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Urban teori og historie

Urban teori og historie

Issues of history and theory in urbanism cover a broad and heterogeneous field of research and teaching in urban history, urban planning history and urban theory. This multitude reflects the great variety in the way cities, urban processes and urban ways of living throughout history and geographical settings are characterised and also continually change. 

Urban theory is in itself is a highly heterogeneous field of knowledge that has developed from various academic disciplines within the social sciences (especially urban geography and urban sociology) and humanities as well as urbanism and planning. Within all such disciplines urban theories are outcomes of systematic reflection that sharpen our understanding of cities and more specific urban issues. Contemporary urban theory represents a field of conceptual vitality that inspire the development of both research and teaching. At the Institute of urbanism and landscape urban theory is specifically taught in the Master program’s elective courses. More specific issues of urban theory are also included in the institute’s foundation level courses and in a selection of master studios. When it comes to research, urban theory both constitutes a research topic in itself, i.e. as social science and humanities based urban studies of both empirical and more theoretical kinds, as well as gives important input to multi-disciplinary urban research projects. In recent years researchers at the institute have carried out multi-disciplinary research on issues of urban transformation, gentrification and the network city, to mention a few important research subjects in which urban theory has had invaluable imprint. Many of the institute’s PhD-projects in the Global South (Africa and China) have also benefited from input from urban theory and urban studies. 

Much the same role as urban theory has for promoting theoretical understanding and perspectives, the sub-disciplines of urban history and urban planning history has for fostering historical understanding and perspectives at the institute. The fields of urban history and urban planning history both constitute research topics in their own terms as well as represent important components of teaching.  The latter especially goes for the institute’s foundation level courses and a selection of Master’s level elective courses. Furthermore perspectives on urban history and urban planning history are included into a selection of master studios in terms of contextual input and background. When it comes to research focus Norwegian planning history has, and continues to be, an area of priority, though also international perspective are covered, as in the institute’s Global South programs.
An important future challenge at the institute will be to create better dialogue between the many urban sub-disciplines and -topics that are developed in research and teaching at the institute. This also goes for what appears to be a broadening of urban research contexts in terms of geography and location. One challenge in that respect will be to create better conceptual platforms for comparative inquiry.