Hobart as an Antarctic City: Thinking Beyond the “Gateway”

Prof. Elizabeth Leane2, Dr Hanne Nielsen1, Dr Chloe Lucas3, Assoc. Prof. Juan Francisco Salazar4, Ms Doita Datta1

1School of Humanities, University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

2Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

3School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

4Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

 

The five so-called “Antarctic Gateway Cities” of Hobart (Australia), Christchurch (New Zealand), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina) and Cape Town (South Africa) share a geographic proximity to the far south. They are recognized as the main international points of departure to and from the Antarctic region, as all significant engagement with Antarctica currently goes through these cities. However, this status is both politically fragile and economically uneven. The “Antarctic Cities” Linkage Project, of which this presentation forms a part, examines ways in which these cities might act not just as thoroughfares but also as urban centres that embody the cosmopolitan values associated with Antarctica itself: international cooperation, scientific innovation and ecological protection.

This presentation focusses particularly on Hobart. At a time when state and federal governments are financially and rhetorically reinforcing this city’s Gateway status, we report on a survey of citizens’ own sense of connectedness to the Antarctic region. We explore the implications of the survey results for current plans to enhance Hobart’s connections with the region to its south and suggest how the city’s Antarctic identity may be further fostered.

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