Medieval Research Cluster
international conference

The City in Time: Space, Culture and Heritage

Interdisciplinary conference, 2.–3 November 2021.

Main content

As our global population becomes increasingly urban, it is critical to understand the role of cities in the development of society. The City in Time brings together historians, archeologists, geographers, urban planners, and policy makers to discuss urbanization across timescales and disciplines over two days: 2–3 November.

In considering urbanization as a process, the spatial concerns of geography overlap with the temporal questions of histories as seen in the many cultural layers exhibited in the built and experienced environments of towns and cities. The first day of the conference will be concerned with fundamental topics in urban development from a range of disciplines that address both past perspectives and future challenges.

The morning of the second day follows up with a focus on urban heritage, its management and popular engagement. The last session of the conference addresses strategies for sustainable urban living in the future. The conference concludes with a round table discussion in which participants will connect and debate themes from the entire meeting.

The language of the conference is English.



Session 1: The City: Past, Present and Prospects 

How do we view urbanization as a historical and contemporary process from a range of perspectives?

Chair: Aidan Conti

09:30– 09:45Welcome by University Rector Margareth Hagen
09:45–10:30       Urban studies facing global challenges, keynote by Jennifer Robinson, Professor of Geography, University College London
10:30–11:00    Coffee
11:00–11:30    Origins of towns – historical perspectives by Geir Atle Ersland, Professor of Medieval History, University of Bergen
11:30–12:00  Prospects – geographical perspectives by Håvard Haarstad, Professor of Human Geography, University of Bergen
12:00–12:30Questions and discussion
12:30–​​​​13:30 Lunch

Urban Resilience, Vulnerability and Sustainability – Ancient Perspectives by Simon Malmberg, Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Bergen

Urban structures, space, and resilience in medieval Europe – archaeological perspectives  by Dirk Rieger, Head of Archaeology and Preservation of historical Monuments, Hansestadt Lübeck

14:30–​​​​15:00Architectural perspectives – the human and visual experience, by Petter Bergerud, Professor of Architecture, University of Bergen
15:00–​​​​15:45Questions and discussion
15:45–​​​​16:15Poster session
18:00–City walk: A visual experience of conference topics. Our guide will be professor in Medieval History Geir Atle Ersland, University of Bergen
19:00–Conference reception


Session 2: Urban heritage

How do we balance the concerns and aims of heritage management with contemporary and future development? 

Chair: Per Morten Ekerhovd

09:00–09:40Heritage visions for the cities of tomorrow: Why care? Keynote: Hanna Geiran, Director of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage

Possible strategies for urban heritage preservation? by Ingun Bruskeland Amundsen, Architect MNAL PhD

10:45–11:15Climate change adaptation in medieval towns, and how to find sustainable solutions by Johannes de Beer, Researcher, Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) 
11:15–11:45To be announced
11:45–12:15Questions and discussion

Session 3: Sustainable city

How can we imagine and develop responsible, resilient, and sustainable futures for evolving urban environments?

Chair: Anna Elisa Tryti

13:15–13:45Populism, instability, and rupture in sustainability transformations by Tarje Wanvik, Researcher of Geography, University of Bergen
13:45–14:15The politics of today shapes the city of tomorrow by Thor Haakon Bakke, Commissioner for Climate, Environment and City Development, The Municipality of Bergen
14:35–15:30Panel debate
15:30–15:45Closing words by Åslaug Ommundsen, Professor of Medieval Latin philology and Academic Director of the Medieval Research Cluster