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Moving Kiruna: A community reinventing its city

Public lecture of the LSE Cities public lectures series hosted by LSE Cities

The city of Kiruna, in the north of Sweden, is subsiding due to land deformation caused by mining activity at Kirunavaara on the western border of the city. The city is about to undergo one of the biggest urban transformations of our time; in a project financed by the mining company and municipality the entire city will be relocated approximately two miles east over the course of the next century.

Swedish practice White Arkitekter won an international competition for the relocation of the city in 2013 and earlier this year the first phase of their 100-year strategy broke ground.

The relocation of Kiruna is a huge challenge, provoking anxiety and anticipation among its 18,200 citizens. It is also an unparalleled opportunity for Kiruna to transform itself into a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable city. White’s vision for the transformation of Kiruna will take place in phases with the aim to create a sustainable model city, a city with a diverse economy that is less dependent on the world market for iron ore and a city which better serves it diverse and thriving community. The new Kiruna will offer residents a better place to live whilst transposing the character, familiarity and sense of place of the Kiruna they know.

White’s team includes architects, urban planners, researchers and social anthropologists working together to forge a meaningful dialogue with the residents of Kiruna about the future of their city.

Krister Lindstedt, Partner at White and Lead Architect on Kiruna and Viktoria Walldin, Social Anthropologist, White, presented the vision for this major transformation focusing on the cultural, economic and social dimension of master-planning the relocation of an entire city.


  • Krister Lindstedt

    Krister Lindstedt is a partner at White Arkitekter and has 30 years of experience as a practising Architect SAR/MSA and an Urban Planner.

  • Viktoria Walldin

    Viktoria Walldin is one of the leading social anthropologists of the built environments in Sweden and a specialist on social sustainability at White Arkitekter.

  • Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He sits on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, is a Council Member of the Royal College of Art and Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation. He was Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006 and curator of the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern in 2007. Burdett has been on architectural juries for high-profile projects including Tate Modern, London’s Aquatic Centre, Rothschild Bank Headquarters, Holland Green and Elizabeth House and has worked on major regeneration projects across Europe and the USA, including the 8-million sq ft redevelopment around Penn Station in New York City. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List.