7. April 2023

A call for papers (pdf: Deutsch, English) for the international conference

Cities in Transition

A review of historical discourses, planning decisions and conservation strategies

at the Research Department for Conservation, TU Wien, Prechtlsaal, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna.

Abstract submission deadline:

“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.

This interdisciplinary conference, realised in cooperation with the University of Bamberg (KDWT) and the research network UrbanMetaMapping 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.


This Call for Papers is intended for representatives of historical, cultural, social, and engineering disciplines whose research topics address aspects of architectural and urban history, heritage conservation or urban design and planning history. Please send a short abstract (max. 300 words) for a 20-minute presentation (English) along with a biographical note and your contact information (email, phone, affiliation) to
birgit.knauer@tuwien.ac.at by .

Notification of acceptance will be made by .

Format and conference language

The conference will be held in presence. The language of presentation and conversation (discussions) will be English.


Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna, Prechtlsaal