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  1. Nicewonger, Todd E. ; McNair, Lisa D. ; Fritz, Stacey (Ed.) At the start of the pandemic, the editors of this annotated bibliography initiated a remote (i.e., largely virtual) ethnographic research project that investigated how COVID-19 was impacting off-site modular construction practices in Alaska Native communities. Many of these communities are located off the road system and thus face not only dramatically higher costs but multiple logistical challenges in securing licensed tradesmen and construction crews and in shipping building supplies and equipment to their communities. These barriers, as well as the region’s long winters and short building seasons, complicate the construction of homes and related infrastructure projects. Historically, these communities have also grappled with inadequate housing, including severe overcrowding and poor-quality building stock that is rarely designed for northern Alaska’s climate (Marino 2015). Moreover, state and federal bureaucracies and their associated funding opportunities often further complicate home building by failing to accommodate the digital divide in rural Alaska and the cultural values and practices of Native communities.[1] It is not surprising, then, that as we were conducting fieldwork for this project, we began hearing stories about these issues and about how the restrictions caused by the pandemic were further exacerbating them. Amidst these stories, we learned about how modular home construction was being imagined as a possible means for addressing both the complications caused by the pandemic and the need for housing in the region (McKinstry 2021). As a result, we began to investigate how modular construction practices were figuring into emergent responses to housing needs in Alaska communities. We soon realized that we needed to broaden our focus to capture a variety of prefabricated building methods that are often colloquially or idiomatically referred to as “modular.” This included a range of prefabricated building systems (e.g., manufactured, volumetric modular, system-built, and Quonset huts and other reused military buildings[2]). Our further questions about prefabricated housing in the region became the basis for this annotated bibliography. Thus, while this bibliography is one of multiple methods used to investigate these issues, it played a significant role in guiding our research and helped us bring together the diverse perspectives we were hearing from our interviews with building experts in the region and the wider debates that were circulating in the media and, to a lesser degree, in academia. The actual research for each of three sections was carried out by graduate students Lauren Criss-Carboy and Laura Supple.[3] They worked with us to identify source materials and their hard work led to the team identifying three themes that cover intersecting topics related to housing security in Alaska during the pandemic. The source materials collected in these sections can be used in a variety of ways depending on what readers are interested in exploring, including insights into debates on housing security in the region as the pandemic was unfolding (2021-2022). The bibliography can also be used as a tool for thinking about the relational aspects of these themes or the diversity of ways in which information on housing was circulating during the pandemic (and the implications that may have had on community well-being and preparedness). That said, this bibliography is not a comprehensive analysis. Instead, by bringing these three sections together with one another to provide a snapshot of what was happening at that time, it provides a critical jumping off point for scholars working on these issues. The first section focuses on how modular housing figured into pandemic responses to housing needs. In exploring this issue, author Laura Supple attends to both state and national perspectives as part of a broader effort to situate Alaska issues with modular housing in relation to wider national trends. This led to the identification of multiple kinds of literature, ranging from published articles to publicly circulated memos, blog posts, and presentations. These materials are important source materials that will likely fade in the vastness of the Internet and thus may help provide researchers with specific insights into how off-site modular construction was used – and perhaps hyped – to address pandemic concerns over housing, which in turn may raise wider questions about how networks, institutions, and historical experiences with modular construction are organized and positioned to respond to major societal disruptions like the pandemic. As Supple pointed out, most of the material identified in this review speaks to national issues and only a scattering of examples was identified that reflect on the Alaskan context. The second section gathers a diverse set of communications exploring housing security and homelessness in the region. The lack of adequate, healthy housing in remote Alaska communities, often referred to as Alaska’s housing crisis, is well-documented and preceded the pandemic (Guy 2020). As the pandemic unfolded, journalists and other writers reported on the immense stress that was placed on already taxed housing resources in these communities (Smith 2020; Lerner 2021). The resulting picture led the editors to describe in their work how housing security in the region exists along a spectrum that includes poor quality housing as well as various forms of houselessness including, particularly relevant for the context, “hidden homelessness” (Hope 2020; Rogers 2020). The term houseless is a revised notion of homelessness because it captures a richer array of both permanent and temporary forms of housing precarity that people may experience in a region (Christensen et al. 2107). By identifying sources that reflect on the multiple forms of housing insecurity that people were facing, this section highlights the forms of disparity that complicated pandemic responses. Moreover, this section underscores ingenuity (Graham 2019; Smith 2020; Jason and Fashant 2021) that people on the ground used to address the needs of their communities. The third section provides a snapshot from the first year of the pandemic into how CARES Act funds were allocated to Native Alaska communities and used to address housing security. This subject was extremely complicated in Alaska due to the existence of for-profit Alaska Native Corporations and disputes over eligibility for the funds impacted disbursements nationwide. The resources in this section cover that dispute, impacts of the pandemic on housing security, and efforts to use the funds for housing as well as barriers Alaska communities faced trying to secure and use the funds. In summary, this annotated bibliography provides an overview of what was happening, in real time, during the pandemic around a specific topic: housing security in largely remote Alaska Native communities. The media used by housing specialists to communicate the issues discussed here are diverse, ranging from news reports to podcasts and from blogs to journal articles. This diversity speaks to the multiple ways in which information was circulating on housing at a time when the nightly news and radio broadcasts focused heavily on national and state health updates and policy developments. Finding these materials took time, and we share them here because they illustrate why attention to housing security issues is critical for addressing crises like the pandemic. For instance, one theme that emerged out of a recent National Science Foundation workshop on COVID research in the North NSF Conference[4] was that Indigenous communities are not only recovering from the pandemic but also evaluating lessons learned to better prepare for the next one, and resilience will depend significantly on more—and more adaptable—infrastructure and greater housing security. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. To communicate and utilize research of different options for Alaskan housing, a framework for comparison is necessary. The desigwork in this document attempts to unify our language and model for approaching modularity in housing by using a set of visualguides to compare variables and characteristics of different housing styles. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 11, 2024
  3. This study initiated an exploration into how community members, specialists in housing issues, and social scientists might collaborate to address homelessness in Alaska. Through interviews and participant observation of planning meetings and related activities, the researchers are gathering insights from design experts, community organizers, and experts working on urban-rural homelessness in Alaska. This includes gathering information about cold weather design processes and issues facing urban-rural homelessness in Alaska, as well as the identification of possible research questions that can inform the development of a grant application for a multi-year research study. The study includes in-person as well as virtual research activities. Because of geographic distances, the majority of initial research activities were conducted virtually, but in-person field site visits began to take place June 15, 2021, and subsequent trips have taken place from August 2021-onward. These research trips involve site visits, participation in meetings, and in-person interviews when possible. Phase 1: 24 initial interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders about housing insecurity in Alaska and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes interviewees from remote villages, from the Association of Alaskan Housing Authorities (AAHA), homeless advocates, designers, social scientists, engineers, and builders. Topics included myths about homelessness, homeless versus houseless terminology, research organizations, policies, impacts of pandemic, housing needs, and contrasting strategies. Analysis and synthesis with subsequent data is ongoing. 01: policy 02: interview with researcher 03: homelessness - Anchorage - rural communities - data sharing 04: design in rural communities 05: housing shortages in rural communities 06: technical issues in housing - collaborating with rural communities 07: homeless community in Fairbanks 08: history of Cold Climate Housing Research Center 09: design - homelessness - Anchorage 10: homelessness - rural/hub/urban - need for housing design repository 11: homelessness - Nome - Savoonga - designers need to visit villages 12: reverse interview - designer interviews researchers 13: homelessness - Anchorage - Bethel - housing costs 14: homelessness - rural/hub/urban spectrum - subsistence - houseless term 15: homelessness data and Bethel - impacts of pandemic - myths 16: homelessness data and Bethel - impacts of pandemic 17: ISERC (Integrated Security Education and Research Center) research 18: homelessness data and Bethel - CARES Act 19: homelessness data (gaps) and Bethel - CARES Act 20: homelessness data and Bethel 21: designer - public awareness and museum exhibits 22: veterans and community organizer 23: AAHA staff member 24: homelessness - Fairbanks - pandemic impacts on rescue missions Phase 2: 49 additional interviews were conducted with support from NSF funding (NSF 2103356: RAPID: COVID-19, Remote Ethnography, and the Rural Alaskan Housing Crisis). A meta-data description of the participants and topics are attached ('RAPID_interview_list___Descriptions'). 
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  4. Hermann, Victoria (Ed.)
    This brief draws on an ongoing remote ethnographic study examining how varying modes of housing insecurity are experienced by Alaskans. This includes: • an introduction to the term “houselessness,” which describes shifting modes of housing insecurity caused by socio-economic changes and unanticipated life events, but also housing shortages, difficulties acquiring land and permission for building new housing, and (especially for some Indigenous groups) the foreign nature of home financing. • reflections on the precarious living situations that Alaskans from rural communities’ experience across their lifetimes. • the need for further qualitative research that interrogates how assumptions about houselessness are experienced by Alaskans in different contexts, not least because the term houselessness is a proactive attempt to delimit narrowly defined and demeaning terms such as homelessness. 
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  5. This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with Alaskan engineers, builders, and housing experts on cold climate housing design in Native Alaskan communities and explores multiple levels of challenges to designing and building in remote areas. It examines how the history of land ownership and governance in Alaska shapes the imaginaries of engineers and builders working to address housing equity in the state. Specifically, we study cold climate housing projects being carried out in Alaska and compare the design of these projects to wider colonial legacies and failed housing policies. This includes examining both considerations that need to be made at the start of design and engineering projects, as well as how complexity figures into the culture of cold climate engineers and builders in Alaska. Theoretically, this paper draws on Annemarie Mol and John Law’s conceptualization of complexity as a social practice (2002), in which they argue against reductionism by calling attention to the “multiplicity” of ways in which actions and knowledge come into being. In drawing on this work, we seek to engage with multiple histories and worldviews, including dominant notions of “home” that contribute to reproducing housing insecurity and colonial legacies in rural communities (Christensen 2017). Building on this theoretical framework, we thread together a critical description of the social terrain in which engineering and building projects in remote Alaska Native communities are situated. Such situated understandings necessitate engineers and builders working on these projects to think locally while recognizing the broader contributions of home designs developed thousands of miles from the Arctic. The implications of this complexity, we argue, are important for engineering educators and students to incorporate in their approaches to design and engineering learning opportunities across multiple contexts, including engineering programs, construction, architecture, industrial design, environmental and sustainability science, and the social sciences. To address complex challenges in which these disciplines must all take part, engineers and others who make up these teams of diverse expertise must navigate layers of complexity and understand and value how social forces shape building projects. Cold climate contexts like the ones we describe here provide examples that can engage educators, learners, and practitioners. 
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  6. This paper examines how a small cadre of builders are “queering” design in Alaska. Specifically, it draws on 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork to introduce the concept of “design queering” as an analytical framework for situating the creative practices of housing designers within wider debates about housing insecurity and activism in the Panarctic. This requires drawing on queer theory (e.g., Hayward 2010; Hayward and Che 2017; Boyce, Gonzalez-Polledo, and Posocco 2020) to describe how a set of intersecting experiences inspired this small group of builders to develop a kit-of-parts prototype. This prototype is influenced by the lessons these builders learned while collaborating with rural Alaskan communities on building projects where they witnessed how contemporary construction methods pollute landscapes and force homeowners into what Michelle Murphy has termed “regimes of chemical living” (2008). Later, through their own personal research efforts they began to weave together a set of construction principles for decolonizing the building industry, both in Alaska and beyond. These principles include design for disassembly, designing for the circular economy, and the notion of home ownership as a human right. By mapping out how this prototype came into being through the “queering” of housing design, this paper explores what a “future beyond crisis” might look like from the perspective of a small group of builders who are invested in transforming the structural inequalities produced by construction industries in Alaska and beyond. 
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