AMES, Iowa — Torgrim Sneve Guttormsen, the head of the Heritage and Society Department at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage (NIKU) in Oslo, will speak about “Deep Cities: Using a City’s Heritage and History to Create a Sustainable Future” at Iowa State University.

Guttormsen will present this free lecture virtually via Zoom from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, with the audience in person in 2630 Memorial Union. His talk is sponsored by the Department of Community and Regional Planning, Community and Regional Planning Graduate Student Club, Preservation and Cultural Heritage Club, Department of History and Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government).

Guttormsen will use the recently completed project “Curating Sustainable URBAn Transformations through HERITage (CURBATHERI – Deep Cities)” project as a lens to view how archaeology can be a theoretical resource for integrating cultural heritage values in urban planning.

“In our project, we have launched the concept of ‘Deep Cities’ as a methodological approach to understand how the layered historical city— the transformative and trans-temporal character of cities — turns into heritage values which merit conservation and [implementation] in urban planning,” Guttormsen said.

His presentation will first focus on the role of urban heritage in creating socially sustainable urban futures, introducing some of the key findings of the CURBATHERI – Deep Cities project. What makes a “livable city” that supports factors such as identity, belonging, quality of life and health for all residents in mixes of historic and renewed urban environments? What is the role of urban heritage in socially inclusive and sustainable placemaking?

Guttormsen will then discuss the distinctive nature of urban archaeological heritage when activated as a conceptual tool in urban placemaking.

“Theoretical terms such as ‘decay,’ ‘collage,’ ‘palimpsest’ and ‘stratigraphy,’  and the role urban transformation has in change management, will be discussed as planning concepts which in their own way define approaches to implementing the traces of the past in different cityscapes,” he said.

About the speaker

In addition to his role as a research professor and head of NIKU’s  Heritage and Society Department, Guttormsen currently serves as an honorary professor of history at the University of Stirling (Scotland) Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy and was a visiting professor at the Fudan University (China) Centre for Land and Cultural Resources Research from 2017–2022. He has also been a visiting scholar the Australian National University Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies.

Guttormsen is trained in archaeology and heritage studies with a research emphasis on cultural heritage management and politics, heritage and planning, urban heritage, immigrant heritage, difficult heritage, public archaeology and the history of archaeology.

With his focus on studying monuments, memorials and commemorations, his research also interfaces with memory studies and museum studies.

Guttormsen has edited books including Heritage and Sustainable Urban Transformations: Deep Cities (Routledge, 2020) and Heritage, Democracy and the Public: Nordic Approaches (Routledge, 2016). He most recently co-authored a September 2023 paper on “Assemblage Urbanism: The Role of Heritage in Urban Placemaking,” published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development.


Marci Snow-Perry, Community and Regional Planning Graduate Student,
Laura Bade, Iowa State University Lectures Program Assistant Director,
Saylor Upah, College of Design Event Planner,
Heather Sauer, College of Design Director of Strategic Communications,