Cities are places of constant contradictions – on the one hand culturally rich and diverse places with interesting entanglements of social and spatial relations, on the other hand sites of inequality, segregation and conflict. There are obviously various and sometimes opposing understandings, narrations and representations of a city. From an urban history perspective, it is adequate to critically ask: how do historymaking and representations of a city’s past contribute to create cities and trajectories of urban development? To understand this, we need to pay attention to how urban phenomena are historicised, categorised, preserved and used in official history, and in urban planning. How cities are narrated and projected will influence what kind of city it is possible to imagine, what is understood as problematic, and consequently how and for whom cities are planned and developed. This correlation between history and future-making places questions of power at the centre of urban history and development. This is the introduction to an anthology that has its origin in the conference Creating the City. Identity, Memory and Participation, in Malmö, Sweden, 9-10 February 2017, arranged by the Institute for Studies in Malmö’s History (IMH) – a research institute affiliated with the Urban Studies department at Malmö University. The conference gathered scholars from various disciplines, such as history, anthropology, literature, geography, sociology, political science and media and communication; and practitioners as archive and museum professionals, urban planners, architects and artists.