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Malmfältens kultur
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Urban Heritage Environments - Heritagisation in Urban Transformation Processes

Published: 16 March 2012

The built environment is a significant part of the cultural heritage. A variety of heritage values may be emphasised when defining the built cultural heritage, where value assessments tend to shift over time.

In the research project Urban Heritage Environments – Heritagisation in Urban Transformation Processes, we study heritagisation in the built environment, and analyse processes in which buildings and built environments are transformed into cultural heritage. The project focuses on heritagisation in urban transformations and regenerations.

Heritagisation is studied in a spatial planning context, since the urban planning practice needs to respond to a diversity of heritage values attributed to buildings and urban structures. The aim is to strengthen heritage values in spatial planning in order to develop sustainable and attractive living environments.

The main objective is to develop methods to record and analyse the interaction between various character and shifting scales and levels of heritage environments, to serve as clarifying basic knowledge for cooperation between stakeholders in urban development processes.

Research questions in the project are: What methods can be developed to present and strengthen the built cultural heritage in big scale urban transformations? How is the built environment conceptualised as cultural heritage and how are heritage values documented and presented in planning processes? In what way are heritage values transformed due to tendencies in the society and changes in the urban structure? How has built cultural heritage been managed in urban transformations in relation to identified heritage values?

The research is conducted as a qualitative multiple case study and draws on theories such as heritagisation, actor-network theory (ANT) and discourse analysis. The cases include the on-going urban transformations of Kiruna and Malmberget, towns in the northernmost part of Sweden that are affected by subsidence due to mining activities. Also, European examples of built cultural heritage affected by urban transformations and regenerations will be scrutinised and compared with the Swedish cases.

The project is designed as scientific interdisciplinary study between conservation and urban planning. The research team consists of Kristina L Nilsson, professor in Architecture at Luleå University of Technology, Ola Wetterberg, professor in Conservation at University of Gothenburg and Jennie Sjöholm, PhD student in Architecture at Luleå University of Technology.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas.