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The Northbothnian Technological Megasystem: Urbanization, territorial metabolism and political ecologies
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Architecture and Water.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3617-2309
2018 (English)In: Urbanism & Urbanization: On Reproduction: Re-Imagining the Political Ecology of Urbanism / [ed] Michiel Dehaene, David Peleman, Ghent University, 2018, p. 87-102, article id -Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Planetary Urbanization (Brenner, Shmid, 2011) opens up a radical shift in analysis from urban form to urbanization process, as suggested through the radical hypothesis of the complete urbanization of society, put forward by Henri Lefebvre four decades ago. This situation means, that even spaces that lie well beyond the traditional city cores and suburban peripheries, have become integral parts of the worldwide urban fabric. Political-economic spaces can no longer be treated as if they were composed of discrete, distinct, and universal “types” of settlement.

Under such scope, in every region of the globe, erstwhile “wilderness” spaces are being transformed and degraded through the cumulative socio-ecological consequences of unfettered worldwide urbanization. In this way, the world’s oceans, alpine regions, the equatorial rainforests, major deserts, the arctic and polar zones, and even the earth’s atmosphere itself, are increasingly interconnected with the rhythms of planetary urbanization at every geographical scale, from the local to the global. These spaces become critical for urban development (and moreover, for urban political ecology debate). For that, Sweden is a paradigmatic case study where the urbanization of the southern part of the country is sustained upon an extremely intensive appropriation of natural resources from the North (Sörling 1988), (Tidholm 2014).

Norrboten, the northernmost land of Sweden, is a paradigm for territorial metabolism where a complex combination system of mining industry urbanization shaped the area. Thus becoming the connecting concept of Norrbotten Technological Megasystem NTM (Hansson,  1990) [fig.1], it’s key actors: natural resources, mining, transport, H2O, energy, military infrastructure, mining communities, the indigenous Sami. Today the nature of industry remains the same, the social, political and economic leverage NTM exerts over the region is absolute; the economic profit, financial stability and wealth of the Swedish state take precedence over the environment. However, much of the industrial paradigm that underpinned its implementation is now under a severe change; as the global economy is facing an era of human development where resources, metals, minerals and energy will be more critical than ever, a renewed urban and territorial framework is urgently needed. The set of relations between environment and communities is currently under an unprecedented revision based on socio-environmental reflections.

This short paper will pose for discussion how heavy territorial infrastructure respond to the changing metabolism that is following after the short-term appropriation of resources so characteristic of industrial development in northern Europe. By critical graphic comparative analysis and trans-scalar research by design (Barcelloni & Cavalieri, 2015), the thesis will empirically investigate these processes to be able to cope with the debate on infrastructural adaptation through political ecology perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ghent University, 2018. p. 87-102, article id -
Keywords [en]
Territorial Metabolism, Urbanization, Northern Sweden, Political Ecology
National Category
Architecture
Research subject
Architecture
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-67630ISBN: 9789090308418 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-67630DiVA, id: diva2:1182478
Conference
9th International PhD Seminar in Urbanism and Urbanization, Ghent, 7-9 February 2018
Available from: 2018-02-13 Created: 2018-02-13 Last updated: 2018-05-16Bibliographically approved

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