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.