It’s just the way things are, isn’t it? When you go on holiday, you take your clothes with you and when you change home, you take your furniture with you. Is it so surprising then that when the inhabitants of Kiruna in Sweden move, they are planning to take their town with them?
This spring work will begin to move the country’s northernmost town two miles east. Over the next 20 years, some 20,000 residents will move into new homes around a new town centre.
So, why the big move and why now? Well, the town’s mine is gradually swallowing the old community. In 2004 the state owned mining company informed local government of the need to dig deeper into a hill outside the town warning that this may result in ground beneath town centre buildings giving way. A decade later, it’s happening.
Developers have been looking for evidence of how other countries have handled town moves in the past but have failed to discover anything on the same scale. One of the most surprising aspects of the task involves building new homes in the old town before work commences on the new town. These homes are needed to house the 800 plus workers required to build the new centre.
Situated 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Kiruna is in perpetual daylight from May to August and perpetual darkness from December to late January. Temperatures stay below -15C (5F) for much of the year and there is snowfall all year round. Nearby is the world famous Icehotel and the hope is that the new town will draw some of the tourists that visit the area each year, bringing even greater prosperity to the region.