Cities in Transition


International conference, Chair of Heritage Conservation and Building in Existing Fabric (TU Wien) in cooperation with University of Bamberg, Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies (KDWT) and the research network UrbanMetaMapping

TU Wien, Prechtlsaal, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna


If you would like to register, please send an email with your contact information and affiliation to by 1 November 2023 at the latest. Participation is free of charge, registration is mandatory for attendance.

Committee members:

Dr. Birgit Knauer (TU Wien, Chair of Heritage Conservation)
Dr. Carmen M. Enss and Dr. Laura Demeter (University of Bamberg, Urban Meta Mapping Research Network)

„The city as a whole is a ‚monument’“. This was an assessment of the Austrian Monuments Authority in 1947, when the guidelines for the reconstruction of the city of Vienna were under discussion and the rubble clearance had not yet been entirely completed. On the other hand, while plans were being made for reconstruction, measures were also being taken to preserve the city, through a first listing of possible “historic protection areas”. Years and decades later, the first protective instruments for the conservation of urban and village ensembles were established in many European cities, in response to the increasing loss of historic building fabric.

Conservation of built heritage does not only occur through care and preservation measures and the application of protection instruments, but is evoked and influenced by different actions: through recording, documentation and the attribution of values, through the development and establishment of planning instruments, through social and professional discourses and, last but not least, through the use of visual media, through photography, film, maps and digital media. Often these processes occur in response to rapid structural changes, through targeted urban redevelopment processes, or the destruction caused by war and natural disasters. The lasting effect of these phenomena on the development of cities is particularly evident when looking back at historical processes, such as the reconstruction after the Second World War.

The interdisciplinary conference asks: Which phenomena in society, planning and heritage conservation accompanied historical transformation processes of cities and, above all, (how) did they interact? What insights can be drawn from the observation of historical processes and what can be derived from them for current developments? The focus of interest lies on historical processes of evaluation, selection, and planning in the historic building stock and the discourses of different players – individuals, institutions, or organisations – that accompanied these processes. Also to be examined are the effects of planning and conservation decisions not only on the built but also on the social structure of cities.





Welcome + Introduction (Birgit Knauer)


Panel 1: The Influence of Planning and Urban Development on the Definition and Designation of Built Heritage

John Pendlebury (Newcastle): Townscape as a Methodology of Modernity: The Plans and Practice of Thomas Sharp

Laura Demeter (Bamberg): The Systematisation of the Multi-Ethnic Historic City of Kronstadt. A Critical Analysis

Giordano Ocelli (Venice): The Erasure of the Baroque Heritage in pre-war Restorations of the Viterbo Area: The Case of San Martino al Cimino


Coffee break

Lukasz Musiaka (Lodz): Different paths of post-WWII reconstruction of the historic centres of the large cities in Poland. Examples from the Recovered Territories.

Olena Denysenko (Kyiv): The Long Way from Socialism to Neoliberalism: how Bazar and Lenin are Encountering Emptiness in Urban Space


Lunch break


Panel 2: Planning and Conservation Strategies in Times of Social and Political Upheaval

Mikolaj Getka-Kenig (Warsaw): The Road to the UNESCO List. The Historic Centre of Kraków and the Politics of National Heritage in Communist Poland (1945-1978).

Kathrin Meissner (Berlin): But you could at least leave it standing and preserve it, that’s all we want.’ Unheard and Overlooked Attempts of Negotiation about Urban Renewal in Socialist Berlin 1983/84

Jana Breßler (Kaiserslautern): “Creating visible signs for the citizens” – Genesis and impact of the Funding Programme on the Protection of Urban Architectural Heritage in the 1990s in East Germany


Coffee break


Panel 3: Economic Developments and Legal Frameworks in the Context of Heritage Processes

Sandra Guinand, Robert Musil (Vienna): Fianancialization and the Transformation of Gründerzeit Housing Stock Preservation in Vienna

Roberta Folgiero (Rome): Modernisation of the Historical Axis of Paris: La Défense from Exhibition Centre of French Post-War Industry to Business District (1950-1989)

Antonella Versaci (Enna): Planning Decisions and Conservation Strategies in France: a Critical Review


Conference dinner




Panel 4: Selective Preservation and Intentional Change. The Transformation of Cities in the Focus of the Stakeholders Involved

Friedrich Hauer, Andre Krammer (Vienna): Conserving the Unwanted? How Vienna’s Informal Fringe was Studied, Discussed and Reformed after 1945

Leila Signorelli, Alessia Zampini (Bologna): Ruins in conflict(s). Some Reflections from World War II towards contemporary issues

Carlotta Coccoli (Brescia): The Transition of the Old Carmine District of Brescia from a bad Neighbourhood to the Cultural Heart of the City. The Impact of Planning and Conservation Decisions on the Area’s Built and Social Environment in the 1970s and 1980s.


Coffee break

Zsófia Hutvagner (Fort Worth): Toxic Puddles and a Historical Marker: The Conflicting History of Fort Worth’s Trezevant Hill Neighborhood

Claudia Mayr-Veselinovic (Klagenfurt): Belgrade Preposterous or How to Implement Urban Planning when there is no Plan


Lunch break


Panel 5: Negotiation Processes and Value Debates – Built Heritage in Public and Professional Discourse

Vittorio Foramitti (Udine): The isolation of monuments in the debate on the transformations of the city of Paris in the first half of the 19th century

Marko Spikic (Zagreb): Discursive Strategies, Visions and Outcomes in the Transformation of Croatian Historic Towns, 1945-1960

Gábor Oláh (Budapest): Rescaling the ‘historic Pest’: Urban Heritage Paradigm Shifts in the Hungarian Architectural Discourse in the 1960s


Coffee break

Alexander Stark (Marburg): From an Industrial to a Service Metropolis – Municipal Promotional Films and the Rebranding of Dortmund in the Second Half of the 20th Century

Melody Robine (Paris): Artistic Experimentations and the Conservation of the Built Heritage in Bulgaria


Conclusion and final discussion


Image: Assanierungsbau in Wien, Bezirk Landstraße, mit den Resten des dafür abgebrochenen Gebäudes, um 1936, Source: Bildarchiv/Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Inv.-Nr.: L 53.882B