This is Kiruna, a small northern Swedish mining community. The 18,000 residents here are facing a particular conundrum that has them —ahem —between a rock and a hard place. You see, their mining livelihood depends on the rich veins of iron ore dotting the area, but digging deeper tunnels to harvest more of that resource would essentially collapse their town by leaving the surface too unstable to support its buildings. So what did this community decide to do? Move down the road!
Interestingly, it actually gives these city planners an amazing opportunity: to custom design their new town. They've made an plan that will happen over the course of 85 years (yes, 85!) and result in a more walkable and organized town. The sprawling town will move just a few miles east and the city center will now be more accessible and efficient while allowing miners to drill where they need to.
Here's the 85-year plan:
Clearly, some buildings will be sacrificed, but there are plans to save selected structures like the clock tower and a 1912 church. Those chosen buildings will be taken apart and reassembled in the new location. And, smartly, they established a depot where residents can recycle or swap building materials like wood, glass and metal during the transition.
Here's a projection of the new downtown. Not too shabby.
Read more at The Atlantic.