An entire town in Sweden is sinking—and has to relocate. But this pop-up solar-powered sauna that doubles as a community think tank is not only bringing the town together, but also attracting more visitors to the Arctic Circle.
Kiruna, Sweden is sinking. After decades of iron ore mining, the Arctic town’s foundation has become unstable. The solution? Move the entire town three kilometers (two miles) east, and continue mining for another 20 years.
The decision was not an easy one to make or execute. On one hand, it was completely necessary: the Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag underground iron ore mine, the largest and most modern of its kind in the world, is responsible for the existence and livelihood of Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town. It produces over 26 million tons of iron ore each year; that’s 90% of all the iron in Europe, and enough of it to build six Eiffel Towers a day. The mine employs a significant portion of the local population, and they live in symbiosis, says Kiruna deputy mayor, Niklas Siren. “There is no town without the mine and no mine without the town.”
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