Äänekosken biotuotetehdas ja yhdyskunnan muutos
This article studies the transformation of the forest-industrial locality of Äänekoski in Finland. The developments following the recent construction of a huge Metsä Fibre ‘bioproduct’ mill, producing pulp and a variety of new products from side-streams, are scrutinised. We examine how restructuring of the mill site and the town itself has taken place and how Äänekoski as a locality has been able and aims to renew itself. We base our study on the ‘new localities’ concept and approach the locality as an assemblage that is shaped by elements with material and expressive roles, territorialising and deterritorialising forces, coding and decoding, and relations of exteriority. In the early 2010s, the town was a deprived area suffering from mill closures and dramatic job losses. The bioproduct mill brought a lot of positive publicity and hopes for new growth. Local government put efforts into recoding the locality and improving its environment materially in order to generate a more positive expressive image. However, the locality and its relational position possess various deterritorialising forces and include new components that have been able to resist the recoding attempts both materially and expressively. Re-search results show that the present Äänekoski is a combination of a growing and declining locality. Its economy, built environment and reputation have improved, but a relatively poor employment situation, declining population and strong out-migration, as well as some local environmental problems, still characterise the locality. These results enable us to reach some conclusions concerning the future of Finnish single-industry localities.