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Antarctic cities project

Five cities around the world are recognised as Antarctic gateways: Christchurch, New Zealand; Cape Town, South Africa; Hobart, Australia; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Ushuaia, Argentina. This Antarctic connection helps to shape the cultural, political and economic aspects of these cities. The 2015 economic impact assessment of the Antarctic to the Canterbury economy was estimated at $125M.

Recently a new strategic partnership between Christchurch, Hobart and Punta Arenas was established to ‘create global custodians for Antarctica’. A multi-disciplinary, international research team from Australia, New Zealand and Chile is working with The Antarctic Office and other international partners to address this concept.

The research project, Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways, is a substantial comparative programme of study that sets out to investigate how the Antarctic gateway cities imagine their relationship with Antarctica and with each other. It also explores how best to engage citizens, particularly youth, in future programmes towards achieving Antarctic custodianship. The project employs an innovative set of tools to assess urban sustainability, governance and connectedness with Antarctica for each participant city.

Additionally, the project will design an online game to encourage young urban citizens to engage with Antarctica; to consider future scenarios and effective decision-making in order to find solutions to the future challenges faced by Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.