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  1. 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
  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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