Miles Gertler and Karan Manchanda
Largely undeveloped, Canada’s Arctic is one of the last pristine environments on the surface of the Earth. Serendipitously, natural year-round freezing of the Passage has, until now, protected the delicate ecosystem from destructive industrial forces. But how will it survive given the predicted diversion of traffic from the Panama canal once it is navigable in an ice-free season, and how might the region benefit from this lucrative source of income?
The Arctic waters will remain frozen in the winter for at least the next hundred years. If the Canada is able to leverage the Passage as a trade route against the difficulty of its year-round navigability, it has the opportunity to assert its sovereignty, protect the local environment, and benefit economically. It may be the case that a positional advantage is determined by environmental factors which appear to be the most debilitating to the route’s operation.
The extreme conditions of the site actually offer a means for its control.
We envision a Liquid Highway through deep draft straits that facilitates year-round shipping. Carved by a fleet of ice-breakers, ‘soft’ interventions piggyback onto the ‘hard,’ thereby negotiating stakeholders’ claims for mutual benefit at the scale of a nation.