Uncountable climate scenarios predict a changing climate in the Arctic. Observations over the last decades show that the climate change occurs more rapidly in polar zones than in temperate zones. The consequences of climate change include an increase in temperature, melting ice shields, changed movement patterns of icebergs, increased coastal erosion due to the lack of sea ice, increased river and shore erosion, intensified wave dynamics and loads, increased storm intensity and frequency, and melting permafrost. All these factors are likely to influence the performance of existing infrastructure and will cause huge damages on coastal structures. Relocation of buildings might be necessary due to the melting permafrost and the increased threat for landslides, avalanches, and floods. If the warming trend continues, enormous costs for design, maintenance and rehabilitation of infrastructure will occur. The effects of a changing climate within the next few decades must be considered in the design of new constructions.
In addition to the harsh environment, the lack of sufficient local building material poses another challenge to the building and construction sector. Innovative methods which enable the construction to use local material for building and erosion protection measures have to be developed. Since the Arctic environment is extremely sensitive, all "imported" material must be chosen carefully and tested before using.
Detailed knowledge about the environment, the ecologically friendly handling of natural resources, and sustainable building is required. Comprehensive research is the foundation for an economical and considerate exploitation of the Arctic.