Urban sustainability and the problem of the built environment: reworking Forus Industrial Park

We are pleased to invite you to this Cities & Society seminar.

Håvard Haarstad, Professor of human geography and Director for the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen will present "Urban sustainability and the problem of the built environment: reworking Forus Industrial Park"


Cities are composed of material artefacts and infrastructures that typically change slowly and incrementally. At the same time, our ideas of what is a good city is has changed rapidly the past decades. In particular, the new planning ideals of sustainable and compact urbanism have become widespread and influential. How do we reconcile these different temporalities of cities – the inertia of materiality with the relatively fast pace of emerging planning ideals? In this presentation, I outline some theoretical perspectives that shed light on these issues (policy mobility, science and technology studies (STS), and assemblage thinking). Then I discuss the case of Forum Industrial Park in Stavanger, focusing on the historical development current attempts to transform this into a compact, ‘post‐fossil’ space. We focus on two phases: the late 1960s, following the discovery of oil, when Forus started developing into the core oil cluster in Norway, drawing on ideals from Houston and Milton Keynes; and the current preoccupation with sustainable mobility and density, drawing on ideals from compact European cities like Copenhagen. The case illustrates how the materialities of the built environment constrains attempts to develop sustainable urbanism. This opens for discussing how we can rethink sustainable urbanism in a way that better takes into account existing materialities?  

The talk is based on: Haarstad and Oseland, 2017, Historicizing Urban Sustainability: The Shifting Ideals Behind Forus Industrial Park, Norway. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(5), pp. 838-854. 


Håvard Haarstad is Professor of human geography, and Director for the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation. His research concerns urban and local sustainability. Currently he is leading the research project “European cities as actors in climate and energy transformation”, which is using multiple case studies to understand the spatiality of the policy formation process of making sustainable cities. The project studies both the networked flow of ideas about urban sustainability as well as how those ideas are implemented and become materialised in particular cities. His cases concern in particular smart city projects. He has published in Progress in Human Geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Applied Energy, Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability, among other journals. His profile can be found here: https://www.uib.no/en/persons/Havard.Haarstad.

For more information on the seminar series, please the website: http://www.sv.uio.no/iss/english/research/networks/cities-and-society

The seminar series is hosted by the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo.


Cities and Society
Published Nov. 8, 2018 2:50 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2018 2:50 PM