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Peter Hemmersam




Peter Hemmersam is an Associate Professor 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 and ecological urbanism, and he is currently undertaking research on circumpolar landscapes in the project Future North. He is also a research fellow at the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art.


Arctic City|Future North|Oslo Territories|Shopping Center Urbanism|Site Specific Design as a Driving Force for Harbour Transformation|YOUrban

Publications (60)

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 »


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 »

Posts written by Peter (27)

  • Makt og Avmakt i byutviklingen

    Det handler om fragmenterte byer hvor eksterne kjøpesentre har tømt sentrumsgatene for handel og menneskeliv, men også store mono- eller multifunksjonelle klosser i mange etasjer som dyttes inn i historiske bymiljøer med mer eller mindre ødeleggende effekt (Bokanmeldelse).    

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    The Empty Spaces of Future Thinking

    Thinking strategically about the future of cities in the Arctic entails a positioning towards regional and global strategic opportunities but also involve recognising the opportunities emerging in the urban space.  

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    Dødens trekant i norske byer

    Debatten om norske små- og mellomstore byers utseende og funksjon har blusset opp igjen. En av årsakene til at mange norske tettsteder nå er dysfunksjonelle og triste ligger i at butikkene har forlatt sentrum. Gågatene er spøkelser der annenhver butikk har gråpapir over vinduene. De er vitner om en tid som er forbi, og det er som om ingen har forstått at tiden er ute for gågatene – som vi kjenner dem.

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    Building and Learning in a Place

    The Fogo Island Inn tells several stories at once – amongst them one on the power of internationally acclaimed architecture in a stunningly beautiful and remote location, to one of the power of local ingenuity, craftsmanship and community building.

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  • Seeing Suburbia

    The suburb is a global fact – and it is growing at a surprisingly steady pace. This polynodal form of urbanism must be acknowledged and addressed by planners, policy makers and designers.

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    Three futures for Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Svalbard (or Spitsbergen as it is called by some), is a lively community that is now facing closure of its cornerstone-industry: coal mining. World market prices have plummeted, operating costs are high, and coal power is perhaps too much of a paradox for the Norwegian government priding itself on sustainable energy and environmental protection of the archipelago’s wilderness.

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  • Realitet og retorikk i de nye ’byene’

    Med en arkitektkonkurranse har Oslo Kommune skutt Hovinbyen i gang. Når denne ’byen’ med 27.000 nye boliger nå skal planlegges, bør man unngå noen av de fellene som har vist seg under realiseringen av Fjordbyen.

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    Sustainability and urban conflict

    The re-design and transformation of cities is critical in meeting the environmental challenge. But urban transformation is very often accompanied by social conflict. What can architects do about that?

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    Site-specific Innovation

    Currently, cities across the Northern European region are actively redeveloping their former industrial harbours. Indeed, harbours areas are essential in the long-term transition from industrial to information and experience societies; harbours are becoming sites for new businesses and residences, but also places for emerging lifestyles and cultural processes. In this transformation process, harbours provide arenas for a new urban dynamics, involving multiple sectors and functions in society, as opposed to the monoculturalism prevailing in the ages of the industrial city. To us, the critical question is how innovation may contribute to urban life and site-specific qualities

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  • Seven themes for the Second Oslo

    Dominant models of sustainable urban design, such as compact city strategies, do not make much sense in the areas outside the central area of the Oslo region. This article lists seven themes  that are important when the future city of the Second Oslo is to be conceptualized and designed.

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    The site-specific animals of l’Île de Nantes

    Standing on the quayside, opposite the house of Jules Verne, one would not be surprised to see the mechanical Nautilus or its accompanying giant squid breaking the green waters of the Loire. One almost also expects to see estuary dolphins jump through Daniel Buren’s giant loops along the new promenade of the harbourfront transformation area, designating it as a public urban space through signature art (In the case of Buren: always striped).

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    The City that is an Island

    In Tasiilaq on Greenland’s East Coast infrastructure and the urban support systems are present and highly visible in the town. This provides a contrast to modern cities in other parts of the world—in which infrastructure is often both visually and geographically removed from the everyday lives of the inhabitants.

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  • Exposed Northern Landscapes

    A mini-seminar on challenges and current issues for sub-arctic landscapes and territories organized by the Future North project. October 30, 2013, 14.00-17.00, AHO, Big Auditorium

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  • Lines of and in the North

    Geographic lines are representations of difference and distribution of phenomena in space. Lines are also tools for reading and conceptualizing landscapes: they may be concrete—perceptual—but also abstract figures of a more analytically based models that describe underlying structures of the landscapes we visit, walk, document and discuss.

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    A bulwark against dystopia

    A new Russian Orthodox church is being built in the industrial town of Nikel on the Kola peninsula. Its construction involves the use of traditional building techniques, recalling an architecture that predates the founding of the town.

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    Walking a line

    Walking a local neighbourhood with a group of young people in Murmansk, we encountered new urban scenes and childhood memories. This provides us with an opportunity to think about the future of urban space.

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    Northern arrival

    The AHO Future North team has met up locally in Kirkenes with our partners at the Barents Institute. This is our first joint visit to the Circumpolar North. Our project team has gathered together a diverse set of interests and competencies: landscape theory, architecture, interaction design, ethnography, political science, and narrative.

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  • Rediscovering the north

    As we venture north and east in order to observe urban and territorial change on the Kola Peninsula, we travel through regions whose contemporary built environment dates back only to the third decade of the last century. Visiting the mining towns of Zapolyarny, Kirovsk, Apatity and Monchegorsk what we see and what is revealed to us in terms of urban history and monuments are 1930s city plans, 20th century architecture often referred to as Stalin-, Khrushchev-, and Brezhnev-era residential zones, and WW2 memorials.

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    En 'ny' bydel ved vandet

    Aker Brygge står overfor en ansigtsløftning i milliardklassen under overskriften ‘Fra Kjøpesenter til bydel’, en plan der omfatter renovering, ombygning, nedrivning og nye bygninger.

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