Elisa M. López: Greening the Arctic
(Re)Making Cities of the Future in the Indigenous, Industrial North
Postdoctoral researcher Elisa M. López's presentation of research from her dissertation (Ph.D., 2021) and current project.
Time: Fri 2022-11-11 13.15 - 15.30
Location: KTH School of Architecture, 6th-floor conference room A608
Video link: https://kth-se.zoom.us/j/67042903633
The presentation’s focus will be two-fold. The first will be an overview of my PhD research and dissertation, “Transforming Kiruna: Producing Space, Society, and Legacies of Inequality in the Swedish Ore Fields'' (2021), which explored how space, nature, and social difference is produced and negotiated in the city of Kiruna – a Swedish industrial heartland and Sámi Indigenous homeland – in the context of mining-based displacement and resettlement. The second part of the presentation will introduce the research conducted so far on my current project at KTH Arkitekturskolan, Greening the Arctic: (Re)Making Cities of the Future in the Indigenous, Industrial North. In this project, I examine the historical and contemporary role of nature in the urban production of two Arctic New Towns – Kiruna, Sweden and Mo i Rana, Norway – originally founded to support iron mining and steel production. Today, both Kiruna and Mo are sites linked to national industrial “green” transformations, and where expansion of urban space (particularly housing for workers) is seen as key to not only local futures but national and global sustainability. Accordingly, this project asks: how do northern residents imagine their communities’ future, the role of natural resources, and non-human actors in rapidly changing environments? How do institutionalized discourses of “sustainability” or “greening” align with locally situated views of good environments for living? How do current planners understand local space, time, and nature in the futures they are designing?
Elisa López is an environmental anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher at KTH Arkitekturskolan. She holds a Master’s degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Uppsala University. As a postdoctoral Researcher at KTH, she is one-third of the Vetenskapsrådet-funded project “Utopia 2.0: Nature-Thinking in Nordic New Towns Past, Present, and Future” (2021-2025), alongside associate professor Dr. Jennifer Mack and PhD candidate Alejandra Navarrete Llopis.