Architecture for attractive urban environments

LKAB Contact Mikael Westerlund    LTU Contact

This research aims to investigate and gain relevant knowledge about professional and non-professional perspectives on the architecture of attractive urban and residential environments. Research is focused on smaller urban settlements such as towns and villages and their ability to attract new inhabitants. The aim is to be able to apply this knowledge in urban development and transformational projects.

In the shadow of major urban centres, smaller settlements in peripheral areas struggle to attract new citizens. Even if local labour markets are flourishing and able to offer well-paid employment, people often do not settle permanently. This situation is the reality for several mining settlements in Sweden, often located in peripheral regions with sparse populations and lower social and commercial services than larger cities. Today mining companies are looking for new employees and the degree of fly-in/fly-out staff is increasing. Both the local authorities and mining companies want to increase the number of permanent settlers in order to improve commercial and societal services, increase tax bases and raise the local commitment among employees.

The intension of this research is to investigate and gain relevant knowledge about how urban and residential environments can be shaped in order to attract fly-in/fly-out staff to settle in these places. This will be investigated through the Living Lab-methodology; where together different users of a city explore the possibilities, experiment with solutions and play a part in the investigative process of ‘the attractive city and residential environment’. User views on the concepts of ‘attractive’ and ‘innovative’ will be compared with what professional architects and planners present as attractive and innovative urban and residential environments. The study will be conducted in Gällivare and Kiruna, two towns that are facing extensive urban transformation due to the mining industry. The welfare of the companies and the mineral resources available provides a stable work situation for many years to come and the number of fly-in/fly-out’s employees today represents a significant part of the workforce. Both give incentive to investigate how these cities can attract the new and existing workforce to settle in these mining towns.