To read this content please select one of the options below:

Authenticity and relocation of built heritage: the urban transformation of Kiruna, Sweden

Jennie Sjöholm (Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 15 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how different notions about the conservation of built heritage develop in a situation of structural change that demands either the demolition or relocation of a large number of historic buildings.


The analysis is based on a case study of the on-going urban transformation of the Swedish mining town Kiruna. The investigation was based on the text analysis of urban planning documents and media reporting, which was used to distinguish stakeholders’ positions towards conservation based on authenticity aspects.


The conservation goals of the urban planning process are unclear and the stakeholders have conceptually different views regarding which parts of the town’s built heritage are of significance, which negatively affects the ability to make well informed, transparent and intelligible management decisions. Stakeholder views on the management of built heritage span from the relocation of a few, single historic buildings to maintaining the integrity of the town as a heritage site by moving a significant number of buildings.

Research limitations/implications

The Kiruna case, being exceptional because conservation in situ is impossible, has the potential to highlight the relation between single historic buildings and the integrity of an urban heritage site, as well as implications for conservation on the urban scale.


This investigation contributes to knowledge of built heritage in situations of structural change, which is of concern for planning and conservation practice. Currently, many urban areas are under pressure of transformations or destruction.



The research has been funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, Reference Number 250-2013-1238.


Sjöholm, J. (2017), "Authenticity and relocation of built heritage: the urban transformation of Kiruna, Sweden", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 110-128.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles