Urban Narratives: Rebuilding and Rebranding European Cities from the 20th Century until Present Day

Conference at the Herder-Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe and online

October 19–20, 2023


Call for Papers: UNC2023-CfP.pdf

„Kołobrzeg – The Polish Biarritz at the verge of glory” (Polish) Kurier Polski, June 7, 1958, Pressesammlung Herder-Institut, PA 0335
German: “Kolberg is a rubble and ghost town” Neue Rhein Zeitung, April 7, 1959, Pressesammlung Herder-Institut, PA 0335


Submission of abstracts:
Notification of acceptance:
↳ online participation:
↳ on site participation:

The participation is free of charge.


“Fall in love with Warsaw”, “Dresden – amazingly different”, “Liverpool. Do it your way” these are just a few examples of contemporary promotional slogans of European cities that suffered extreme damage due to World War II and therefore had to reinvent themselves from almost scratch.

Throughout history, city planners, architects, inhabitants, and politicians had to respond and adjust to caesuras caused by humankind (war) or forces of nature (extreme climate phenomena). Both manmade and natural destruction pose a threat to a city’s structure and appearance but can also be a chance for its renewal. The third conference of the UMM research consortium examines narratives of European cities and their representation on maps, in texts, and on social media. Some of the question we would like to discuss:

  • How do manmade and natural conflicts affect cityscapes, self­image, and perceptions of a town?
  • What are the current challenges for European cities? How do they influence the city’s narrative and self­branding in different media?
  • What are the current challenges for disciplines dealing traditionally with urban changes (critical cartography, urban planning, architecture, heritage and conservation)?
For more information please see the CfP or contact elisa-maria.hiemer@herder-institut.de


The conference takes place at the Herder Institute for Historical Research on Eastern Europe,
Gisonenweg 5–7, 35037 Marburg, Germany. Marburg has an IC/ICE stop and is located 100 km from the Frankfurt Airport.

You can participate by attending the conference in person in Marburg or online via Zoom.

Henselvilla und Neubau Herder-Institut
Województwo Gdańskie, scale 1:300 000, 1949 Instytut Kartograficzny i Wydawniczy “Glob” J. Chodorowicza; Drukarnia “Fortuna” (Kraków), public domain