This project, “Co-Designing Energy Transitions with Indigenous Peoples,” focuses on developing principles and processes of co-designing energy infrastructure to meet the needs of Indigenous communities and address issues of sustainability. Current infrastructure including housing, government offices, schools and nursing stations on First Nations reserves and in many northern communities are, in large measure, culturally, socially and economically unsustainable. They depend on expensive and non-renewable energy sources such as diesel, propane and natural gas that also degrade Indigenous land and waterscapes. Much energy transition research addresses the technical dimensions of alternative energy production, but research is also needed to understand how such technologies can be developed to work well within particular socio-economic and cultural contexts.
The disciplines of Native American and Indigenous Studies and Design and Architecture, especially decolonizing and feminist methodological approaches within those, can contribute to a paradigm shift in how infrastructure in Indigenous communities is imagined, planned, constructed, and managed. By networking and collaborating with other FES research teams, this project will also enhance their understanding and consideration of the societal end-points of their technological innovations.