LB°24 Partners

Stadshustorget i Kiruna

Kiruna Stadshus. Foto: Henning Larsen Hufton + Crow.

Luleåbiennalen 2024 visar platsspecifika verk av konstnärerna Jenny Nordmark, Lena Stenberg och Daniel de Paula i Kirunas nya stadskärna.

Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost municipality, is amid one of the world's most audacious urban relocation efforts driven by ground subsidence, deformation, and expanding mining activities, with the entire town centre presently shifting approximately 3 kilometres to the east. By 2035, around 6,000 residents will have transitioned to new housing, and historically significant buildings have been and will be relocated, a complex process involving lifting, moving, and reconstructing structures.

At the core of these transformations is Kiruna's iron ore mine, the world's largest underground mine, owned by LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag), a Swedish state-owned mining company. Established in 1900, LKAB founded the town and is now Europe's largest iron ore producer. The town's relocation is funded by LKAB to sustain mining operations. Additionally, Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals has been recently found beneath Kiruna. These minerals are crucial to sustainable technologies, and the exploitation of Kiruna’s mine can ensure the EU's self-sufficiency in these minerals.

Kiruna's intricate urban transition promises modernised infrastructure while raising concerns about disrupting established social networks. Additionally, this ongoing relocation has historical echoes, as the mine's inception displaced two Sámi villages from their grazing land. The town’s rich history and the unfolding processes encapsulate and resonate with the conceptual framework of the biennial, On the threshold of 1:1.