Antarctic cities and the global commons: Engaging stakeholders and forging connections

Theme 5. Other
Session Name 5.12 Connecting polar research, policy and stakeholders across scales - examples from Europe and beyond
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM (UTC +3)
Location IT105
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Hanne Nielsen
Author(s) Hanne Nielsen (University of Tasmania / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia), Juan Francisco Salazar (University of Western Sydeny, Australia), Elizabeth Leane (University of Tasmania / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia), Daniela Liggett (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Elias Barticevic (Instituto Antártico Chileno, Chile)
Abstract text

 The five so-called “Antarctic Gateway Cities” of Hobart (Australia), Christchurch (NZ), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina) and Cape Town (South Africa) share a geographic proximity to the far south. They are recognized as the main international points of departure to and from the Antarctic region, as all significant engagement with Antarctica currently goes through these cities. However, this status is both politically fragile and economically uneven. The premise of this project is that Antarctic cities should not just act as thoroughfares, but also as urban centres that embody the cosmopolitan values associated with Antarctic custodianship: international cooperation, scientific innovation, and ecological protection. Such a shift in framing could have implications for policy makers, scientists, and citizens of these cities.


This project uses the “Circles of Sustainability” method to explore how the function of being a spatial gateway might be lifted to a general relationship of custodianship, recognized both locally and globally. Workshops for key stakeholders from local government and industry were held in Hobart, Christchurch, and Punta Arenas. These assessed the sustainability of the cities in 28 distinct areas, and developed a tool for measuring Antarctic connectivity. This paper presents preliminary findings from the workshops. In reflecting on the stakeholder engagement process employed in the “Antarctic Cities” project, the authors suggest the “Circles of Sustainability” method could be a useful tool for those in other cities – including in the Arctic region – who are seeking to better understand their own strengths and connections.

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