How to develop inclusive, sustainable urban spaces in the European Arctic and beyond: insights from Kiruna

Mattsson, Moa / Jacqueline Götze
External Publications (2022)

published on thearcticinstitute.org, 22.11.2022

Volltext/Full text

At first glance, cities in the European Arctic differ from a traditional framing that is mostly shaped by southern discourses. Most of the remote cities have less inhabitants, need to adapt to a harsh climate and are confronted with impacts of the climate crisis, infrastructural challenges, outmigration and structural transformations. Moreover, many cities in the European Arctic were built on traditional Indigenous land and represent the nexus of urbanisation, (resource) extraction and colonialism. However, similar to cities in other parts of the world, also cities in the European Arctic are home to a diverse population: people with different professions, people from more southern regions, migrants from other parts of the world, youth and elderly people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people live altogether and shape the identities of the city. However, this ideal of multiple identities and urban inclusiveness is contested. By exploring the case of Kiruna in Northern Sweden, this paper’s objective is twofold: Following an interdisciplinary approach through combing theoretical and conceptual lenses from engineering and social sciences, we firstly examine critically in how far different identities are visible and tangible in the selected city. Secondly, we argue for just and inclusive structures that are open to minorities’ identities as stated by the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development for achieving a more culturally sensitive sustainable urban development. This paper makes a strong case to reflect on urban colonial legacies and local impacts from the ongoing green transition in the European Arctic (and beyond), stress the relevance of the integration of different knowledges for sustainable (urban) development and establish inclusiveness as vital part of a just transition.

About the author

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist

Götze

Further experts

Asimeng, Emmanuel Theodore

Urban Planning, Sustainability 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Droste, Leonie Marie

Political Science 

Gronen, Maria Elisabeth

Social Science 

Gutheil, Lena

Cultural Anthropology 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören

Economy 

Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Climate and sustainable development policy 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Jauregui Fung, Franco

Architecture, Urban Agglomerations 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Löpelt, Sarah

International environmental and development policy 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Schwachula, Anna

Sociology 

Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

Wehrmann, Dorothea

Sociology 

Weinlich, Silke

Political Science 

Zumegen, Lisa

Urban Transformation