Urban transformations

Climate change and urban transformations
Cities are increasingly recognized as critical actors in climate and energy transformations. Inter-urban collaboration, urban experimentation and innovation have put cities center-stage of actions aimed at unlocking sustainable futures. In the global era of urbanization, the way cities are planned, built and lived are key determinants for finding solutions to questions of sustainablity. Equally, this urban agenda pose important questions of (in)justice and (in)equality in the sustainable city.

SpaceLab projects on urban transformation focus on the role of cities in mobilizing climate and energy transformations and critically addresses capacities and constraints within the urban assemblage.


Current projects on urban transformations

Cites have an emerging role in climate and energy governance. This new governance role is certainly recognized by cities themselves. Urban governments are mobilizing inter-city networks to develop responses to energy and climate challenges. This project explores the role of inter-city collaboration when innovations and policies for sustainable cities are conceived, circulated, translated, adapted and implemented. It also examines the processes of translation between abstract trans-urban policy discourses and the materiality of the built environment in particular cities.

Bergen Research Foundation, 2016-2020.

Shared space in Kong Oscars gate, Bergen

The municipality of Bergen is currently transforming the street of Kong Oscars gate to a shared space which combines cars, bikes and pedestrians. Both the policy process and the materialization of the shared space into the physical environment is studied.

Governance innovations for sustainable urbanisation along rail corridors

The objective of the research project is to identify and investigate governance innovations aimed at integrating different modes of transportation in an urban-regional perspective. With partners from public and private sector, we are using the construction of double track rail lines at the East-West rail corridor in Norway as an opportunity to investigate how governance innovations and experimental interventions can facilitate low-carbon urban-regional mobility.

Courses in urban planning and society
SpaceLab gives University of Bergen’s masters course in urban planning and society. The course has a special emphasis on the relational aspects of urban planning, highlighting how policies are mobilized between cities, translated and implemented in particular urban contexts. SpaceLab also organizes a number of field courses that explore urban transformations



Haarstad, H. In press. Who is driving the ‘smart city’ agenda? Assessing smartness as a governance strategy for cities in Europe. In: Jones, A., Strøm, P., Hermelin, B, and Rusten, G. Services and the Green Economy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haarstad, H. In press. Where are urban low-carbon transitions governed? Conceptualizing the complex governance arrangements for mobility and urban form in Europe. Cities.


In public media

Grandin, J., Haarstad, H. and Kjærås, K. 2016: Retten til fremtidens Bergen, Bergens Tidende, December 5th 2016.

Haarstad, H. and Wanvik, T. I. 2015: Vi trenger 10-minutters byer, Bergens Tidende, March 2nd 2015.