The Project

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Project leader, Torgrim Sneve Guttormsen
The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Hertage Research (NIKU)  Tlf: +47 90899037


It is well known that cities are constantly changing. As such, cities are composed of added historic layers that, over time, transform into heritage which merits conservation. Within the conservation process, heritage constitutes an inherent dynamic and transformative urban element. However, fragmented heritage structures targeted by urban strategies, often lose the opportunity to offer urban planning a sustainable source for cultural values as these pose difficulties for practitioners and users to agree on what is to be protected.


To address this challenge, DEEP CITIES (CURBATHERI) proposes an approach in which historical transformation is a value which we need to sustain. In this way, the needs for change and new cultural imprints in the city are addressed through its own deep historic continuity. To achieve this, DEEP CITIES (CURBATHERI)’s main objective is to develop a management toolbox that considers historical urban transformation as a source of heritage values that will enable decision makers to better understand the deep history of the place. This toolkit is based on cross-cutting research for comparable analysis in Norway, UK, Italy and Spain that integrates conceptual solutions defined by participatory approaches, online and offline, through innovative digital heritage modelling.

The toolbox is expected to facilitate the conceptualization of heritage values among stakeholders for the prioritization of best planning solutions. Both the theoretical and practical contributions of the project aim to stimulate reflection on the choices on how to use urban heritage affected by the historical transformation in urban planning. All in all, using these choices as a tool for enabling dialogue will stimulate reflection on how to make room for different ways of implementing time and temporality in future cities.


Presentation of the project


Expected Impacts


Presentation of the project

• Sustainability: Creating sustainable urban environments through heritage, with wight on not only economic but also social sustainability.

• Deep Cities: how historical transformation or urban change can be a resource for a stakeholder inclusive and conscious urban planning practice with cultural heritage.

• CURBATHERI aims - innovative uses of digital technologies for the operationalization of a plural vision of heritage for the design of desirable cities.

• The toolbox is expected to facilitate the conceptualization of heritage values among stakeholders for the prioritization of best planning solutions.

• The creative process for a toolbox draws from cross disciplinary expertise and collaboration between partners and transnational practical experience

• in selected case studies across four European countries (Norway, UK, Spain, and Italy). It is expected to enhance the leveraging character of heritage in urban management systems in a culturally diverse Europe.


Deep Cities Book

Kalliopi Fouseki, Torgrim Sneve Guttormsen, Grete Swensen, 2019, Heritage and Sustainable Urban Transformations, A 'deep cities' approach, Chapter 1, 1-15,


Research Hub and Deep Cities


1. To advance knowledge of historical transformation and ideas of preservation related to urban change.

2. To identify factors that enable or prohibit sustainable transformation of historic urban areas over time.

3. To develop a conceptual and communicative model for the identification of factors that facilitate and/or constraint participatory practices in urban planning processes.

4. To develop an online toolbox that strengthens the function of deep cities in planning for sustainable cities.

5. To develop practical guidelines for long-term mediating dialogic platforms between stakeholders and bureaucracies in heritage management and urban planning practices which include public participatory knowledge and experience.


Expected Impacts

• new conceptual model

• practical application of systemic and dynamic approaches

• social sustainability through people-centered participatory methodologies

• improve management practices

• digital visualization technologies & cross-cutting transnational platform for local European managers
and communities

• guidelines and recommendations to EU conservation policy and local management bureaucracies

• dialogue and dissemination between stakeholders & solutions that promote predictable planning process



Click here to download the project presentation: JPI Presentation of Curbatheri – Deep Cities



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