EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS33. Old and New Industrial Cities: Rise, Fall and Resurgence in a Global Perspective

Coordinators: Martin Pekar (, Andrea Pokludova (

The topic of industrial towns is one of the traditional themes of Western European historiography; in recent years, it has also been reflected in the historiographies of the so-called post-socialist countries. The attention of urban and social historians has focused on residential development, the relationship between industrial production and civil society, migration and the creation of a specific subculture of industrial cities. With the decline of industrial cities as a result of reduction and the end of production, the social problems that arose have come into the field of view of urban sociologists and anthropologists. At the same time, the question of the preservation of the specific cultural heritage for future generations opened. Interdisciplinary discourse was begun, which on the one hand has experts involved (monument care, urban historians, theorists of art and architecture) and on the other hand the public. A considerable role in this process is played by local governments and the pressures of economic interest groups, i.e. especially in regions with a weak civil society. The results of these discussions and their application in the practice of European monument care are relatively well-known (e.g. ERIH). With the given section, we would like to develop the topic with a new dimension, namely a comparison with industrial towns and their cultural heritage in other regions of the world. In the United States of America and Canada industrial cities were marked by s similar development as in Europe in the second half of the 20th century, i.e. after a time of a boom a reduction and stagnation caused by the shift of production to Asia (Japan and the so-called three dragons). In recent years, China has become a synonym and symbol of industrial production concentrated in industrial megacities and agglomerations. It is not only about China but also other emerging economies of Asian countries, such as India and Pakistan, and selected regions of the Middle East.
In the section designed in an interdisciplinary way, we intend to focus on the following questions:
 1. The theoretical and methodological concepts of conservation and presentation of the cultural heritage of industrial cities in conjunction with new technologies (digitization, multimedia). We start from the concept that not only its own set of industrial buildings must be respected, but also the history of the city and its inhabitants.
 2. Maintenance, preservation, interpretation and presentation of the cultural and urban heritage of industrial cities in a global context.
 3. Comparison of the development of European and North American industrial cities with new industrial cities in Asia and the Middle East. Who limited and is limiting the urban development of industrial cities the market, company or state policy? Who regulates the preservation of the cultural heritage of the industrial cities for future generations?
Keywords: industrial cities; renewal; cultural heritage