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The Journal Bebyggelshistorisk tidskrift was in many ways a pioneer at the start in 1981. The question of what the field of research in building history should actually include came to be discussed already in the first issue. Would it be as broad as Göran Lindahl, one of the initiators and the magazine's longtime chairman, wrote in the first issue, that it included all forms of land use? As an example of this broad exploration, Lindahl mentions, among other things, the mechanisms behind society's modernization and industrialization, changes in working life, demographic expansion, community planning, laws, ordinances and reforms. The older and much narrower subject of building history must be integrated into the history of buildings - and we might say today, be contextualised.
The hope was that the knowledge about the industrialization and urbanization process that society has undergone could be deepened by researchers from different disciplines were gathered within the framework of building history. And here one probably dares to say that Lindahl was right. The magazine responded to a societal need at this time to focus on issues such as these, to think in wholes and not in details, in environments instead of buildings. It was, for example, in the 1980s that the work of delimiting areas with cultural values of national interest was carried out.
The so-called national interests would together represent the country's 10,000-year history, reflect the living conditions and working environments of different social classes and different types of society. That was when the government presented a new bill with goals for what was called the cultural environmental protection, even though the law that came into force in 1989 was still called the Cultural Heritage Act. It was also the decade after the large-scale landscape transformations in connection with the hydropower expansion in Norrland, the million program and the major transformations of the country's city centers. By starting from places, environments and contexts, and not scientific disciplines in the first place, the journal became a scientific forum that was in the middle of the public debate.