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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 at LSE and Director of the Urban Age and LSE Cities, a global centre of research and teaching at LSE which received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2016-18. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board and was Director of the Venice International Architecture Biennale and Curator of the Global Cities Exhibition Tate Modern in London. He has previously been a member of the UK Government Airport Commission (2012-2015) and a member of UK Government’s Urban Task Force. In 2014, Burdett was a Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University (2010-2014). Alongside his academic activities, Burdett acts as a consultant to national and city governments, private companies and philanthropic agencies. He was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the 2012 London Olympics and Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism, Mayor of London (2001-2006). He is co-editor of ‘Shaping Cities in an Urban Age’ (2018), ‘The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century’ (2017), ‘Living in the Endless City’ (2011) and ‘The Endless City’ (2007). Burdett was appointed CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to urban design and planning. Other trusteeships: Norman Foster Foundation.