Can a city just pack its bags, shut down its homes and relocate to another place, just like that? Looks like Sweden’s city, Kiruna is doing just that.
Called as one of the most radical urban relocations, Kiruna is a mining town. The entire livelihood of the town comes from iron ore mining. The city is also sitting on a bed of iron ore and the miners now need to dig deeper tunnels to reach the ore which could leave the ground too unstable to support the buildings.
The mining has to go on or else it could into a ghost town, with major layoffs and unemployment pushing people to other cities. Thus to prevent this exodus, the city has begun its relocation to a new site just a few miles to the east. Demolition of the buildings had already started and the result will be that in a few years from now – Kiruna will be a well-planned new city with stores, cafes, malls, town hall. The new town’s residential streets will also be surprisingly metropolitan. Residents will be concentrated in ultra-insulated (and in some cases yardless) apartments on streets arranged along an east-west axis. This plan will stretch the city into a more walkable configuration, with residents a short stroll from the forest close-by which in the ‘older’ Kiruna was very tedious to get to.
The town has given itself 85 years to retreat fully from the mine . The break between old and new will be neither sudden nor absolute; instead, as new neighborhoods are built on Kiruna’s eastern edge and old ones disappear, the town will inch eastward.
This relocation of a city could very well be a lesson for the rest of the world as many face the danger of sinking and some devastated by constant effects of climate change.