Goal 4. Advance the Arctic “Built Environment”


Rapid environmental change demands improved and updated Arctic design standards for civil infrastructure both on- and offshore. Air temperatures warming two to three times faster than the global average and thawing permafrost affect the Arctic “built environment” in cities, towns, and villages. This includes buildings, their affiliated infrastructure, and other public works (e.g., water supplies, sanitation systems, energy networks, and systems for transportation and communication).


  • Conduct integrated Arctic infrastructure mapping, Arctic marine charting, synthesize operational data and information systems, and update engineering atlases. Examples include Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure and the Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative.
  • Assess vulnerability, resilience, and response options of the built environment in light of environmental change and available technologies, and consider compound uncertainties, life-cycle impacts, depreciation rates, risks, scenario planning, and engineered versus social adaptations.
  • Perform additional engineering research on methods to protect shorelines, relocate coastal communities, develop evacuation routes and shelters, mitigate floods, improve drainage systems, and protect permafrost.