Rethinking Settlement in the Anthropocene
By 2030, the arctic city of Kiruna, Sweden will have relocated some 8,000 of its 18,000 inhabitants, forcing people out of their neighborhoods to make room for the continuous excavations of a valuable iron ore vein that runs directly beneath their homes. Less than 100 years from now, the entire town will have disappeared, as the ground will have cracked and subsided several meters below its current level. Displaced by the same mining industry that led to its foundation, Kiruna is but one case in a world obsessed with consumption and resource exploitation. Architecture has become too quick to abandon landscapes and buildings, while the alarming and visible consequences of climate change are on the rise. As grounds and atmospheres have turned undependable, structures that disrupt other species—living or nonliving—are built in favor of only one constituency: humankind. These architectures tend to privilege normative notions of cities and buildings, simultaneously disavowing relationships to contexts, and traces of the past.