Bergen (Norway)

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway next to Oslo, the capital. Bergen is located on the western coast of Norway and with its appurtenant municipality is the largest city in Hordaland county. Bergen was founded around A.D. 1070. The town gradually developed around Vågen (“the bay”), a central harbour for trade along the coast, and was one of Northern Europe’s most important ports, including one of the Hanseatic League’s for most important towns. The Vågen area gradually expanded up to 140 m seawards by filling a range of materials such as wood and household rubbish into timber “boxes” in the seawater at the quay front. Due to its outstanding testimony to past traditions, Bryggen became designated as a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Description of City and Projects

A large part of the settlement in the city centre, the VÃ¥gsbunnen area, is situated on top of several meters of cultural deposits that are vulnerable for degradation and subsidence. In connection with the upgrading of road and rehabilitation of parts of the district VÃ¥gsbunnen, significant subsidence connected to artificially low groundwater levels have been observed. The municipality has increased awareness related to measures that may alter the groundwater level and the impact this can have in terms of damage to cultural heritage above and below ground, as well as subsidence that could further damage buildings, structures, cables, roads and pavements. A municipal pilot project has been initiated to map existing groundwater pumps. This has led to restrictions on the right to implement measures in the ground that can alter the groundwater level.

City Challenges  

The city needs a comprehensive understanding of the subsurface to ensure a more sustainable and cost-effective management of urban spaces, including tools, procedures and methods to better integrate urban geological knowledge in land management.

Project Bryggen is a long-term initiative to restore and safeguard the endangered World Heritage Site Bryggen in Bergen. The project presents a collaboration between the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Hordaland county, the Bergen municipality as well as local landowners, and the Geological Survey of Norway. The measure is financed with public funding.

The Bryggen is only a small part of VÃ¥gsbunnen, and is regarded as a crucial preliminary project for the larger follow-up project that is initiated in 2014, and will include the largest portion of the medieval city center.

Key city date

  • Surface area: 465,56 km²
  • Number of inhabitants/population: 272 600 (5th May 2014)
  • The increase in population is 11.0% per 10 years » 1.1%/year
  • The population density in Bergen is 566.0 inhabitants per km²
  • Total number of housing: 127 123 registered buildings
  • The number of registered (personal) vehicles is 111.172 (2008)

Read more about Bergen City in case study report TU1206-WG1-003

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