Habitat for Humanity, and hosted conversations around homelessness. Thinking more broadly about the Arctic, we rolled out a Future Arctic board game to help people imagine the future of Northern cities, working with the design collective Lateral North.
For our Respond theme, we commissioned a series of graphic design installations throughout the city that played with phrases drawn from workshops that focus on civic solutions. We created murals on the side of the Museum’s SEED Lab building and added phrases to a city water tower, bus stops, library, housing, mall, parking garages and other unexpected places. We also worked with youth to create their own images and phrases and produced buttons and t-shirts for youth with the future phrases. We posed questions about what language is needed to focus on the future and to move forward from intractable issues. Phase II will include projections of glacial images on civic spaces and a youth summit on December 14.
With the Reconnect theme, we are exploring how urban places need to reconnect with the natural landscape in order to understand climate change and possible responses. We have hosted talks about urban foraging, designed a city clock to run on Alaska River Time, and create site-specific installations that highlighted Indigenous histories of civic places and to respond to current issues such as food security and forest fires.