The landscape of many historic cities and the character of their shallow subsurface environments are defined by a legacy of interaction between anthropogenic and geological processes. Anthropogenic deposits and excavations result from processes ranging from archaeological activities to modern urban development. Hence, in heritage cities, any geological investigation should acknowledge the role of past and ongoing human activities, while any archaeological investigation should be conducted with geological processes in mind. In this paper it is shown that 3D geological and anthropogenic models at different scales can provide a holistic system for the management of the subsurface. It provides a framework for the integration of other spatial and process models to help assess the preservation potential for buried heritage. Such an integrated framework model is thus contributing to a decision support system for sustainable urban (re)development and regeneration in cities, while preserving cultural heritage. A collaborative approach is proposed to enhance research and implementation of combined geological and archaeological modelling for sustainable land use planning and heritage preservation, using York and Bryggen as prime examples. This paper presents the status of 3D framework modelling at Bryggen in Norway as an example. © 2011 Natural Environment Research Council.