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Accepted Paper:

Creating an Attractive Future: Industrial Heritage Bureaucracy and Decarbonisation in Rjukan, Norway  
Osmund E. B. Grøholt (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores attempts to transform Rjukan - an industrial heritage site in Norway - into a more attractive place to live and work. I argue that heritage and climate policies conflate as local authorities try to reinvigorate Rjukan's industrial landscape and society.

Paper long abstract:

Rjukan was initially designed and built from scratch by a fertilizer company (Norsk Hydro) in the early 1900s. The mountainous geography and water reserves made it a suitable place to develop an industry reliant on hydroelectric power. After a longer recession period and emigration, the last fertilizer shipment was transported from Rjukan in 1991. Rjukan was inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015 with an aim to create new economic alternatives. Recently, new green industries have begun to consider establishing at Rjukan because the municipality can offer renewable hydroelectric power. The possibilities of green industries make the local municipality see the need to further boost its appeal to attract a new workforce, although the prospects of new industries are, to some degree, speculative and uncertain.

This paper explores what creating attractivity means in a context where there are possibilities for new industries to develop and political guidelines to preserve industrial material heritage. More specifically, I focus on how local bureaucrats seek to change the industrial landscape but maintain the industrial aesthetics, while at the same time drawing on policies to decarbonize society. The concept "attractivity" emerges as a central term in my ethnography as efforts to find alternatives to past industries depend on creating a pull factor and on branding the municipality. I focus in particular on one specific project that aim to merge apartments and semi-detached houses in the UNESCO area into bigger units to meet current living standards for families and thus increase attractivity.

Panel P061b
(Un-)wanted Alternatives? Negotiating Heritage in Postindustrial Environments II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -