Photo:  White arkitekter and Ghilardi+Hellsten

Photo: White arkitekter and Ghilardi+Hellsten

City of Kiruna relocated to the east

In 2013, the Swedish firm White Arkitekter won an international competition for the relocation of Kiruna – an Arctic town in the very north of Sweden. Kiruna 4-ever is a unique project and involves every citizen of Kiruna who is affected by the move. This is a project where a systems approach has been taken to its extreme.

Last week Erik Linn, architect and Head of Urban Design at White Arkitekter presented the project at a luncheon at the Swedish residence in London. It was fascinating to learn more about this project – the move of a complete town down the road. It was great that Christer Larsson, architect and Director of City Planning in Malmö could be present at the luncheon. Earlier this year Larsson was appointed as a special adviser to the Swedish Government on architecture and design. Present at the lunch were also representatives from academia, think tanks, industry and local government.

At the luncheon we did not only discuss Kiruna, but also human centric city development. The world’s cities are currently home to 4 billion people. By 2050 this number is projected to reach 6 billion.

All major cities struggle with the challenges of rapid growth, climate change, unemployment and ageing populations. If cities can harness their enormous economic power and use their ability to influence their large populations and societal structures, they are well placed to take the lead in moving the world towards a more sustainable future.

Both London and Stockholm are facing major challenges and in both cities we see innovative ways being adopted to tackle challenges. To have an opportunity to learn from each other was most valuable.

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