Icons: The making, meaning and undoing of urban icons and iconic cities    

Organisation for the 2016 UHPH conference on the Gold Coast is now in full swing with contributors mapping out/ thinking about/ working on their papers (format templates attached) which are due by 15 November 2015. Registration is now open and payment is being processed online through the link from the website (see below) OR through the link from Griffith Pay (see below).
Accommodation at the QT Hotel can be booked by filling in the booking form downloaded from from the conference website here:
Full papers are due to be submitted for peer review by the 15 November 2015.
All paper submissions are via email to c.bosman@griffith.edu.au.
Length: Papers are to be a maximum of 4,500 words including notes and quotations, but excluding abstract (see below).Format: Papers are to be submitted as a single MS Word document (format template attached) with all page margins set to 2cm and paragraph format to double spacing. Please use UK English throughout (using the Oxford English Dictionary as a reference where necessary). Please use 12-point Times New Roman font for all purposes, with no bold or underlined text, and with italics used for source titles in references and only sparingly in the body of the text for emphasis. New paragraphs should be marked by a double return without indentation.

Please save the file with the first author’s surname followed by _UHPH16_FP   (eg): Bosman_UHPH16_FP

Thank you again for your abstract/s, we look forward to receiving registration and your full paper.



UHPH Conference 2016 Call for abstracts now open: deadline 31 March 2015

Proposals are welcome for the 13th Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference (UHPH) to be hosted by Griffith University and held on the Gold Coast, Queensland between Sunday 31 January – Wednesday 3 February 2016.

Conference Theme

Icons: The making, meaning and undoing of urban icons and iconic cities

The use of icons (projects, places, plans, people and/or practices) to tell stories of urban environments is longstanding. The stories which these icons produce tell us something about ourselves and our everyday urban lives, as well as the social, environmental, economic, political and cultural context of urban environments. They can also prompt questions about the histories and realities of the icons themselves. Moreover, cities increasingly strive for distinctiveness of some kind in an increasingly globalised world. This distinctiveness is frequently achieved through the making of new urban icons, visual, tangible, imaginary and or real. The striving for iconic status can be problematic when it marginalises and polarises people and ways of being. Meanings can also be ascribed which have little relevance to the wider urban context.

This conference offers a special opportunity to explore these histories of iconographies – past, present, prospective. Suggested sub themes relate to the histories and/or planning of the following in urban and regional settings:

  1. New critical appreciations of neglected and established urban icons and icon-making processes.
  2. Planning and development of hard and soft infrastructures, including monuments, buildings, streetscapes, precincts, landscapes, plans and projects, branding etc.
  3. The import/export of iconic ideas.
  4. The environmental impact of urban icons.
  5. Dealing with the heritage of icons (cultural, natural, indigenous).

Papers should be based on original research and may focus on one or a combination of sub themes. In addition, proposals related to other aspects of urban and planning history, in and of relevance to Australia/New Zealand, are welcome. Full papers will be peer reviewed for publication in the conference proceedings. You are required to register and attend the conference for your paper to be published in the proceedings.

The Gold Coast provides a perfect example of an environment with a history constructed around the creation and representations of iconic forms. It has striven for ‘iconic’ status through adaptation from places such as Florida and California. It has sought hallmark events like the Commonwealth Games to be held in 2018. Its current light rail project emulates the global turn to sustainable transport infrastructure. And there are less glamorous stories below the glittering surface.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted by 31 March 2015.

Abstracts are to be submitted on the attached abstract template and emailed to Caryl Bosman: c.bosman@griffith.edu.au

Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit full papers (4000 words text max) for publication in the peer reviewed conference proceedings.

A conference website with further information will be available soon.

Hosted by: Griffith University, Urban Research Program

Conference Convenors: Dr Caryl Bosman, Dr Aysin Dedekorkut–Howes and Paul Burton

Please contact Caryl Bosman on c.bosman@griffith.edu.au

Also see: uhph

EAUH 2016 Helsinki – Reinterpreting Cities


The 13th International Conference on Urban History ‘Reinterpreting Cities’ will take place in Helsinki from the 24th to the 27th of August 2016.

The call for session proposals is now open until March 1, 2015. Proposals can be submitted on the website https://eauh2016.net/ – and session organisers will be notified of decisions regarding acceptance in May 2015.

The European Association for Urban History encourages cross-disciplinary and international research on urban history. Therefore the Association invites you to submit sessions that are as comparative and interdisciplinary as possible. Furthermore, we give priority to sessions, which are co-organised by scholars from different countries.

The Urbanists

In the summer months David Nichols and Elizabeth Taylor present a one-hour talk program on Melbourne public radio 3RRR, known as The Urbanists. Recent guests have included David Wadelton of the Northcote Hysterical Society, Dr. Ruth Lane of Monash University talking about hard rubbish and ‘geographies of waste’, Assoc. Prof Marco Amati of RMIT discussing planning exhibitions, Adjunct Assoc. Prof. Phil Heywood of QUT discussing the planning ramifications of the Queensland elections, and many others. The program is the summer replacement for the RRR show Einstein A-Go-Go; to listen to past programs, go to the station’s listen on demand page and follow the links to access the Einstein A-Go-Go timeslot.

“Progress in Australian planning history: Traditions, themes and transformations”

Robert Freestone, “Progress in Australian planning history: Traditions, themes and transformations” Progress in Planning V91, July 2014 pp. 1-29


Planning history is a distinctive strain in modern planning scholarship that provides dividends in the broader understanding of planning’s aims, development, impacts, achievements and limitations. Since the 1970s, with the infusion of more critical social science and creative humanities perspectives, planning history has developed a global reach characterised by cross-cutting themes and international institutions but research remains largely organised on a national basis. This review of recent and cutting edge literature deals exclusively with the Australian realm: its origins, governance, preoccupations and potentials. The major focus is on recent (mainly post-2002) literature and contributions capturing of innovative takes on the historical development of planning. Like urban history, planning history takes shape primarily within topical clusters and Abbott’s (2006) threefold characterisation of urban history concerns for planners provides a useful typology. Against this backdrop, the paper describes the culture, structure and progress of planning history studies from an Australian perspective. It establishes an interdisciplinary framework with other adjectival histories (architectural, urban, environmental, social), reviews recent path-breaking research organised around six major themes resonant of wider planning concerns, and reflects on directions for future research.


• The culture, structure and progress of planning history studies from an Australian perspective are described.
• Timely stocktake of literature focusing on recent (mainly post-2002) contributions.
• An interdisciplinary framework for work at the interface of architectural, urban, environmental, and social histories is established.
• Six major strands of cutting edge work resonant of wider planning concerns are established.
• Reflections on the direction of future research needs and opportunities.