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The Great Divide:
Citizen Science in the Anthropocene at the Columbia Icefield
Andrej Iwanski
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At the dawn of the Anthropocene humankind’s ability to influence its geophysical surroundings through processes—often times technological and industrial—has brought to the forefront the inextricably intertwined character of the natural environment and human culture. At the heart of this often reckless relationship stands Alberta, Canada. Located in Jasper and Banff National Parks at the hydrographic apex of the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Icefield—an icon of historic, pristine Canadian wilderness—is now undergoing immense change. The icefield’s shifting environmental systems have generated new spatial and temporal relationships between humanity and nature. As a result, a new protagonist has gained prominence: the citizen scientist. The research and explorations of the thesis project culminated in the form of four surveying stations. These are located in accordance with the environmental systems present at the Columbia Icefield: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and lithosphere. These conceptual architectural constructions react and respond to shifting landscapes, acting as surveying stations that illuminate characteristics and qualities of the site while additionally serving as a destination and place of refuge for the future citizen scientist.

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