Ended research projects

Ended research projects


Economic landscapes and town economy

Under this headline, the centre has since its establishment in 2001 done research on the economic centrality of the towns in historical time. The theoretical starting point was mainly Walter Christaller’s and von Thünen’s classical theories. Additional theories have also been used such as the institutional angle from S.R. Epstein et. al. The research concentrated especially on towns as centres for trade, service and production. The main results are presented by Søren Bitsch Christensen in his contributions to the book Den klassiske købstad (The classical town) and to Erhvervshistorisk Årbog 2006 (The yearbook for Business History). The research results are integrated within the database “By og opland” (Town and Surrounding area). Different aspects of the towns’ economic life have also laid the foundation for several theses, such as Jeppe Klok Due’s thesis about the early industrial development in the province of Denmark. Parts of his thesis are published in Erhvervshistorisk Årbog 2008 (The Yearbook for Business History). Michael Bruus took a very different subject matter in his thesis where he described how the infrastructure for boat traffic in the same period was improved through the enlargement and modernisation of harbours. His thesis is published as Michael Levy Bruus: I sikker havn. Danske købstadshavnes modernisering 1798-1868 (Maritim Kontakt 29, 2007, s. 7-102). (In a safe Harbour: The modernisation of Danish town ports).

The history of Herning

In 2005, the centre was asked by The Historical Society for Herning Municipality to help writing and publish three volumes about the history of Herning. Unfortunately the plans never materialised, but the centre managed to create a bibliography and a register for the local archive. Furthermore,  Lene Jensen, Frank Bache Andersen and Marie Bebe all wrote theses on the different parts of Herning’s history.

Historiography and urban development

Each volume of Danish Urban Studies has an introduction which gives an overview of Danish urban development during that particular period as well as a comprehensive overview of the Danish urban writing concerning the period. However, a short bibliography of Danish urban writing can be found here. Furthermore, Søren Bitsch Christensen and senior researcher Jørgen Mikkelsen from the National Archives have written an overview of medieval and early modern Danish urban development to Urban History.

Urban structures during the industrialisation

Many of the centre’s students have written about the development of quarters in the modern city. In this instance the modern city is defined as the industrial town and the period until today. The starting point for these studies has typically been an analysis of the end of the traditional town morphology with market square, adjoining roads, and mixed residential areas for both rich and poor people and an analysis of how this morphology was replaced by the modern town with homogenous quarters, industrial districts, business districts etc. The first study was Jeppe Norskov’s and Jens Toftgaard Jensen’s book Købstadens metamorfose (The Metamorphosis of the Town). Among social topographic master’s theses one can mention Jes Rønnow Lungskov’s thesis Kvarterudvikling og byudvikling i Vejle (The Formation of Quarters and Urban Development in the Town of Vejle), from which parts have been published in Gullkrog – et Vejlekvarters historie. One can also mention Frank Bache Andersen’s thesis Herning fra tinghus til jernbane, Byens udvikling belyst gennem tilgang af parceller, byfunktioner og befolkning 1827-1877 (Herning from Courthouse to Railway). The subject is also popular as a theme for student papers, and many of the best papers have been published. For instance Morten Oddershede: Mølleengen: et indflytterkvarter i Århus 1925 (Mølleengen: A Quarter in Aarhus for new Tenants 1925) and Jeppe Norskov: Trøjborg - et indflytterkvarter i Århus omkring 1910 (Trøjborg - a quarter in Aarhus for new tenants around 1910).

Modern urbanism

The meeting with urban culture and the life in the modern town or “the industrial town” belongs to one of most seminal social experiences in our modern history. Naturally, this subject is a part of research of The Danish Centre for Urban History. The most important study is Mette Tapdrup Mortensen’s PhD dissertation Et hjem i byen? Pensionatet som urbant mikrokosmos 1880-1960'erne (A Home in the City? The Boarding House as an Urban Microcosm, 1880 to the 1960s).

Physical cultural heritage

With economic support from Aarhus Municipality, the Realdania Foundation and Kulturarvsstyrelsen (The Heritage Agency of Denmark), the Danish Centre for Urban History wrote a historical report about Aarhus Freight Yard Station in 2008. The report concluded with a number of recommendations on how the site’s historical values could be preserved. The report Århus Godsbanegård - historie og kulturarvsanbefalinger (Aarhus Freight Yard Station – History and Cultural Heritage Recommendations) was written by Kristian Buhl Thomsen and Jeppe Klok Due and was edited by Søren Bitsch Christensen.

In 2010, the centre was given the opportunity to transform the centre’s interest in industrial history into a publication about 27 preserved industrial heritage sites in Aarhus. The publication discusses preservation and provides examples on how re-use has given new life to old buildings. The starting point was a private project by senior researcher Kenn Tarbensen from The Danish Business Archive. From the centre, research assistant Kristian Buhl Thomsen took part in the project, and Søren Bitsch Christensen was the editor of the book. The project was supported by Aarhus Municipality, and the book was published with the support of Aarhus Urban Historical Foundation.

Urban planning and the physical development of towns

Urban planning is a natural subject for urban historical studies. The subject allows the researcher to take a closer look on the interaction between idea and reality. The subject makes it visible how towns develop, who has the necessary influence, and which forces have been dominant at different times. During the years the centre has cooperated with Byplanhistorisk Udvalg under Dansk Byplanlaboratorium (the Town-planning Committee under Danish Laboratory for Urban Planning), which has lead to joint seminars and publications, for instance about urban historical cartography and about the writing of the modern town’s history. An important contribution is also Jeppe Norskov Stokholm’s PhD dissertation Den moderne byplanlægnings fødsel i Danmark 1860 til 1920 (The birth of the modern town planning in Denmark, 1860 to 1920). Other contributions are theses, where Kristian Buhl Thomsen’s thesis Sådan skabtes det moderne Viborg - En analyse af byplanlægningen, boligudviklingen og bosætningsmønstrene 1938-1974 (How the modern Viborg was created – An analysis of the urban planning, the development of housing and the settlement patterns, 1938-1974) deserves mentioning. It has been published in Fra Viborg-egnen 2009.

Related to the subject is also Peter Dragsbo’s book Hvem opfandt parcelhuskvarteret? Forstaden har en historie (The invention of Suburbia), of which the centre was a co-publisher. Also Søren Bitsch Christensen’s article “Branding Bernhard” in the book Århus i verden (Aarhus in the world) should be mentioned.

The history of Ribe 710-2010

By the end of 2008, Esbjerg Municipality hired the centre to edit and co-publish a three-volume edition of the history of Ribe – the oldest town in Denmark – as part of the celebration of the town’s 1300 years anniversary in 2010. On the local level, the centre cooperated with Esbjerg Town Historical Archive and The South West Jutland Museums. The books, which were published in June and November 2010, follow a thematic division. See the pojects official site here.