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Peter Hemmersam




Peter Hemmersam is a professor in urban design at the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape. He is trained as an architect and is a former partner in the architectural practice Transform. His main research interest lies in the field of urban design. He is currently undertaking research on Arctic cities, periurban landscapes of the Oslo region and placemaking. He directs the Oslo Centre for Urban and Landscape Studies.


Arctic Building and Construction – Architecture and Urban Space|Arctic City|DWELL: Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City|Future North

Publications (87)


Book chapter

Svalbard’s Urban Imaginaries

Cities and buildings are materializations of imaginaries of place. The Arctic is urbanizing, and Svalbard can help us understand how this realization takes place, and some of the diverging forms urbanization takes when translated into built form by architects and planners... Read »



The Many Ways to be Nordic in the Arctic

Architecture in Scandinavia’s Arctic north exists in a tension between place-specific approaches and globalizing and potentially homogenizing meta-narratives. Here, I will show how ‘Nordic architecture’ is constructed in the Arctic. We can start with the region’s geophysical qualities of snow and darkness... Read »


Displacement and placemaking in design studios

This article explores how placemaking took place in architectural and design studios working with migrant and displaced communities at universities in three countries. Placemaking is a dimension of architectural and urban design practice that is emulated in architectural design studios – and often takes the form of a top-down and expert-driven exercise... Read »


Arcticness and the Urbanism of the North

Arcticness (or Northernness) has been expressed in the planning and design of Arctic cities over the past century. This paper explores how the imaginary conveyed in this notion has influenced the urbanism and architecture of northern communities in different ways... Read »



Future North : Vardø

ON FUTURE NORTH → 7 1. INTO THE FUTURE – Andrew Morrison → 11 2. RUINS IN REVERSE – Janike Kampevold Larsen → 20 3. TRANSECT WALK – Peter Hemmersam → 32 4. WALKING THE HIGH WIRE – William L. Fox → 51 5. METHODS FOR PROBING FUTURES: VARDØ – Henry Mainsah → 55 6. SAVOUR THE PAST, TASTE THE FUTURE – Brona Ann Keenan and Miles Franklin Hamaker → 57 7... Read »


Future North : Svalbard

INTRODUCTION – Janike Kampevold Larsen & Peter Hemmersam → 7 1. INVENTING AND REINVENTING PLACE IDENTITY IN LONGYEARBYEN: TOWARDS A POST-MINING CITY? – Aileen A. Espíritu → 9 THE ART OF SVALBARD, MAY 23–JUNE 1, 2015 – Bill Fox → 14 2. A FLUID LANDSCAPE – Kathleen John-Alder → 19 NARRATA → 22 3... Read »


Future North : Kola

PREFACE – Janike Kampevold Larsen & Peter Hemmersam → 13 1. ENCOUNTERING KOLA – Peter Hemmersam & Janike Kampevold Larsen → 15 2. MURMANSK: A COASTAL CITY? – Aileen A. Espíritu, Ph.D. → 25 4. ENNOBLING URBAN SPACE IN THE BORDER REGION, INTERVIEW WITH MORGAN IP – Peter Hemmersam & Vlad Lyachov → 31 5... Read »

Book chapter

Disturbed Ground and Landscape Change in the Arctic

Anthropocene discourses shapes perceptions of landscape futures. This chapter reports on a visual survey and characterisation of ongoing landscape transformation in two Subarctic regions , using as a reference mechanical excavators, or ‘diggers’ – the most obvious technology for ground alteration and landscape (re)creation... Read »

Book chapter

Landscapes as Archives of the Future?

The interdisciplinary Future North project experimentally investigates the territories and landscapes of the High North or Subarctic regions of Northern Europe. It studies the relationship between people and their environments and attempts to map the ›future‹ landscapes that are developed through both social and individual agency... Read »



Future North : the changing Arctic landscapes

The changing Arctic is of broad political concern and is being studied across many fields. This book investigates ongoing changes in the Arctic from a landscape perspective. It examines settlements and territories of the Barents Sea Coast, Northern Norway, the Russian Kola Peninsula, Svalbard and Greenland from an interdisciplinary, design-based and future-oriented perspective... Read »


Arctic City

Public lecture at HafenCity University in Hamburg 10 January, 2018. Despite being remote, the Arctic is in fact home to millions of people, and the region is facing some of the most rapid urban change on the globe due to climate change, resource exploitation and geopolitical posturing. The talk will present historical trajectories and contemporary dimensions of urbanism in the circumpolar region... Read »



This book documents the joint effort of an international group of researchers and students of architecture and landscape architecture to understand the everyday Kirkenes, its life, and the thinking of the inhabitants about the town and its future. These crucial local elements inform the students so that their design proposals can better suggest ways that the future of the town could unfold... Read »

Conference paper

Challenges of the ‘Urban Digital’: Addressing interdisciplinarity and power in the planning and design of the digital city

This paper identifies and discusses a set of challenges relating to the design of digital services in policies and strategies for more liveable and sustainable cities. These challenges emerge in the meeting between the knowledge and practice fields of digital design, which deal with service and interaction design, and urbanism, which is concerned with the study, planning and design of cities... Read »

Conference paper

Disturbed Ground and Landscape Change in the Arctic

Discourses on the Anthropocene influence perceptions of landscape futures. This paper reports on a visual survey and characterisation of ongoing landscape transformation in two regions in the Arctic (including the Subarctic), using as a reference mechanical excavators, or ‘diggers’ – the most obvious technology for ground alteration and landscape (re)creation... Read »

Conference paper

Urban landscape hybrids in Arctic cities

The Arctic is urbanizing. Not just in terms of demography and economy, but also in terms of cultural evolution, changing values and lifestyle choices. The tension between colonial modernization as expressed in architecture and urban planning and indigenous ways of life is evident in many Arctic cities... Read »


Arctic Architectures

In 1968, the British/Swedish architect Ralph Erskine published an article ‘Architecture and town planning in the north’ in this journal, in which he called for a particular Arctic approach to the design of buildings and cities that is distinct from mainstream architecture due to conditions such as harsh climate, resident indigenous or sparse population and remoteness... Read »

Conference paper

Place Specific Arctic Urbanism

The planning of Arctic cities largely still happens within a modernist master-planning framework. This tendency has paradoxically persevered, as anti-urban identity discourses relating to indigenous populations have left little room for re-evaluating city design... Read »


Arctic urbanism: Kola mining towns

Arctic settlements and cities are adapting to climatic, economic, social and geo-political changes. Strategies for planning and transformation of cities do not only depend on these dynamic and emerging conditions, but also on how existing material cultures provides frames for thinking about possible urban futures... Read »


Planlægning, by og butik

Danmark har lang tradition for streng byplanmæssig styring af detailhandelen, og Svend Aukens stop for nye eksterne shoppingcentre i 1997 og den efterfølgende politik har været en stor succes i forhold til at begrænse butiksflugten til bilbyen... Read »

Book chapter

Exploring locative media for cultural mapping

Mapping is intimately related to the practice of urbanism, one that is beginning to be transformed by social and locative media. This chapter presents research in a project into the design and use of a GPS-based ‘app’ called Streetscape based on the mapping methodology of Urban Gallery (by chora)... Read »


Urban Design: The New City Center

This report is a result of a collaboration between The Foundation for Design and Architecture in Norway and the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, and the purpose was to uncover consequences of, and potentials in, shopping centre construction in small and medium sized Norwegian towns... Read »


Kjøpesentrene har kommet for å bli

Førsteamanuensis ved Arkitekthøyskolen i Oslo, Peter Hemmersam, gjør opp status for forholdet mellom kjøpesentre og tradisjonelle sentrum, peker ut hovedproblemer slik situasjonen er og har vært – og antyder en vei videre. .. Read »


Urban Design: Future City

A consensus as to how cities can meet the challenges posed by sustainability is emerging. The primary response of cities in terms of urban policy and planning can be summed up in the term ‘Compact City’. This is a strategy that is easy to envision for planners, politicians and the general public... Read »

Book chapter

Can cities be green?

Urban sustainability is often reduced to a specific set of issues packaged in the notion of ‘green city’ or ‘eco-city’. The idea of eco-city is problematic in terms of pure sustainability, but forms an important motive in urban policy. The architectural policy of Oslo emphasizes sustainability, and ‘greenness’ is a marketable quality which is exploitable in the promotion of cities... Read »


Green Urbanism

The notion of ‘green city’ or ‘eco-city’ occurs in urban planning policies in many cities. The issue of sustainability in urbanism is often reduced to a discussion of a limited range of quantifiable factors, but there are in fact not only one but many different and often competing ‘sustainability agendas’... Read »



Shopping – Integrating the Fragmented City

The article discusses the fact that much of the current urban theory describes the city as both physically and socially fragmented as a negative result of globalization and other forces, while some architects and writers adopt a somewhat more positive tone, seeing a potential for urban integration with shopping as an integrating program. .. Read »