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Placemaking and Climate Change Migration

James Miller
Assistant Professor, Canadian-American Studies, Salish Sea Studies, Huxley College


Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 4:30pm

Climate change forced displacement and resettlement is becoming a pressing topic as the impacts of sea level rise, drought, and severe tropical storms increasingly impact communities’ livelihoods. As communities and entire nations are forced to resettle, how will basic social and cultural structures be maintained? The transportation of resilient socio- cultural patterns becomes essential for maintaining the health and well-being of a community. Thus, the investigation of the dialectic relationship between culture and the built- environment helps understand how to support displaced communities through migration. Understand how knowledge systems are applied in placemaking and the barriers that hinder the continuity of these patterns within receiving communities will help lead toward more inclusive urbanism and more sustainable community development.

Photo of James Miller

James Miller is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Indigenous Studies with a joint appointment in Canadian-American Studies, Salish Sea Studies and Huxley College of the Environment. A Kanaka Maoli scholar, architect, and urbanist, James runs a design lab, ’Ike Honua, centering Indigenous knowledge in building resilient communities through architectural and planning frameworks. Under the lens of climate change adaptation, James Miller’s research investigates the role of Indigenous Design Knowledge in the creation of culturally supportive environments through climate migration. Currently, James is investigating the transboundary placemaking of Indigenous communities from the Marshall Islands and the intersection of Oceanic Indigenous knowledge in building community resilience. Miller’s scholarship provides a space for Indigenous knowledge systems tied to the production of the built-environment to be recognized within fields dominated by western-centric world views. He holds a PhD in Sustainable Architecture from the University of Oregon with specializations in cultural sustainability and Indigenous design knowledge.


This talk is co-sponsored by the WWU Center for Canadian-American Studies and the WWU Salish Sea Institute.


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