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Creating sustainable development in the Arctic: abandoned extraction sites as assets for new futures
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. (Resource Exctraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6461-7734
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The impacts of climate change on polar cultural heritage have received an increasing attention in recent years within the field of heritage research. Less attention has been place on other processes of global change affecting the Arctic, where cultural heritage plays an important role – industrialization and de-industrialization. In recent years the circumpolar Arctic has been affected by a global mining boom, triggered by high world market prices on minerals as well as notions of the Arctic as a future arena for resource extraction in the wake of climate change. This mining boom is affecting communities in much of the Arctic region and holds a central place in debates about sustainable development there. A central item of these discussions focus on the question of how to handle the physical remains of mining sites once the boom is over and the activities have seized. The attitudes to abandoned mining sites differ across the Arctic. In some cases they have been perceived as unwanted legacies of problematic pasts, making land reclamation a preferred strategy. In other cases abandoned mines and associated infrastructures have been re-defined as cultural heritage and have become anchor points for local identities and a resource for new economies.

The objective of this paper is to present preliminary results from a research project aiming to explain these differences in order to understand under which circumstances abandoned large-scale resource extraction sites can be turned into resources for new futures in post-industrial Arctic communities. The focus is on the European Arctic, but in a circumpolar and bi-polar comparative perspective. The main questions are: how have different groups of actors interpreted and used physical remains of abandoned resource extraction operations, and why? Which policies are needed to turn abandoned resource extraction sites into resources for constructing new futures in the Arctic? By addressing these questions, the field of industrial heritage studies can make an important contribution to the discussion on sustainable futures in the Arctic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lille, France, September 2015, 2015.
Keyword [en]
Industrial Heritage, Cultural Heritage, Industrial Heritage Research, Mining, Norrbotten, Qullissat, Greenland, Svalbard
National Category
History of Technology History Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-182581OAI: diva2:904837
TICCIH congress Industrial Heritage in the Twenty-First Century, New Challenges
Mistra Arctic Sustainable DevelopmentSustainable Communities and the Legacies of Mining in the Nordic Arctic
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchNordic Council of Ministers

QC 20160226

Available from: 2016-02-19 Created: 2016-02-19 Last updated: 2016-02-26Bibliographically approved

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