Main Sessions

M1 Between Castile and Portugal, between the Iberian Peninsula and America: trade relations on border cities (13th–17th centuries)

Main chair: Daniela Nunes Pereira, Post Doctoral Research Juan de la Cierva, University of Complutense de Madrid

1st Co-chair: David Igual Luis, Titular Profesor of Medieval History, University of Castilla-La Mancha

2nd Co-chair: María Asenjo González, Full Profesor of Medieval History, University of Complutense de Madrid

Short abstract

The geographical position of the border towns, far from the main seaports and, in other cases, with essentially land accessibility, limited their inhabitants to benefit from long-distance socio-economic dynamics, promoting ever closer trade contacts between the towns of the Portuguese-Castilian border towns. In this context, a question arises: what were the commercial relations between the border towns of Portugal and Castile, first, and the Spanish monarchy, later, and their projection on the colonial frontiers between the two kingdoms in America?

Keywords: Cities, Boundaries, Commerce, Iberian Peninsula, Ibero-american cities, Medieval and Early Modern Age.


Documental sources on commercial networks, ways of seeing and evidencing mercantile exchanges, alliances, trade networks, regional trade networks, customs, smuggling, ferries of passage, agents of transports and exchanges, architecture and market spaces

Session content

After many attempts to stabilise the border between Portugal and Castile, it was only with the Treaty of Alcanizes, signed on 12 September 1297 by King Dinis of Portugal and King Ferdinand IV of León and Castile, that the boundaries between the two kingdoms were definitively fixed.

Despite the new borders, many of the business contacts established since time immemorial have been maintained. It should not be forgotten that the geographical location of border towns, far from the main sea ports and in other cases accessible mainly by land, limited the access of their inhabitants to major international trade while encouraging cross-border regional trade.

The border forced the two monarchies to protect, control and supervise these small trade routes and the goods traded. This reality leads one to question what were and how were the commercial relations between the border towns of the two Iberian kingdoms?

At the end of the 15th century, the discovery and exploration of the American continent by the Portuguese and Spanish crowns led to the division of the "new world", established in the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed on 7 June 1494. In order to secure and guarantee the possession of the new territories, both kingdoms founded and populated numerous towns, villages and hamlets. Given that, in the beginning, communication between the peoples of the Americas was essentially maritime and fluvial, easily crossing any defined frontiers, we are interested in receiving proposals that explain how commercial exchange took place between the inhabitants of these territories, through which they sought means of subsistence and survival.

At such a significant time, when the domination and survival of borders mark the European present, in this macro-session we are interested in receiving scientific reflections on the commercial relations that existed in the border towns between Portugal and Castile, first, and between the Spanish monarchy, later, including the smaller villages, throughout the 13th-17th centuries. We invite you to reflect on and compare all the many aspects of the city, such as: documentary sources on trade networks; ways of seeing and evidencing trade exchanges; alliances; formation of new trade networks; identification of regional trade networks; ferries of passage; agents of trade and transport, customs; smuggling. The session takes into account architecture and market spaces, so studies on the commercial structures that materialise these commercial contacts are welcome.


Silvia-María Pérez-González: The exportation of wine and raisins from Jerez de la Frontera at the end of the Middle Ages

Jerez de la Frontera and its wines enjoy an unquestionable reputation. The expansion of wine production and consumption in the Early Modern period was made possible by developments that began at the end of the Middle Ages, on which this paper focuses. Our aim is to analyze two products of the vine, raisins and wine, which had distinctive identifying characteristics in the period studied. It was in the fifteenth century that Jerez de la Frontera, according to its socioeconomic situation, became the second most important city of the Kingdom of Seville, due in part to the production of wine and the thriving community of merchants, as well as the activities associated with its pier (called El Portal) and the port at Bahía de Cádiz. The present study centers on the period from the fifteenth century through the turn of the sixteenth to examine the place of raisins and wines from Jerez in commercial circuits along the Mediterranean Sea and the north–south routes of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ángel Rozas Espanol: Portuguese merchants in Castile at the beginning of the 16th century: a perspective from Medina del Campo, Toledo and Seville

The activity of Portuguese merchants in Castile is a little known reality. Numerous scientific meetings have been devoted to the study of cross-border relations between the two kingdoms and, even so, the commercial dynamics have received little attention and remain an unknown phenomenon. The reason for this lack of knowledge is possibly due to the scarcity of socio-economic sources prior to the mid-16th century. This proposal aims to address this issue based on the notarial sources preserved in Medina del Campo, Toledo and Seville, which allow us to trace the activity of Portuguese agents in some of the main commercial centres. The objectives of this proposal, therefore, are to analyse the intensity of Portuguese activity in the three urban centres mentioned, and to determine the strategies they deployed to actively participate in these market spaces. In this sense, the main focus will be on the relationships with local authorities, the mercantile networks they established with local agents and the settlement patterns (temporary presence or settlement). Alternatively, the participation of other agents in the development of Castilian-Portuguese trade will also be analysed in order to detect dynamics of competition or collaboration with Portuguese agents.

David Igual-Luis: Across Borders: Castilians and Portuguese in 15th and 16th Century Trade Networks

The proposal is based on three objectives: the first, to synthesise some of the main perspectives that research into cross-border trade allows us to study; the second, to offer examples of Castile-Portugal relations, either through the exchanges that took place on the borders between the two kingdoms, or through the contacts between Castilians and Portuguese in different areas; the third, to observe all of the above in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, as a way of examining the evolution that led Castile and Portugal to move from an exclusively Iberian framework to another projected towards the Atlantic. The paper will combine the state of the art with the archival work and will be part of the results of the MOVICAST research project, funded by the Spanish Government in 2023-2027.

Maria Asenjo González: Business Opportunity and Urban Supply Forecasting: Andalusian Cities and the American trade in the early 16th century

The start of the American trade, in this first stage, was linked to the supplying of the first Castilian settlements, following a policy that favoured the exit of products and men to the New Continent. The key to this process was the fluvial port of Seville on the Guadalquivir River, the only inland port in Castile and difficult to access, which centralized the American trade. This site was chosen because it was far from the unhealthy marshes at the end of the river mouth and because of its strategic location in the Guadalquivir depression. A region rich in natural resources and population capable of facing the commercial challenge of supplying America. However, soon other port cities such as Malaga and Cadiz became interested in the American trade, seeking to connect directly with the Indies by other more convenient and efficient routes, and at the same time expanding the American supply area towards Eastern Andalusia.

In this paper we will try to understand the imbalances created in the Andalusian cities by the departure of Castilian products to the Indies. Some of them were of prime necessity, such as wheat or wine. The acquisitions for sale in the Indies could be in competition with  those of the cities, and they were detrimental to the options of urban supply. This traffic also affected the privilege of the ban on local wine enjoyed by some cities, such as Seville, by allowing the entry of foreign wines destined for export. In this context of innovation in commercial exchanges and their conditions, differences and conflicts arose that required the mediation of royal intervention in matters, which were debated between the cities with seaports and their officials complaining about the merchants and their competitive procedures. The Monarchs would seek to redirect rivalries, sticking to their control capabilities, but without options to intervention in the procurement practices and agreements that underlay the nature of the business.

Joao Nunes: Cross-border trade between Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain) and Portugal in the Modern Period (1500-1640)

Cross-border trade has been structural between Portugal and Castile since medieval times. Historiography has revealed, especially for the medieval period, aspects linked to the functioning of ports and the nature of commercial exchanges, highlighting the products traded, which were mainly cereals and livestock. The relevance of bans on the circulation of products, such as horses, bread, currency and precious metals, was highlighted. The existence of smuggling networks is also revealed, as well as the transit of merchants and the role of Jews in the affirmation of this type of trade.

With this communication we aim to deepen aspects linked to this reality of the early modern age, that is, to understand the commercial border relations between Ciudad Rodrigo and Portugal, in the period from 1500 to 1640. The purpose is to observe the cross-border trade more specifically the agents, the products traded, and the prohibitions decreed by municipal authorities, as well as the conflicts that resulted from the commercial relationships that were established. It also aims to understand the role that cross-border trade may have had in the affirmation of the markets of the border regions. Finally, we try to understand the changes in commercial practice, if it existed, compared to medieval times.

The sources for carrying out the communication come, mostly, from the Municipal Archive of Ciudad Rodrigo, namely municipal positions and royal provisions on commercial practices and products traded or subject to prohibition. Sources held by the Torre do Tombo National Archive (Portugal) were also compelled, in particular letters and documents of various types revealing aspects relating to trade between Portuguese territory and Ciudad Rodrigo. The description of the border by Mem Afonso de Resende, dated 1537, with references to the established powers and the relationships between spaces and people, also constitutes a relevant source for this study.

Raúl Romero Medina: Toledo and Granada as Paradigm: Artists and Craftsmen in the Iberian Peninsula at the End of the Middle Ages

During the second half of the 15th century, the Primate See of Toledo and the Sultanate of Granada benefited from the socio-economic dynamics of the Iberian Peninsula. The city of Toledo witnessed the emergence of the Gothic ship of its cathedral, thanks to the arrival in Castile, starting in 1440, of a series of artists from Western Europe, specifically from Brussels. These masters renewed the ways of seeing and understanding architecture and art by introducing Burgundian or Flemish forms that would influence the path of the Iberian realms, not only during the time of the Trastamara dynasty but beyond, including the reign of a powerful monarch like Philip II. The Gothic construction of the cathedral allows for the analysis of dynamics through the data preserved in the Books of Office and Fabric, where not only the names of these masters are recorded but also many contracts for acquiring artefacts and materials that were purchased at the Medina del Campo fair. In contrast to the Burgundian paradigm and the city of Toledo, the Sultanate of Granada, and the persistence of Andalusian influences, attracted admiration in the Crown of Castile. As a result, artists and craftsmen, whether Nasrid or Castilian, crossed a porous border affected by war, allowing us to trace how Moorish fashions gained significant influence. The rich Castilian documentation from the mid-15th century clearly demonstrates this. Thus, in contrast to the Burgundian paradigm, the Andalusian influence had a lasting effect, traceable even in the court of the Habsburgs and during the reign of a king like Philip II.

Pablo Sánchez Pascual: International commerce in the coastal towns of the Principality of Asturias during the Spanish Habsburgs period (1517-1700)

This proposal aims to study the international commercial activity maintained by the coastal towns of the Principality of Asturias between 1517-1700. To do this, a methodology based on the criticism of sources, both primary and secondary, will be followed. There are some testimonies and unpublished documents about this trade in both Spanish archives (Histórico de Asturias, Junta General of the Principality, local and ecclesiastical, Deputation of Biscay) and international (The National Archives of the UK, and Stadsarchiefs of Amsterdam and Rotterdam). The information included in the Martínez Marina's Illustrated Dictionary (Real Academia de la Historia) is important. Within a scheme of Cantabrian ports whose primacy was held by Bilbao, the Asturians basically sold raw materials that they exchanged for manufactured products from Northern Europe. It will try to research the commercial networks, both in the specific goods exchanged and in the origin and destination ports thereof, especially in England, Netherlands and France. There are some testimonies of reception of Portuguese salt and products from Andalusia. The Asturian ports not only supplied the Principality, but also León and Castille through the trade developed by the mountain ports and in the different inland trade fairs. Driven by the regal urbanization policy of the Cantabrian Sea, Avilés had stood out for its salt trade with France since the 13th century. Although it continued to be the main Asturian port during the Early Modern Age, the regional diversification of those oriented to international traffic is evident during this period, such as Llanes, Lastres, Villaviciosa, Gijón, Luarca, Puerto de Vega and Castropol, a situation that will change to end of the 18th century in favour of the primacy of Gijón. Likewise, the documents allows us to know some Asturian merchants and their links with others, such as those from Biscay, as well as the impact of the wars on the evolution of the commercial activity.

M2 Cities and Catastrophe: The Urban Response

Main chair: Professor Jelle Haemers, University of Leuven

1st Co-chair: Professor Peter Clark, University of Helsinki

2nd Co-chair: Professor Hilde Greefs, University of Antwerp

Short abstract

This session is concerned with catastrophes - sudden natural or manmade crises (pandemics, earthquakes, wars...) - which need to be managed immediately, events with a severe and visible impact on citizen's lives. It would focus on three major themes: the impact on townscape; the memorialisation of crisis; and the urban renewal after the crisis.

Keywords: Catastrophy, urban recovery, from Middle Ages until today


Catastrophes and urban resilience, from the Middle Ages until today

Session content

The underlying message of the historiography on urban crisis and renewal so far is that crises were severe but basically episodic events which cities learnt to manage in their return to normality. Social science research and  the recent Covid pandemic, Ukrainian war, and natural disasters linked to climate change have suggested the need for a different approach, one which recognizes that crises are endemic in the modern and contemporary era and may have been an existential threat to cities since early times. Yet most cities have survived and succeeded despite these threats. This resilience raises the two fundamental questions. Firstly, we need to ask: what are the opportunities, structures and policies, created by urban catastrophe and how do they contribute to urban resilience? At the same time, and this is our second fundamental question, how do different types of catastrophic crisis vary in their experiential impact on cities? Thus some crises, for instance wars, seem to be more imprinted in urban collective memory than others (such as pandemics). And how does this affect urban resilience?

The purpose of this proposed main session is to open the range of debate on urban catastrophe, taking a European wide perspective over the period from the Middle Ages to the present time. Fully aware that urban Europe is a continent of regions we are particularly interested to attract scholars from different regional contexts, particularly East/Central Europe and Mediterranean countries. We would also hope to attract researchers from a wide range of disciplines apart from history, including geography, heritage studies and planning. Preference would be given to papers that are comparative, analysing two or more urban centres.

Taking account of  both the outcomes of catastrophic crisis and differences between crisis types, the session would focus on three major themes: the impact on townscape; the memorialisation of crisis; and the varying experience of crises on different types of urban communities. We are less interested in the specific dynamics of catastrophe than on its effects on the urban communities and the urban responses.


Rosa Salzberg: Grinding to a halt? Mobility and immobility in Venice during the 1575-7 plague pandemic

One of early modern Europe's largest cities, Venice's wealth and power were inextricably tied to its role as frenetic hub of mobility. By the sixteenth century, its strategic position and government policy had made the city into a trading nexus, a magnet for migrants from across its Empire, and a destination or transit point for travellers moving between the continent and the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, all of this mobility made Venice particularly vulnerable to the entry and spread of disease, with several massive plague epidemics in this period wiping out a large part of the urban population.

This paper focuses in on the 1575-7 epidemic, a catastrophe in which about a third of the population perished in two years. It looks principally at how the city responded to this disaster by curbing mobility both on a global and a local scale: establishing travel bans and quarantines, locking down certain neighbourhoods, issuing printed health passes only to those deemed safe to travel. At the same time, particular kinds of movement continued, such as the constant ferrying of patients back and forth to the island plague hospitals.

The paper will consider how the city's rulers responded to the plague at ground level, as well as how the local population complied with - or resisted - these dictates. It will do so in the light of Venice's pioneering role in the development of urban responses to contagious disease in the several hundred years following the Black Death. Borrowing ideas from neighbouring cities such as Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and Milan, Venice established a comprehensive system which allowed it to minimize the risks of contagion, building on the memory of past pandemics to refine and improve its response. Although the 1570s plague was an example of its failure, this system helped Venice to survive as a centre of trade and mobility, (mostly) open to the world.

Salvatore Valenti: Engineering the Tiber: Floods and the transformation of Rome, 1870-1926

Recalled in many chronicles and commemorated in the city's public spaces, the floods of the Tiber have been a recurring threat in the history of Rome. In December 1870, just a few months after Italian troops had conquered Rome, signalling the end of papal temporal power, the Tiber flooded, causing severe damage to the city. A divine punishment for the outrage against the pope by the Catholics, the event was seen by the Italian liberals as a demonstration of Papacy inefficiency. On 1 January 1871, a commission of eminent Italian engineers was appointed by the Minister of Public Works to study the flooding of Rome and to propose a series of improvements to remedy the untamed flow of the river in the new capital. In contrast to the cautious approach and limited scope of intervention envisaged by the Ministry, some engineers on the commission and in the wider community of Italian hydraulic engineers gained the opportunity to propose an ambitious and expensive project to build protective walls along the river to discipline it. The walls took until 1926 to complete and proved to be a very critical piece of infrastructure, changing the cityscape, severing the links between Romans and their river, and eliminating historic docks and leisure areas. They were also criticised for their effectiveness, especially in times of crisis, such as in December 1900, when part of them collapsed under the pressure of a newTiber flood. By analysing official reports, pamphlets, newspapers, and archival documents the proposed paper will show how the response to the flood of December 1870 signalled a turning point in the relationship between the city and its river.

Giulia Assalve: After the catastrophe: the Ligurian earthquake of 1887 and the reconstruction proces

On February 23, 1887, a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.3 destroyed a lot of towns located in the western part of the Liguria region of Italy. It also compromised many buildings in the lower Piedmont and generated disastrous effects in the Nice region of France as well. According to the sources consulted, it is possible to recognize a very large area in which the earthquake was felt. As a result, the affected communities generated a narrative of the event that conditioned various responses of the reconstructive outcomes of the villages. In this study, a number of written accounts of citizens who lived in the most affected towns were identified. These narratives are rich in pathos and drama and render an individual microcosm of the earthquake experience. These sources are crucial to understanding the principles and approaches that culturally guided the reconstruction process that led to the rebuilding of urban settings. From a broad-scale analysis, at least two attitudes emerge. The first (and this is the case of Diano Marina) in which the process proceeded by rebuilding the town in its entirety according to a structured program in which administrators and the administered participated. This allowed a reconstruction of the urban system through the masterplan designed by Giacomo Pisani. The second approach is the one that was adopted for the case of Bussana which was completely abandoned to found a new town near the coast. The study seeks to reconstruct the political context that led, in both cases, to manage the return to normalcy. According to this research, the impact of the catastrophe destabilized the social and cultural system by opening a phase of economic and tourism rethinking of the coast. The young state structures reacted institutionally through top-down policies, but the sources also return a process of elaboration of the collective memory of the earthquake that influenced the reconstruction with its varied outcomes.

Patrik Németh: Renovation or Reconstruction? The Metropolitan Board of Public Works and the Rebuilding of Budapest After the Second World War (1945–1948)

The siege of Budapest between Dec. 1944 and Feb. 1945 was one of the cruellest among the offensives for cities during the World War. As an aftermath, 80% of the buildings were damaged, many civilians died during the ambushes and all the bridges were blown up. The city was occupied by the Red Army.

After the siege, a board called the Metropolitan Council of Public Works (MCPW) was appointed to oversee the reconstruction project of Budapest. This council was founded in 1870 to establish an impartial committee that could oversee the restructuring works of the city during the late 19th century. To offset the influence of the state and the municipality in planning the capital, both the government and the General Assembly of Budapest could appoint half of the councillors.

Alongside the collapse of the previous regime came the opportunity for a new generation of architects, many of whom were supporters of the Social Democratic Party and of modern architecture. Having gained their erudition at different universities in Europe, they had a wide knowledge of the contemporary trends of urban planning.

In 1945 these architects seized the opportunity to lead the MCPW and thus hoped to manifest their ideas into concrete forms. 'Rebuilding, not restoration"' was their motto. As the city was in ruins, the Council had a chance to radically change the urban landscape by designing new streets and demolishing old tenements. However, it was soon realised that reconciling the new plans with the current reality was not so easy. After having lost its influence due to political debates, the MCPW was dissolved in 1948.

The rebuilding of Budapest is still an obscure topic, and I would like to analyse this issue from a comparative approach. What did the architects know about the rebuilding of other European cities? Could they implement these models for the rebuilding of Budapest? Answering these questions would be useful to get to know how the city recovered after the catastrophe of 1944–1945.

Malgorzata Popiolek-Rosskamp: Postwar Landscape without War. Dealing with the Former Military Areas after the Withdrawal of Soviet Troops from Berlin and Brandenburg in the 1990s

The early 1990s were marked by a feeling of hope and mistrust at the same time, when the decision was made that the Soviet troops would leave Germany after almost half a century. In Brandenburg 8% of the total area was occupied by the WGT and NVA troops. Although the (cold) war did not break out, the landscape nevertheless bore consequences of the military presence that reverberate to this day. What remained after the final withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1994 were administrative buildings, barracks, residential buildings, hospitals, recreational facilities, monuments, radar stations, military training areas, firing ranges, military airports, large tank farms and, last but not least, various contaminated sites. The paper will, starting from modalities of troop withdrawal, which have been little discussed in public so far, present different strategies of conversion and appropriation in dealing with the abandoned objects. It will present the variety of public and private-sector actors with their interests, scope for action and resulting conflicts. Selected examples will be used to outline patterns of protection and musealization practices by citizens' initiatives and state actors. Finally, I will pose a question of today's relevance of this history and its (lack of) remembrance in reunified Germany. What can we learn from these experiences with former military areas in post-conflict landscapes? How should we deal with the Soviet time layer and the memory of the Soviet presence in Germany, given the war in Ukraine? The paper will present the initial results of the sub-project, which is a part of the project on socio-spatial transformations of Berlin and Brandenburg 1980-2000. It is based on recently accessed written sources as well as visual and cartographic material and interviews with contemporary witnesses of these developments, which have so far received little attention in transformation research.

David Martin Lopez: Reconstruction or keeping devastated as memorial: the two aesthetics ways of the urbanism of Francoist Regime

Throughout contemporary history, urban planning is undoubtedly a theoretical and practical manifestation of the politics and ideology of a given moment, and, in a dictatorship such as Franco's, it can be a symbolic and moralizing weapon. Before the end of the civil war in Spain, in January 1938, the Dirección General de Regiones Devastadas (General Directorate of Devastated Regions and Reparations) was created, under the Ministry of the Interior of the new Francoist government, with the aim of guiding, facilitating and in many cases directly reconstructing the damage caused by the still existing Civil War.

From 1939 onwards, two general provisions set the tone for its action: one that granted certain rights to owners who rebuilt their properties in accordance with the rules laid down by the Directorate, making the mortgagees aware of the damage suffered; and on the other hand, the most important one, in which the State directly assumed responsibility for the reconstruction of those towns and cities that were almost entirely destroyed.

In September 1939, it was decided that the regions with more than 75% of destruction were under his tutelage in a spatial way and they were called towns adopted by the Caudillo Franco. However, political intentions lead only some of the towns to be restored, such as Guernica, whereas others were symbolically kept as ruins, such as Belchite.

This work reflects, from a holistic point of view, the urban reconstruction models carried out by the Franco regime in comparison with other devastated contexts and contemporary European catastrophes.

Vassilis Colonas: Reconstruction after earthquakes and genius loci

The paper deals with the use of contemporary architecture in post-earthquake reconstruction of cities and settlements in relation to that which preceded it, whether it was vernacular or academic.

The appropriate terms which could be used are: copy, analogy, integration, neutral coexistence, contrast, juxtaposition, indifference.

Four examples from Greece will be presented - and a case study from the wider Mediterranean area, the first example being an introduction, the last one an epilogue. In summary, these cases are:
Kos (Dodecanese, 1933): the architecture of the urban residence is part of a more general Mediterranean iconography with the main characteristics being the use of decorative elements of the "local" and western architectural tradition.
Ionian Islands (1953): During the reconstruction, the old urban fabric was preserved and a scenographic reconstruction of the pre-existing image was attempted.
Santorini (1956): In this case, an attempt was made to subtly supplement the traditional settlements with complexes of semi-prefabricated houses, deriving from the local tradition in terms of synthetic principles of organizing the space and not of a transfer and use of previous forms and decoration.
A similar treatment can be seen in the reconstruction of Agadir in Morocco (1960), where the plasticity of the volumes and the use of solids and voids in the construction no longer refer to the arabesques of H. Prost and his colleagues in the new cities of Morocco, but to the local tradition.
Volos (1955): The initiative for the reconstruction of the city was not undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works as in the previous cases, but by the army, This "urgent" initiative resulted in the absence of an overall planning strategy of the urban space, neither at the level of form, nor at the level of compositional principles.

Danila Longo: Historic cities centres as a testing ground to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters

Climate change is now recognized as one of the causes of natural disasters (e.g., floods, storms, droughts, etc.) that are increasingly and more frequently affecting urban contexts and territories, impacting economies, ecosystems, and human health on a global scale. In this context, cities are also facing a particularly concerning issue known as the "urban heat island" phenomenon, which significantly raises temperatures within urban areas.

At the European level policies, initiatives and funding programs (from the EU Green Deal to the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities) are pushing stakeholders to adopt approaches and solutions to mitigate their effects in an integrated way, in attempts to elicit a collective behavioral change and systemic transformations. Most the EU initiatives are pivoted on cities as a preferred territorial scale of action as well as governance configuration. This builds on the historical role played by cities in the European political history, and on the potential and challenges of their historic centres.

These represent challenging grounds for experimenting with tools, practices and solutions that mitigate the effects of natural disasters linked to climate change, as their cultural and political centrality is counterbalanced by social fragility and overexposure to phenomena such as urban heatwaves and urban heat islands. The urge to preserve cultural heritage from climate-related risks and make historic centres resilient organisms to climate and socio-economic changes faces numerous constraints (architectural, economic, social, etc.).

This paper will build upon the research activities of the 'CHANGE - Cultural Heritage, building renovAtioN and urban reGEneration' (PNRR – PE5-SPOKE 7) project to reflect on possible data-based methods of analysis and interpretation, design tools and innovative green solutions based on the integration of cultural, technological, environmental, social and economic issues in the design of the existing built environment, with the aim of mitigating the effects natural disasters caused by climate change, while respecting their architectural features and promoting social inclusion, livability and urban health.

M3 Interrogating Historical Value: A Place for People and the Past in Urban Heritage Conservation

Main chair: Dr James Lesh, Deakin University

1st Co-chair: Professor Rebecca Madgin, University of Glasgow

2nd Co-chair: Dr Tanja Vahtikari, Tampere University

Short abstract

How might urban historians push the boundaries of heritage conservation in cities across the world? Our purpose is to interweave history and heritage, both conceptually and practically, to address the enduring failure of conservation to centre historical, social and community perspectives.

Keywords: heritage; conservation; methodology; social history; public history; people-centred; heritage studies


History and Heritage Interfaces, Historical Methodologies, People-Centred Heritage Conservation

Session content

The relationship between urban history and heritage conservation is unstable. Both fields are overlapping yet have distinctive concerns. While historians inquire into past places and communities, conservationists decide about the preservation of the past for future places and communities. For this reason, urban historians have long expressed interest in urban heritage (Davison and McConville 1991; Hayden 1995) and urban conservation (Larkham 1996; Pendlebury 2009). Heritage has also been identified by historians as a phenomenon shaping cities, particularly since the mid-twentieth-century citizen and professional backlash against the ahistorical and technocratic character of modernism, and the emergence of a widespread post-1970s urban interest in history, context, and conservation (Lesh 2023; Vahtikari, 2017; Madgin, 2009).

Yet urban historians have had just a tangential influence on the practice of heritage conservation, alongside the maturing field of critical heritage studies. A key shared insight, nevertheless, emerges from both academic literatures: the enduring failure to centre social and community historical perspectives in heritage conservation. Across the world, conservation privileges the retention of built fabric and the perspectives of heritage experts. These issues suggest opportunities for urban historians to articulate a clearer intellectual contribution and practical approach for safeguarding the social and community aspects of the urban past. We are inspired by the notion that historians have the capacity to pursue people-centred conservation by engaging with the structural and everyday social, policy and economic realities of protecting heritage places (Madgin and Lesh, 2021).

The session seeks conceptual and case study contributions of the ways that urban historians have pushed the boundaries of grounded urban heritage conservation in cities across the world. Engaged with sub-disciplines of history, we invite not only urban historians but also social, policy, planning, architectural, public, applied, community and local historians. Conceptually, we request papers that interrogate the temporal and spatial distinctions between history and heritage, the approaches and sources needed to interrogate heritage within urban history, and the opportunities for urban historians from connecting with cultural heritage. We are especially interested in methodologies for foregrounding urban histories in heritage conservation. Practically, we also invite historians to share critical case studies of working on heritage places on the ground. What intellectual and practical benefits come from interweaving heritage and history? How might historians contribute to people-centred conservation? The future of the urban past is at stake.


Nadia M. Anderson: Cultural Cartography as a Method for Countering Cultural Displacement and Preserving Urban Heritage

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nine of the fifteen fastest-growing cities in the United States in 2022 were in the South. Charlotte, North Carolina, the focus of this paper, was the fifth fastest growing city in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau). At the same time, cities like Charlotte sees rapidly expanding income divides, lack of social mobility, and growing displacement particularly in historically African-American neighborhoods (Sharma, 2017; Chetty, 2014). This paper discusses how heritage conservation and community engagement methods can be combined to generate social geographies of neighborhoods facing cultural displacement through gentrification.

As a result of segregationist zoning, financial "red-lining," and urban renewal, Charlotte exemplifies the racial segregation present in many southern U.S. cities (Rothstein, 2017). Recent high-growth patterns put pressure on African-American neighborhoods, particularly those near the city center that have been largely ignored since "white flight" in the 1960s-1980s. Today these neighborhoods are highly desirable and exponentially increasing land values make them easy victims of property development. Rising rents and property taxes force people to leave. Those who can stay say they do not feel that they belong in the neighborhoods where their families have lived for generations. As neighborhood buildings and public spaces are demolished and replaced, the cultural heritage of the people who lived there is also displaced.

Working with the Levine Museum of the New South and community organizations, the UNC Charlotte City Building Lab has been using a range of methods to document and preserve the heritage of African-American neighborhoods using a method we call "cultural cartography." Working with oral histories, new interviews with residents, and a range of mapping techniques including engagement events, this project seeks to map memories and experiences of place that do not show up in traditional spatial maps, thus preserving social geographies that disappear as the built environment transforms. In addition to preserving urban heritage, this work also reveals and brings forward the lives and places of people who have been suppressed, hidden by segregation in ways that building preservation alone cannot do.

José Vela Castillo: Ruining Heritage. An investigation into preservation, survival and architecture

Architecture always begins as a process of ruin: it develops an initial state of ruin that, paradoxically, is never shown or perceived until its future disappearance. As the philosopher Jacques Derrida notes in his book Memoirs of the Blind. The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, "The ruin does not supervene like an accident upon a monument that was intact only yesterday. In the beginning there is ruin." For Derrida the ruin is inserted at any beginning, at the "origin" (if there is one) of whatever exists or is present, as the elusive trace of a disjointed foundation.

Derrida's discussion of the ruin and its seminal significance takes place in the context of painting, but it's architectural and urban potentials are clear. Historical buildings, according to this line of argument, show not only the faded image of decay and the passage of time, but also some original traces of their (former?) life and of the existential conditions of the society that built them.

This paper proposes to understand Derrida's statement as applied to architecture and how it deals with the present state of our architectural heritage in broad urban contexts.

According to this view, time in architecture is not understood as the becoming present of a succession of equal quanta of time through the infinite straight line that connects the past with the present and the future, but as its interruption in space, as the incision and the cut that give space its sense of temporalization: hence the so-called singularity of ruin.

The ultimate goal is to establish a different conceptual framework, albeit an aporetical one, that allows for a new approach to the general theme of "heritage conservation". The point is to provide a new conceptual background to the current issues raised by the standard approaches to intervention in the built heritage that constitute current practices in our societies.

Mesut Dinler: Unofficial Perception and Management of Heritage in the Peripheries of Urbanized Landscapes

Studying the history of urban peripheries presents unique challenges due to limited resource accessibility. However, this approach not only provide a deeper, more authentic, and nuanced understanding of the urban history but also offers alternatives to the prevalent top-down heritage management. Contemporary heritage perspectives, such as the Historic Urban Landscape, frame a conceptual framework to urbanized landscapes to confront the centuries long 'preservation versus development' conflict. However, such approaches focus on the historic areas of cities that are officially recognized either by state agencies or by UNESCO. Urban peripheries, on the other hand, provide a window into distinct and alternative heritage interactions.

Aurora district in Turin serves as an illustrative case. Characterized by its dense immigrant population from China, North Africa, and the Middle East, Aurora epitomizes a 'multicultural district' — a term used to both commend diversity and obfuscate persistent issues of racism and xenophobia. This district hosts migrants, drug dealers, vendors, and Turin's LGBTQ community. As such, Aurora challenges conventional heritage narratives currently under the danger of gentrification. It underwent urbanization in the late nineteenth century, transitioning from agricultural lands to industrial hubs. Migrant influxes, particularly from southern Italy pre-WWI, imparted distinctive socio-political influences. Notably, during the fascist era in Italy, this migrant community significantly resisted the fascist regime, playing an essential role in Turin's WWII liberation.

This paper's central premise argues that the Aurora community's contemporary engagement with its urban heritage challenges conventional top-down heritage paradigms. This community interprets and manages its heritage in ways that often diverge from official guidelines. This is rooted in Aurora's rich urban memory. Exploring the histories of such urban peripheries where we can observe unconventional perceptions of heritage, we can also find an urban history of resistance against power structures.

Liliana Luga - Oana-Cristina Ţiganea: Exploring and Conserving the Multi-Layered Legacies of a Cold War "Secret Town" in ?tei, Romania

Within Romania's urban landscape, the small town of ?tei emerges as a distinctive place. Planned from scratch in the early 1950s in the vicinity of a uranium mining exploitation in the Apuseni Mountains (Western Carpathians), the town is a well-preserved example of Soviet-style urban design and socialist realist architecture, ?tei was part of a network used by the Soviets to extract uranium, a much-treasured resource at the beginnings of the Cold War, from the occupied countries in Eastern Europe. Built for the Soviet specialists, Stei maintained its "secret town" status even after their departure in 1956, and its further industrial and urban expansion in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s, it experienced closure of most of its industry, privatization of private property, but also re-industrialization, and it is now home to approximately 6,000 inhabitants. As part of an interdisciplinary project initiated in 2021, we explore the layered legacies of this Cold War project, focusing on the town built in the 1950s for Soviet specialists, now inhabited by Romanian residents, some of whom have been professionally connected to the mine. Although we started the project with the goal of finding strategies to support the conservation of the town's built environment, the challenges encountered during the fieldwork opened many theoretical and practical questions. We were confronted with difficulties in reconstructing the local history, as no available archives for the Soviet period could be identified. Stei is not recognized as a "historic" place, and local authorities have a superficial understanding of its value. The consequences of the uranium exploitation, both social, cultural, and environmental, remain a taboo.Whose history are we reconstructing? Is there really a community for which this history is relevant? How can we contribute to the preservation of housing in private property, when the owners constantly want to "modernize" and improve the comfort of their houses?

Luiza Santos: Cultural Heritage in the 2000s: A New Approach to Brazilian Heritage Policies

The issues surrounding cultural heritage and its relationship with national identity in Brazil began to develop in the 1930s with the creation of the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage. It was during period 2000s that the historic centre of Manuas, the capital located in the northem region of Brazil admits the Amazon Forest was declared a heritage site.

Nasim Shiasi - Mahmood Panahy: Challenges of Reinterpreting History Through Urban Palimpsest: Europeans Contributions to Isfahan's Urban Heritage Conservation

Isfahan stands as one of Iran's most historically significant cities, an attraction for European travellers across centuries. Their legacies encompass urban maps, architectural sketches of now-vanished buildings, evocative photographs capturing the city's essence, and captivating paintings. These artefacts are further enriched by travelogues that vividly describe various historical and social aspects of Isfahan throughout history. Together, these materials make invaluable historical layers within the city understandable, forming pivotal resources for Italian experts who embarked on the task of preserving the city's iconic historical structures in the 20th century as IsMEO's delegates. Many of these buildings are integral to Isfahan's urban heritage and hold UNESCO World Heritage status.

Our research begins with a contemporary interpretation of 'palimpsests.' We then introduce the diverse historical documents from Isfahan's urban history, focusing on key sources pivotal to Italian experts' research in the early 20th century, some of which remain unpublished to this day. Subsequently, we delve into the methodological framework employed by Italian experts to explore Isfahan's urban heritage history. We discuss their indispensable roles, the challenges they encountered, and the methodologies they employed in reinterpreting Isfahan's heritage.

Our research methodology blends an analytical description with comprehensive bibliographical research across diverse archives. It encompasses theoretical-critical analysis, field trips to Isfahan involving observation, note-taking, photography, and interviews with Iranian specialists who collaborated closely with Italian experts.

Throughout this research, we aim to address these fundamental questions: What approaches did Italian experts employ to re-examine history through historical documents spanning centuries? Did they successfully reinterpret Isfahan's urban history through the urban palimpsest? How did they value and integrate different historical layers into restoration and conservation projects, and are these layers comprehensible to the public today?

Ultimately, our paper aims to propose a methodology for reinterpreting Isfahan's urban history by navigating the urban palimpsest, bridging the gap between historical interpretation and heritage conservation, particularly in the context of IsMEO's contributions. Our goal is to make history and heritage accessible and tangible to the wider public.

In conclusion, this paper rigorously reconsiders the 'palimpsest' concept within Isfahan's urban heritage context, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities it presents for enriching our understanding of history and heritage in urban environments.

Pierre Wenzel: Cementing heritage in Dakar (Senegal), a dwellers' perspective

What is considered to be heritage? Who can decide what it is? My research on concrete in Dakar led me to ask these questions to unveil historical layers in the city at the level of particular homes that have been shaped by housing programs in the 1950s and the 1970s. Concrete in Dakar is a layered material. From the introduction of Portland cement by the French settlers towards the end of the 19th century, until nowadays, cement has been used in different manners that have constituted the city. Through flaneries (Coates, Benjamin) I identified three houses in three districts of Dakar. These houses conserved traces of their original form but transformed over time, generations, and families' histories. This created specific thick histories composed of materials, people, experiences, and emotions.

Methodologically, these strolls enabled me to experience the urban continuities and discontinuities as well as unexpected and unforeseen facets of the city (Tomás). Knocking on doors, and being able to listen to houses' biographies I realized that most of the families considered them as urban heritage, intertwined in family trajectories, rapid urban transformations (Lesh), and national history of Senegal. Proud to have preserved the original ground floor house of their fathers in any form, these architectures are sometimes difficult to recognize without the explanations of the present generations. Following dwellers in their homes is a unique way to analyze place attachment, memories, and social and cultural values encapsulated in lived and living places. This article aims to discuss heritage from a dwelling perspective (Heidegger, Ingold). It will ask: how can concrete be understood as a daily heritage in Dakar? How can mundane places be read as heritage places (Atkinson)? How private households are turning into heritage managers of their own houses? Flaneries coupled with interviews, visits of houses, and archival (iconographic) research allow us to analyze the boundaries of future-oriented urban heritage between the public and the private, the outside and the inside, but also between the past and the present.

Olena Zhukova - Olesya ?hagovets: Methods of Urban Heritage Revitalisation: Experience from Norrkoping and Vadkoping (Sweden) and Their Application in the Preservation Practices of Kharkiv's Urban History (Ukraine)

Kharkiv is a city-frontier, a city on the Ukraine-Russia border, a city on the crossing of the two rivers Kharkiv and Lopan. For centuries, the city has functioned at the crossroads of cultures, ideas and influences. The urban fabric of Kharkiv absorbs different eras and cultures: the trading city of the early nineteenth century coexists alongside Soviet avant-garde architecture; narrow streets give way to open squares and wide avenues; eclectic factories are surrounded by industrial giants, and Ukrainian street names reflect part of Kharkiv's historical memory.

This report focuses on the problems of high-quality post-war reconstruction of the city of Kharkiv. The choice of methodology aimed at highlighting urban history as a key factor in the preservation of heritage is discussed. Attention is focused on the methods of preservation and effective presentation of historical objects in the living fabric of modern urban space for the use of future generations.

The research analysed and identified methodological principles of interaction with the heritage of the cities of Norrkoping and Vadkoping (Sweden), which are similar to Kharkiv in the context of historical development. The identified methodological principles of revitalising architectural heritage in Swedish cities involve the use of exposition travel technologies organised around elements of the water landscape. The use of the Kharkiv and Lopan rivers as conceptual arteries to unite the historic centre of Kharkiv opens up new opportunities for rethinking and celebrating the architectural heritage of Kharkiv from different centuries. The experience of Swedish cities allows us to better understand and evaluate the impact of heritage enhanced by the use of conceptual water travel technologies. The studied methods of heritage representation contribute to the preservation of Kharkiv as a city at the crossroads of cultures and rivers, inviting people to explore the city's heritage on their own.

M5 Houses, households, and housing conditions in the Early Modern town

Main chair: Dag Lindström, prof., Uppsala University

1st Co-chair: Jakub Wysmułek, dr, Polish Academy of Sciences

Short abstract

The session is addressed to researchers of domestic life in early modern towns. We invite you to discuss the methods, theoretical conceptualization, and share your empirical research on relationship between the architectural structures of the houses, the differences in housing conditions and the various practices of their inhabitation by households.

Keywords: Houses, households, housing conditions, early modern times, towns and cities.


The relationship between houses and forms of their inhabitation by households in early modern towns.

Session content

Housing is a fundamental dimension of human life and it certainly entangles much of urban everyday practices across all social classes. Living spaces do not only provide shelter, space for work and rest, but also constitute resources and constraints effectively affecting human interactions and generating cultural references, economic dependencies, and social forms. Housing is also inextricably linked to households, a fundamental unit of early modern society, which members comprised of people bounded by blood or contract have shared common "roof and table".

We still know surprisingly little about diverse forms of early modern urban dwellings, discrepancies of living conditions and the various ways in which houses were inhabited. Our knowledge about the relations between urban space, social meanings, and domestic life is still limited, and we still lack much of the empirical material necessary to establish long-term developments and comparative conclusions.

This, however, is a field where important methodological and conceptual progress now take place. A 'spatial turn' in historiography, and more open and dynamic understandings of early modern households have developed. Joachim Eibach's concept of "the open house" and Peter Arnade, Martha C. Howell and Walter Simons call to make urban space a central theoretical concern are valuable examples. Buildings and households are more frequently understood as dynamic processes of doing houses and doing households, closely related with social- and life-circle developments. Space and materiality have also become more frequently included in social and cultural analyses. With this, it is no longer possible to treat the built structures of dwelling houses, streets, and back yard areas as simple backdrops to social organization and social practices. Instead, houses and people appear as intertwined in constant dynamic interaction. New methods for house analyses develop and generate new information about the transformations of built structures and spatial practices. Simultaneously, the analyses of households develop in directions emphasizing variation, interaction, and transformation. This is becoming a vibrant field of research, connecting social organization, practices, and relations with space and materiality, generating new knowledge about urban ways of life.

Referring to Louis Wirth's seminal essay "Urbanism as a Way of Life", we argue that the way of life depends on the place of life. Therefore, for this session, we invite contributions that discuss methods and theoretical conceptualizations of the dynamic interaction between houses and people as well and empirical research on housing arrangements and living conditions in the early modern town. With this session, we also aim at enhancing comparative, longitudinal and interdisciplinary approaches. We welcome contributions from different country contexts and methodological perspectives.


Anna Paulina Orlowska: A house is a house is a house. On the way to a consistent definition for comparative urban studies

The digital turn presents researchers with great opportunities but also with new challenges. This new way of collecting and examining historical information allows comparative analyses that were previously beyond human means – over long distances and timespans.

However, the price for these prospects is converting historical knowledge into historical data, the process by which we translate complex, multidimensional reality into tiny pieces of information manageable in binary code. It requires us not only to divide our knowledge into categories but also to define our categories consciously and precisely. Only this accuracy will enable a meaningful comparison.

As housing and households are inextricably linked to houses, an in-depth-analysis of this term and developing of definition(s) suitable for comparisons is of the utmost importance. Currently, we are lacking such definition of the term house. The definitions in use so far can be derived from morphology as well as legality, functionality, or toponymy. This latter case points to a fundamental problem when mapping historical sources onto a theoretical model: Language barriers and different usages of words that are translated as house can introduce significant uncertainty into a dataset. Language evolution and the corresponding changes in those terms, which only shared a family resemblance rather than a distinct definition, to begin with, further complicate the matter.

In this talk, I will analyse emic and etic uses of terms that are usually translated as house in a broad European context with a focus on Middle and Eastern Europe (incl. Balkans). For HiSMaComp case studies (Warsaw, Magdeburg, Inowroclaw, Bad Pyrmont, Olsztyn, Ochsenfurt – premodern metropolis, spa town, ecclesiastical town), I will analyse the toponyms and morphology of buildings, in the context of their functions, as well as the town typology.

The discussion will help to further intertwine research on urban space with social and cultural analyses.

Elena Svalduz: A New Way of Living: The Palladian Houses and the Urban Landscape

This contribution aims at analyzing the development of urban residences, strarting from the first decades of 16th century, and the emergence of the Palladian "casa di citta" (town house) as an architectural form. The paper will focus on the Palladio's town house designs and on his ability as a designer of new spaces taken from ancient architecture illustrated in its Four Books; finally on his development of rational compositional schemes and procedures. The Four Books provided the basis for anyone who wanted to build or design new houses. Palladio arranged some elements in a new architectural form, based on ancient Roman architecture: from the atrium (tetrastyle), the vestibule and the courtyard, which becomes the heart of the house in accordance with Leon Battista Alberti's indications. Palladio developed standard solutions and approaches, thereby simplifying his design procedures, while at the same time offering the maximum of variety, so that every client could feel that his own building was not a copy. The analysis will focus on the impact generated by new types of buildings on the urban context, in cities such as Vicenza and Venice. Their owners were either leading members of local elites, or of the ruling class of Venice. By examining the different cases, this contribution aims to provide with a deep understanding of Palladian urban palaces through an interdisciplinary approach to its cultural complexity in relation to its wider historical and social context.

Liliana Castilho: Housing typologies and conditions in Portuguese cities in the early modern period

The materiality of the house is always a reflection of the social and economic reality of those who inhabit it and is intrinsically interconnected with the cosmogony of its builder, both in terms of aesthetic options and in terms of its internal organization. Understanding the house is understanding the Man and vice versa.

Throughout the early modern period, in Portugal, we have witnessed a growing spatial specialization of dwellings in the upper strata of the population, the existence of private spaces, chambers, toilets and bedrooms becoming common, public spaces such as halls, chair rooms, chapels and hallways multiply, and abounding service areas such as kitchens, patios, cellars, toilets and stables.

On the other hand, at the opposite end of the social spectrum, changes in the way of living are almost non-existent and the house is, above all, a reflection of the more or less precarious economic conditions of its inhabitants.

The common house has a reduced area of implantation, due to the high price of land in the interior of the city, and makes the most of the space in terms of height, adding another room or floor, according to the needs and possibilities. At the level of the ground floor, there were always stores, often a workshop or apothecary on the side facing the street, and living spaces were reserved for the upper floors. There could be only one room per floor, but the most frequent typology was that of three rooms: a living room facing the public street, a kitchen in the middle (to facilitate the extraction of smoke, since chimneys or fireplaces were practically non-existent in this group of dwellings) and a chamber overlooking the backyard.

The backyard, an essential health reserve and food supplement, exists in almost every dwelling, but its dimensions and its use, for food production or leisure, naturally followed the economic possibilities of its inhabitants.

These spatial and constructive differences, noticeable through the analysis of the documentation, whether it be building permits, leases or wills, resulted in different conditions of habitability and health and even different possibilities of survival in the event of pestilence or fire.

Housing is thus a reflection of the worldview and economic possibility of those who build it, and live in it, but it is also a generator of social practices throughout the early modern age.

Ondřej Haničák: The physical structure of town-houses in the cities of Austrian Silesia in the first half of the 18th century in the light of cadastral sources

Based on a rescript issued by Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg (1685-1740) on 4 November 1721, a cadastral register mapping the financial income of the population was initiated on the territory of Silesian principalities. Property holdings of townspeople including tax evaluation of burgher houses were assessed and taxed in the register.

Two decades later the results of the tax surveys from the 1720s were carefully reviewed, this time only concerning the regions that had remained under the control of the Habsburg monarchy following the cessation of major parts of Silesia to the Kingdom of Prussia. Manuscript summaries of tax elaborates, nowadays deposited in the State Archives in Wroclaw and Regional Archives in Opava, represent a valuable source for examining the overall character of residential areas of Silesian towns in the first half of the 18th century. For the so-called Austrian Silesia, the tax registers not only offer the possibility of research into proprietary conditions and households cohabitation patterns, but they also allow for a more detailed description of the urban areas.

The aim of this study is to examine the spatial composition of town-houses in the so-called Austrian Silesia, including the typology and specifications of functional determination of particular parts of buildings. With reference to legal status of buildings and their positioning on the urbanistic map of town settlements their disposition and functional structure will be compared. Specific features and spatial composition of houses will mainly be discussed by setting up a comparison between the rich townsmen and craftsmen houses and the destitute urban areas in the suburbs. The differences in spatial composition of the houses and to a certain degree their proprietary structures will also be interpreted with regards to comparing urban areas of particular towns varying in their size, economic significance, administrative status, pattern of jurisdiction and cultural tradition.

Brendan Röder: Endangered Households. Reconfiguring spatial boundaries in the face of danger in early modern German towns

The proposed paper looks at urban households through the lens of danger. Drawing on material from 17th-century-Southern German towns, it asks how threats such as infectious diseases and fires made visible, reinforced but also transgressed the physical and social boundaries of houses and of units within houses. Conflagration could evidently affect co-inhabitants and neighbours alike and led to urban norms allowing the breaking of otherwise closed doors and windows. Similarly, infection was seen as potentially spreading through 'corrupted air' calling for more comprehensive areal measures and justifying measures of vigilance in households, workshops and rooms. By contrast, during a plague epidemic in Augsburg in 1628 inhabitants argued that 'plague' cases and therefore quarantine measures could and should be restricted to specific rooms within shared houses. Combining ideas of health dangers with morality, they stated that nobody in their houses was immoral enough not to have a separate closable door, making it sufficient to mark and close-off these rooms rather than the whole house. The aim of the paper within the session, then, is twofold. First, I use so-far unknown archival sources to show how situations of danger provide a rich window into early modern housing conditions and throw into sharp relief concerns 'from below' and 'from above' regarding households and their boundaries. Second, on a more conceptual level, the aim is to think about how looking at dangers arising from human cohabitation might influence ideas such as the 'open house' and how regular configurations of space should be related to exceptional situations.

Bas Spliet: Splendorous Canal Houses & Dark Basements: Housing Inequality in a Premodern Metropole (Amsterdam, 1500-1800)

In 1665, Tobias van Domselaer admitted in his otherwise eulogistic 'Description of Amsterdam' (book III, p. 254-255) that the city's working classes were often cramped into single-room apartments in the newly built neighbourhoods east and west of the old centre. The records of the premodern metropole's housing stock produced in the process of reforming a real estate tax in 1733 reveals that basements, attics and other rented-out rooms were indeed omnipresent in the city at the end of its spectacular expansion. However, their diverging spatial prevalence and rental values give an unprecedented insight into the inequality of housing conditions separating the largely immigrant 'underclass' (Kuijpers 2005) and the established citizens that increasingly closed ranks in the 18th century (Prak & Hesselink 2005). This paper addresses the call of Dutch historians who have studied housing segregation at the neighbourhood (macro) and street (meso) levels (Lesger & Van Leeuwen 2012; Lesger, Van Leeuwen & Vissers 2013) for more research into housing inequalities at the micro-level – that is, behind the façades of the famous canal houses. But the paper also contributes to international debates about (planned) urban expansion and the disparate impact of housing scarcity in growing cities. An earlier version of the real estate tax from 1562 contains much less references to single-room dwellings, which suggests that the phenomenon was a byproduct of the 17th-century expansion. A large body of about 1.500 probate inventories, which stretch from the 1560s to the 1720s and often mention the number of rooms, enables an answer to the question whether each of the four expansion phases had an alleviating or deepening impact on housing inequality. A collection of 402 17th- and 18th-century inventories that have been analysed in detail, finally, permits a thorough investigation into the unequal evolution towards 'domesticity' (Schuurman 1992), which the Dutch are supposed to have pioneered.

M6 Making inner urban boundaries

Main chair: Mateusz Fafinski, Max Weber Centre, Erfurt University, Germany

1st Co-chair: Sara Keller, Bamberg University, Germany

Short abstract

Cities are quintessential products of boundary making. This panel addresses the question of the production of boundaries in the urban context, with a special focus on religion: what are the imagined and lived boundaries that shapes the city and what is the role of religion in these boundary making processes?

Keywords: Boundary making, urbanity, religion, imagined and lived boundaries, ritual, temporality


Boundary making and the city; religion as producer of imagined and lived boundaries.

Session content

Cities are quintessential products of boundary making. Taking diversity and complexity as the primary characteristics of the urban, the city can be understood as a result of grouping and differentiating processes. This panel addresses the production of boundaries within the city, with a special focus on religion: what are the imagined and lived boundaries that shape life in the city and what is the role of religion in these boundary making processes?

If the most obvious way to look at urban boundaries is to map physical borders of the built cityscape, we are more interested in looking at imagined and lived boundaries produced by speech acts, cultural practices or religious rituals. City life appears as a product of synchronic and diachronic processes that produced the spatial, temporal, and social differentiation. Religion significantly contributes to the formation of boundaries that underpin these processes. While the panel focuses on the religious aspect of boundary making, we want to go beyond institutionalized religious groups and identities. We are inviting papers addressing the question of how religious practices contributed to spatial, temporal and social differentiation, thus shaping urbanity.

Inner urban boundaries (but also other forms of the liminal like margins, barriers, or edges) could be drawn to differentiate spaces, groups and/or ideas such as secular and profane spaces or temporalities; pure and impure groups, spaces or acts; private, public and semi-private areas; urban and "tamed" nature; genders; the visible and the invisible in the city etc. Boundary making underscores the success and failure of ideologies and often defines the survival or disappearance of groups.

If cities can be thought of as "sorting machines" letting people in but also throwing them out, we are interested in how the boundary making in both physical and symbolic sense, especially through the influence of religious practices or rituals, structures life inside of the city. From the walls of a medieval cemetery to the areal of a Buddhist monastery, physical borders have enabled this sorting. But symbolic boundary making is just as powerful: ritual merging of courtyards in Judaism or temporal borders allowing different groups to use the same baths are poignant uch borders. The large geographical and historical scope encourages to look at contrasting boundary making processes and the resulting urbanities. We want to engage with the process of boundary making as one influenced by religious practices within th city.

With those considerations in mind, papers engaging with the following questions are particularly welcomed:

  • Imagined boundaries and their impact on the social and the physical city
  • Translation processes from imagined boundaries to lived and/or physical boundaries
  • Discrepancy between imagined, lived and/or physical boundaries
  • Boundary characteristics: Impermeability, crossing and flow
  • Disruption and changes of boundaries.


Supriya Chaudhuri: Blurred boundaries or intermediate zones? Urban co-spatiality and religious boundary-making in a South Asian city

During the colonial period, Calcutta (now Kolkata) was perceived in terms of a clear separation of Black (native) and White (European) towns, a distinction that implied a further demarcation between Christian, Hindu and Muslim urban spaces. This distinction is reported on by contemporary observers like the Flemish artist Balthazar Solvyns, resident in Calcutta from 1791 to 1803. However, modern urban historians dispute the strictness of these urban boundaries, instead arguing for (a) the presence of a "grey town", an intermediate zone with a mixed population that had settled there from pre-colonial times, or (b) the constant blurring and erasure of boundaries between the Black and White towns owing to the presence of service populations and administrative interventions. Over a period of time, urban flows -- involving trade and commerce, the shifting and replacement of populations, and overcrowding -- produce an effect of co-spatiality, with spaces that were formerly demarcated on religious or racial lines being put to multiple uses. Yet the phenomenon of an inner urban boundary is not entirely lost and continues to persist as a trace element within the complex, sedimentation of communities, identities and practices. My presentation will look at Kolkata's "Grey Town", a historically defined urban area, through these perceptions of space, place and boundary, in terms of what Doreen Massey calls the system of differentiation or territorialisation that distinguishes colonial cities and which she views as an aspect of modernity. I will offer both a historical view of boundary-making in the colonial city, and a theoretical argument regarding urban co-spatiality (Jacques Levy) on the one hand and  Mezzadra and Neilson's Border as Method, which looks closely at inner urban boundaries and the way in which they regulate civic identities, migration and labour, on the other hand.

Emily Chung: Beyond the 'Slums and Suburbs': Revisiting Urban Boundaries in Early Victorian Manchester

Traditional historiography describes Victorian Manchester as severely segregated, following the 'slums and suburbs' model characteristic of modern cities. Accounts emerging from mid-19th century Manchester by men such as Engels and Faucher described a condition of concentric segregation with the poorest inhabitants clustered in the center, working-class communities encircling them, the middle classes residing at the city's outskirts, and the affluent in the surrounding suburbs. Nevertheless, this narrative has faced mounting scrutiny as urban scholars have raised doubts about the true extent of such segregation.

Emerging GIS technologies and the digitization of documents such as historical maps and censuses have allowed for a quantitative revisitation of segregation. The results of detailed geodemographic analyses challenge the traditional notion of stark segregation, revealing a more complex and integrated urban landscape. Given these results, how does one reconcile qualitative accounts of social segregation with its integrated geographies? With a particular focus on the dynamics between the working- and middle-classes, this paper proposes that the construction, maintenance, and regulation of the urban environment worked alongside class-distinctive patterns of spatial occupation to reinforce perceptions of boundaries across the city.

With the context of geographic integration in mind, this paper revisits the same seminal sources used to argue traditional claims of segregation. It exposes a more nuanced vision of early Victorian Manchester in which boundaries were established not so much by space as by time, and maintained through class-distinctive attitudes towards leisure, religiosity, and consumerism as well as disciplinary practices. In particular, this research explores the occupation of spaces such as churches, taverns, and markets alongside the temporal rhythms determined by the industrial workday. It illuminates how these factors created a condition in which despite close physical proximity, different social classes rarely engaged in meaningful interactions, thus reinforcing the perception of boundaries. This reexamination challenges prevailing historical narratives, shedding new light on the interplay of time, space, and class in the Victorian urban landscape.

Hakan Forsell: Ritual Borders and Urban Modernization. The Existence and Transformation of the ritual Sabbath boundary (Eruv) in European Towns, 1860-1930

In the Jewish diaspora, there has been a tradion of ritually "creang spaces". Since no place can be regarded as given to the dispersed Jewish community, space must be created in relaon to the contexts and societes in which Jewish life is set to operate. This paper wants to explore more closely how the ritual Sabbath boundary, the eruv, existed within Orthodox Jewish minorites in Western towns and how the border was questioned and transformed as a result of urban development. By marking a border that includes several houses, sometimes several blocks, even entire town districts – the distinction between public and private spaces ceased. An eruv transformed, so to speak, an urban area into a single house, within whose boundary it became permissible to perform actions that would otherwise not be permi]ed on the Sabbath, such as carrying things or pushing a stroller or wheelchair. The eruv is both a symbolic and a physical boundary: ideally the area would be surrounded by walls and gates, but in the absence of these a boundary must be fixed to act as a substitute. These could consist of twisted fabric, strings, or in moderntimes of wrapped plastic. In German towns during the 18th and 19th centuries, the visible border markings were called "Sabbath threads" (Sabbathschnüre). With the modernizati on of European towns from the second half of the 19th century, and especially in cases where towns demolished their old fortification walls or made new river embankments, the ritual boundary became visible also to the secular municipal authorities. The walls that were demolished had "hidden" the Jewish population's own border, which now was threatened by the modernization of the town. Against this background, reactions emerged towards the Jewish-Orthodox border drawing. The eruv could be seen as a kind of Jewish fortification in stark contrast to the modern town's pursuit of openness and progress. This paper wants to examine the discussions between Jewish authorities and politicians and administrators in European towns such as Würzburg, Antwerp and Altona/Hamburg at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, about how ancient ritual and religious boundaries could coexist, or not, with the modernizati on efforts of urban space and urban infrastructure.

Antoni Furió - Juan Vicente García Marsilla: Three cities in one. Inner boundaries and ethnic and religious segregation in late medieval Valencia

Valencia was towards the end of the Middle Ages a populous city within which boundaries were erected not only imaginary but also physical between people of different ethnicities and religions. Conquered from the Muslims in 1238, it was immediately populated by settlers coming from the Christian kingdoms of the north, to which new migrants would later be added and even many foreign merchants, organised in commercial colonies. All of them, however, were Christians and shared the same culture and religion as opposed to two other communities perceived as strangers to the social body: Muslims and Jews, who, unlike Christians, did not enjoy the same civic and political rights as the latter.

Since its foundation in the 2nd century BC, Valencia had always been a city in which different religions coexisted. Instead, the Christian conquest of the 13th century led to the expulsion of Muslims and Jews from the city, converting mosques into churches and cemeteries into building plots. Years later, both groups would be admitted back into the city, but segregated in newly created neighbourhoods, with their own walls that enclosed them and separated them from the Christian population.

In this contribution we propose to analyse the creation and development of these Moorish and Jewish quarters, posing questions about when, how and why they were founded, the decision to turn these spaces into closed ghettos and to what extent the minorities resided entirely within them or were also dispersed throughout the rest of the city. The relationship between the members of the different communities, their legal regulation, their daily cooperation and the increase in animosity that finally led to the destruction of these quarters are also the object of our attention. With the forced conversion of Jews and Muslims to Christianity, Valencia would become, at the dawn of the modern era, a uniform city, without internal physical borders, but with suspicion and mistrust towards the converts.

Annette Haug - Gil Klein: Public Sanctuaries in Residential Insulae. The Case of Pompeii AND The Case of Synagogues and Early Churches

The paper will focus on a specific aspect of inner-city boundary making: The architectural, ritual and notional definition of boundaries between private housing and sanctuaries in the same insula. This situation is far from being uncommon: Most pagan sanctuaries were installed within inhabited insulae. The paper will analyse the processes of installation of sanctuaries in residential insulae, including the modes of marking, communicating, and negotiating boundaries. Different options are possible: Sanctuaries could be enclosed by walls which functioned as partition walls, but boundaries could also be marked by boundary stones. The case study will focus on Late Republican and Early Imperial Pompeii, and more specifically on the sanctuaries of Venus and Fortuna Augusta as well as the sanctuaries located at the eastern and western side of the forum.

Martin Klement - Jan Pezda: Tyrš House in Prague between the Sacred and the Profane

In the Prague urban space, the complex of buildings known as the Tyrš House is an exceptionally interesting place for research. Until 1920, the area served as an arsenal and was surrounded by an impenetrable wall, but after its transformation into the headquarters of the Czech Sokol organisation, it became accessible and well visited. However, the multiple functions of the Tyrš House created a new, invisible boundary between this place and its surroundings. The large area of the Tyrš House was not only an administrative centre, but also a place where a new type of body was created, and where a specific knowledge, rituals, aesthetics and world view was produced. Moreover, the Tyrš House with the central Sokol archive, the Sokol museum and the Sokol library was a fortress of the Sokol memory and with its memorials and the cemetery a first-class place of remembrance. The Sokol members, strongly anticlerical, simultaneously understood their ideology as a kind of religion and the Tyrš House as a central shrine. In fact, the disappearance of traditional religions in strongly anticlerical Czechoslovakia did not mean the disappearance of religiosity (Eliade). All these functions, which haven't been reflected in any research so far, caused that the border between the Tyrš House complex and the urban spaces in the neighbourhood, especially in the first half of the 20th century, was even more pronounced than at the time when this place was an arsenal. Crossing the invisible border, the visitor in the period between the 1920s and 1950s entered a space where he could observe the production, preservation and partial realisation of Sokol's ideas to such an extent as nowhere else. The aim of this article is to shed light on the multitude of unknown profane and sacred functions of the Tyrš House in order to emphasise its exceptional position in Prague's urban space and its significance for the entire Czech Sokol organisation in the first half of the 20th century.

Eirini Koumparouli: Scenes of Otherness: The creation of threshold spatialities at the performing ritual rounds

The view of architecture not as a container but as a constant distillation of social practices, connects the research of space with the ways that these practices shape and at the same time are being shaped by space. In such a perspective, this research focuses on fields of critical questioning about subject-identity relation and the effect on its spatial expressive behavior. The study of the identity production, as well as the ways in which this identity finds new boundaries within the realm of otherness, identify manners with which the subject -as a bearer of meaning- changes the meaning, the experience, the representation of space. As long as new identities emerge, a new production of space is being emerged at the same time.

When the Identities create a dialog with the Otherness, a spatiotemporal threshold emerges. The Threshold spatiality forms a connection between two different territories - worlds, while ensuring their separation. The analytical tool of the theatrical "scene" as a materialization of a spatio-temporal threshold, is perceived as a spatial affirmation and at the same time as a performative practice. According to P. Ricoeur's idea, the meaning of otherness is approached here as an internal dimension of identity, and as a way of (re)producing the identity of the community. The meaning of passage is mainly based on van Gennep's analytical scheme (separation, transition, integration) of rites of passage and his intention to define passages through spatial terms. The opening of identities to the otherness is examined through four axes: a. the displaced notion of sociality within the ritual sequence; b. the removal of individuals' identities during the liminal period of transition according to V. Tuner; c. the transition to otherness through transformative processes according to Bakhtin; d. the emerge of marginal repulsive behaviors within the embodied symbolic acts during the ritual.

Klara-Maeve O'Reilly: Brigid's Girls - Proper ways of being a female worker in 1950s Dublin

In the early 1950s, the Dublin-based Irish Women Workers Union (IWWU), the Republic of Ireland's only all-female trade union, "with grave concern [over] the increasing Materialism" promoted the adoration of the union's patron saint, St Brigid. The cornerstone of these efforts was the blessing of a plaque of St Brigid at the IWWU headquarters, accompanied by a sermon to the mainly unmarried women in attendance. The sermon was later printed and distributed among the members and in orphanages, female convents, and girls' clubs. In it, the Reverend Thomas Counihan (SJ) outlined the boundaries of living a spiritual and therefore proper (working) life in post-war, modernizing Dublin. The proposed paper will discuss how this of social boundaries for (unmarried) young women outsourcing to religious professionals (the IWWU also paid for votive services dedicated to St. Brigid) in the context of southern Ireland's 'Catholic modernity' (Taylor). It argues that the IWWU, due to the highly precarious legal and social position of female waged labour at the time, adopted, reinforced and performed already existing social boundaries of proper female behaviour in a city as a form of 'bargaining with patriarchy' (Kandiyoti).

Fulvia Scaduto - Emanuela Garofalo: The Loggia district in Palermo: the role of religious brotherhoods (15th-18th centuries) and the control of urban space

In the early modern age, between the 15th and 18th centuries, there was an extraordinary liveliness of the confraternal world in Palermo, but it is a little-researched phenomenon, especially in relation to the results it had in the world of architecture and construction of the city. The paper intends to investigate the role of religious brotherhoods in relation to aspects closely linked to urban history, i.e. the relationship between brotherhoods and city space, with a specific focus on delimitations and areas of competence, on invisible boundaries and ways of interaction between associations acting on the city "stage". The attention will be putocused on the ancient Loggia district (current Castellamare district) which extended up to the marina, i.e. the area of the old port of Cala, where numerous associations were historically concentrated and rooted (devotional brotherhoods, professional brotherhoods, brotherhoods of "nations") through the construction (or transformation) of churches dedicated to ancient and modern cults, oratories, offices and material structures intended for reception and assistance which have contributed significantly to redesigning and redefining the urban space. Central issues will be addressed such as the presence, dislocation and rooting in the city fabric, but also the control of urban space, the acquisition strategies of neighboring areas and properties, the production/promotion of architecture often characterized in a monumental sense which marks the urban plot and define ritual spaces and contexts of 'relevance'.

Attention will be paid to the particular dynamism of some of the main or richest brotherhoods who launched a series of ambitious enterprises, often in open competition and emulation, and to the push they exerted on urban renewal. They innervated and traced the plot of the city fabric, outlining ceremonial spaces and routes, while at the same time imposing internal limits and boundaries on this fabric.

Simone Wagner: Blurred boundaries. South-Western German Collegiate churches and urban space

The paper uses a spatial approach to analyse female and male south-west German collegiate churches located in or close to cities. Members of collegiate churches did not have to take religious vows. Therefore, they could leave their religious community -- either temporarily or permanently. They were also allowed to own private property and live in their own houses with their servants. These specific characteristics of collegiate churches had spatial consequences in cities. Collegiate churches interacted differently with urban space than monasteries. Abbesses and provosts of collegiate churches were often, or had originally been, ladies and lords of the city. As the civic magistrates began to compete against them, in the 15th and 16th centuries there were many conflicts about specific rights relating to rule over the. While constitutional historians have analysed such conflicts extensively in the past they have ignored their spatial dimensions. Religious superiors of collegiate churches and the civic magistrates often quarrelled about the drawing of boundaries. The paper shows that urbanity and gender as social categories influenced the process of boundary-making. Conflicts revolved around the spatial separation of the district of the collegiate church from urban space. Both parties to the conflict were concerned not only with physical boundaries such as walls, fences or locks in doors, but also with the meaning applied to space. Through practices like whistling and the creation of counter-narratives the parties attacked each other, blurring the boundaries between urban and collegiate space. Spatial conflicts had a gendered dimension as they were linked to enclosure. Although members of collegiate churches did not have to adhere to a strict enclosure, abbesses tried to reinforce their spatial control over access to the district of the collegiate church in order to prevent pregnancies. Drawing boundaries was necessary for female abbatial authority.

M11 Borders Infrastructures and Places in the Modern City

Main chair: Dr Erika Hanna, University of Bristol

1st Co-chair: Dr Sam Grinsell, UCL

Short abstract

This session explores the urban dimension of infrastructural development over the last two-hundred and fifty years, both in terms of how infrastructures have transformed cities and how urban dynamics have shaped infrastructure. This brings together histories of matter, energy and people to produce entangled histories of cities as environments.

Keywords: Borders, Infrastructures, Place, Urban History, Mobility, Environmental History, Spatial History


Borders, Infrastructures, Place, Urban History, Mobility, Environmental History, Spatial History

Session content

In the past two-hundred and fifty years, the increasing movement of goods has transformed the landscapes of cities across the world. In Britain, vast factories and warehouses were bulit in Manchester to receive cotton from the Americas, pens and markets were constructed in Bristol to sell and move cattle from Ireland, and sugar merchants with fortunes bulit on slavery promoted new docks in London and Glasgow. In Egypt, securing a more reliable flow of water to the northern cotton fields involved not only damming the Nile but also constructing more permanent banks through Cairo, while entirely new port and towns were bulit to service the Suez Canal. Urban sites of entry and processing have also had a variety of surprising spin off effects, becoming home to exotic plants carried on foreign boats, while, more recently, changes to global supply chains along with containerization has led to the docks becoming huge tracts of dereliction within the urban core, often used for squats and nightclubs. Here we see entanglements of things, infrastructures, mobilities in the creation and recreation of places.

The focus of urban global history has reamined largely on the migration of people, but scholars have increasingly explored how borders create infrastructures which reshape cities. There are many aspects to this: rivers have been straightened and canalized to allow the movememnt of bigger boats: the movement of animals and agri-goods requires places for processing and segregation in case of disease; the movememnt of gas and coal requires vast storage facilities; while the movement of commodities requires the construction of large disembarkation sheds and storage warehousing. These enormous processes of movement also relied on an army of porters, dockers, clersk, stevedores, sailors, who needed to be housed. Indeed, the way in which the movemement of goods relies on their labour often becomes visible during striktes and/or times of labour shortage.

This session seeks to historicize this story by exploring infrastructures and sites of Exchange between cities. We welcome scholars working on these themes from across the world and at all career stages, in order to compare and explore the impact of the movements of goods and commodities on space across a wide variiety of urban contexts across the modern period. We would be delighted to receive proposals from scholars working with new sources or pioneering approaches, working in environmental humanities, digital history, social history, histories of technology and infrastructure and beyond.


Giovanni Cristina: Dreaming of progress. Italian port cities facing the opening of the Suez Canal (1850s-1870s)

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 represented an opportunity for the Mediterranean space - and thus also for the Italian peninsula lying at its center - to break down boundaries from global trade routes to the Indian Ocean and Asia.

The preparation and inauguration of the new infrastructure coincided with the process of National unification and the troubled emergence of Italy as a maritime, commercial and finally colonial power. Railways, ports and commercial shipping fleets became strategic for the creation of a national communication system increasingly oriented towards a global dimension.

Alongside with national geopolitical and commercial strategies, port cities on the Peninsula also began to rethink individually their strategic horizons according to the new opportunities, real or only potential, opened up by the new Canal. Nevertheless, the transition from sail to steam, affecting shipping industry internationally, revealed the difficulties and delays of the Italian navigation and industrial system compared to other European commercial, maritime, and colonial powers. Port infrastructures were also affected by this technological change and had to adapt, with great difficulty, to the functions imposed by the new steam navigation system. Such political, commercial, and technological changes that went along with the construction of the Suez Canal generated an "Isthmic literature" made up of periodicals, pamphlets, and essays, in which local actors, elites, and institutions from Italian port cities elaborated this race for progress also on a cultural level, between flights of fancy and more realistic considerations.

The paper will analyze this narrative production to identify the discourses, rhetoric, and languages through which Italian port cities viewed infrastructures, from a cultural point of view, as elements of progress that could build new identities, projections, and functions at the urban, regional, national, and global levels.

Hazem Ziada: Digital Infrastructure and the Layered Boundaries of the American Pastoral

American attitudes towards urbanization filter through a deep-seated Pastoralism. In the 1960s, Leo Marx compellingly narrated the American Pastoral ideal rooted in the earliest European settlers' fantasy of a virgin arcadian landscape, to morph since then through tense dialectics of the natural and the artificial into a sequence of constructed middle-landscapes: from T. Jefferson's agrarian-homestead ideal to post-WWII's expansive suburbanization. In recent infrastructure developments, where the denser-inner city still plays a pivotal role in mega-urban agglomerations, internal borders accumulate new, complex tensions.

Contemporary American Pastoralism is increasingly mediated through the Digital Technosphere rapidly diffusing throughout social-life. Since the internet's earliest days, city and hinterlands have been locked in mutual antipathies. Devised to counter Cold War attacks on urban centers by distributing information among smaller settlements, the digital-sphere was initiated as an anti-urbanist infrastructure. Once in civilian, market-driven hands, the internet thrived on a business model profiting from data-harvesting dense cities. Moreover, from the 1990s, a social attitude of "engaged detachment" took hold, effecting outbound migrations and the formation of heavily-armed intentional-communities in rural- and hinter-lands. Further militarization of city / non-city relationships is confirmed by military accessions into the US' volunteer army, which came primarily from rural areas (2000s), then from suburbs and exurbs (post-2010).

Meanwhile, the city itself emerged as battleground, physically and conceptually. Urban digital deserts developed along poverty-cum-racial lines, exacerbating economic disparities. In response (especially amidst the heavily-digitized War on Drugs), inner-cities are increasingly policed using widespread surveillance systems and algorithm-dependent speculative policing. Police training facilities (Cop-Cities) are sprouting close to minority neighborhoods, where security officers practice urban-warfare using re-appropriated military gear. In parallel, inner-city social-movements employ digital technologies to coordinate mass protests and community actions (since Seattle 1999), generating extensive imagery that linger in social networks and profoundly influence urban experiences and memories.

A sharp "intensification of affect" accompanies digital infrastructure, as media theorists posited. The implied, but also shifting, boundaries delimiting city from suburbs and exurbs are taking on new significance in this evolving emotional geography of cities. In this paper, I examine Atlanta as exemplar of above tensions, arguing that they leave little room for a pastoral middle-landscape.

Marina de Castro Teixeira Maia: How to talk about borders: bridging STS and Urban History in the thresholds of Porto Alegre, Brazil

In this paper, I delve into the potential contribution of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to the history of Urban Borders (UBs) using the concept of Truth-spots (TS) per Gyerin (2018), and Star & Griesemer's (1989) boundary objects (BO) model. In the foreground, TSs are socially constructed places with the capacity to influence people to accept specific truths due to their physical and symbolic attributes. By providing tangible and convincing evidence for assertions (i.e., material proof of situated developments), TSs become windows to different temporalities. BOs, on the other hand, are organic epistemic entities that arise when different social worlds intersect, operating without requiring consensus. With 'interpretive flexibility,' they vary in structure based on common or individual use. BOs represent transition, exchange, and translation, essential aspects of border activity. As for the writing of their histories, the challenge of intertwining subjects, objects, venues and processes, common to any historical account of the urban, demands a particular theoretical rigour, which, I argue, makes a fitting terrain for the mentioned frameworks. For instance, UBs are often perceived as venues of transition and exchange, both conceptually and materially, naturally fostering readings of entering/quitting places. Thus, in urban studies, UBs are actual TSs. Also, by frequently fomenting functional and jurisdiction imprecisions for distinct groups - inhabitants, planners, policymakers - UBs situate those groups and their interactions in the very conceptual and material thresholds of the city itself, thereby acting as BOs. Therefore, this study focuses on the UBs of Porto Alegre, Brazil, employing STS frameworks for description and historicization. The goal is to highlight the value of STS in shaping the history of border infrastructures and to enrich discussions on city concepts and broad dichotomies like urban/field and culture/nature.

Claudia Eggart - Sandra Parvu: A Tale of Three Ports. The Architecture of Infrastructure at a Border Triangle

Our paper takes as a starting point the relation between three Danube ports located within 10km from each other in three different countries. The port of Reni in Ukraine is settled in a town that is an urban and regional administrative centre. On the Romanian side, the port of Galati is the largest port on the Danube. It has fueled the development of Galati, the historical, industrial, and commercial centre of Southeastern Romania. Built in 2005, the port of Giurgiulesti sits at the Southern tip of Moldova next to what has been called the "last village of Moldova". In spite of their proximity to each other, these ports have a different history, and relation to their urban centres and hinterlands. While these conditions could be complementing one another, especially in times when the war and the effects of dislocated grain infrastructures overwhelm the transshipment capacities of each of them alone, their relation reflects historical and contemporary conflicts.

To understand the complexity of the issue, a merely economically driven explanation is not enough. We propose to examine the convoluted history of the border region through a historical and ethnographic approach. We do so by putting attention to the overlapping imperial and national framework on naval, rail, and road infrastructures and the ideologically fluctuating rationales that have motivated planning, building, and maintenance of these ports.

In our presentation we show that in the context of the war, port managers, local politicians at first, and more recently national and international stakeholders have sought to make do with the incoherent resulting landscape in terms of the amenities surrounding the ports in relation to their urban and territorial backdrop, as well as with one another. This includes repairing and connecting wide-gauged Russian rail tracks into Romanian territory, adjusting customs regimes to fluidify road traffic that has been detrimental to the border environment, and modifying waterways unfit for navigation that has intensified at all three Danube ports.

Contextualizing these material, environmental, and political challenges, we argue that this seemingly peripheral Danube region is a good place to study how, on the one hand, shifting power relations materialize in the built environment and, on the other hand, what the architecture of infrastructure reveals about the condition of inhabiting imperial and geopolitical borderlands.

Toader Popescu: Urban fringes in the European periphery: railway infrastructure and industrial development in Bucharest at the turn of the century

The final decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century are the "heroic age"" of railroad construction in Romania. At the end of this interval, most of the current rail network had already been built. The development of the cities included in this network was heavily influenced by the presence of railway infrastructure and by its associated opportunities and restrictions. Railway and municipal administrations had to deal with this complex interaction without the benefit of a specific doctrine or the support of previous similar practical experiences.

Bucharest, the capital city of the country, and by far its largest settlement, had only developed rudimentary regulatory planning instruments by this time. The municipality was thus a "weak" actor, and only held a frail position in the process of decision making, with the central government and railway administration often overruling local interests. Also, the national economy was finally upping the pace of industrialization, with several decades of delay. The city was quickly transforming, and large urban areas associated with railways and industrial activities formed at its peripheries.

This paper follows the articulation and competition between public planning (spatial and economic, both at the central and local level) and private development interests in the case of Bucharest. It focuses on both the specific planning discourse and practices, following the evolution of the relation between the main involved stakeholders. We will thus try to shed light on the way in which infrastructural planning helped shape the modern periphery of one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe.

Assaf Selzer: The divided city that became the capital city: Jerusalem 1949 – 1967

Jerusalem, which was divided during the 1948 war in Palestine, became Israel's capital city in 1949. The kingdom of Jordan and Israel controlled different parts of the city, and the respective army commanders determined the border between them. After the Armistice agreement was signed, each country had to assert its sovereignty over the side of its controlled city.

To ensure the residents' safety on the city's western side, Israel built a fence and a wall on the border. The lecture will primarily focus on the actions taken by Israel to establish West Jerusalem as its capital city. The lecture will cover the decisions made by the state leadership, the difficulties faced, and the actual actions taken.

The central state institutions were established in the western part of Jerusalem between 1949 and 1967, considering the proximity to the border and security issues. The lecture will also examine the extent to which the security reality of Jerusalem, as a border city, influenced the decision-makers in Israel regarding the status and future of the city as a part of Israel.

Elisa Zocca Carneiro: The neighborhood and the street: Pinheiros in the first half of the 20th century

The study takes the neighborhood and the street as scales to analyze the city; we focused on the Pinheiros neighborhood in Săo Paulo, Brazil, through three of its streets: Capote Valente, Cônego Eugęnio Leite and Paes Leme, from 1900 until 1950. Through the experiences present in these streets, and their connections with the urban infrastructures there located, we set out to investigate the transformations that have taken place in Pinheiros, mobilizing the neighborhood as a space for daily activities and everyday relations, which simultaneously inserted its residents into the scale of the metropolis. In Capote Valente Street we analyze the municipal works of leveling and regularization; in Cônego Eugęnio Leite Street, the implementation of the Săo Paulo cemetery; in Paes Leme Street the rectification and canalization of the Pinheiros river. As research methodology, we applied the spatial cross-referencing of various sources: historical maps, City Council minutes, commercial tax lists, emplacement books, building approval requests and newspapers articles. These sources allow us to access an urban daily life that was made up of conflicts, disputes and complaints on multiple themes that shaped a city. They reveal to us, in their various scales of action in the territory, characteristics of the Pinheiros neighborhood's occupation, its daily use, the people who circulated and lived there, and their connections with the infrastructure works, revealing an extremely heterogeneous and plural occupation. By overlapping and spatially crossing these sources in the territory, we have formed networks of daily life that help us to understand the changes and continuities in various latent themes in the first half of the 20th century and which formed part of the long and complex process of metropolization in the city of Săo Paulo.

M12 Migrant Cities and Urban courts in a Global World, 1600–1900

Main chair: Prof.dr. Manon van der Heijden,, Leiden University, The Netherlands

1st Co-chair: Dr. Mago de Koster, Ghent Universtity, Belgium

Short abstract

Mass migration to European and colonial cities has seldom been studied from the perspective of discrimination and conflict. To what extent did courts and urban populations discriminate against migrants in legal practices? We invite scholars who examine the legal dimension of social co-existence in European and colonial cities between 1600 and 1900.

Keywords: Migration, migrants, urban courts, crime, laws, legislation, discrimiatio,social cohesion, conflicts


Discrimination of migrants, conflicts between migrants and locals, urban crime, 1600-1900

Session content

The main session Migrant Cities and Urban Courts in a Global World, 1600-1900 will look at the legal dimension of social co-existence in European en colonial cities between 1600 and 1900 from two perspectives:

  1. Top-down: the representation and treatment of migrants coming before the courts in European and colonial cities. In current scholarly migration debates the overrepresentation of certain groups of migrants in the urban criminal system is a central subject of debate. Membership theory explains so-called crimmigration: the convergence of migration and criminal law. Membership theory provides decision makers with justification for excluding individuals from society, using immigration and criminal law as the means of exclusion. Over-representation is considered a recent phenomenon that is related to the large migration flows since the late 1950s, but there are indications that the courts systematically discriminated against immigrants before the 20th century. The interrelationship between migration and crime was a continuous issue of official concern from the 16th century onwards. Research for various regions and periods in the world demonstrates that distinctions between 'insiders' and 'outsiders' often resulted in biased policing and criminal prosecution. The early modern judicial system was characterized by legal inequality and biased prosecution policies. The first part of the main session focuses on research on over-representation and crimmigration and the treatment of various groups of migrants by the courts between 1600 and 1900.
  2. Bottom-up: conflicts between migrants and locals before the European and colonial courts. Judicial practices show how locals and colonial rulers discriminated against migrants, how and why migrants and locals came into conflict, and to what extent mutual violence was committed in dense urban settings. Various scholars claim that immigration might reduce solidarity and social cohesion, leading to distrust and discrimination in neighbourhoods. Did immigration in European and colonial cities lead to increasing tensions and conflicts between locals and newcomers? Urban migration studies have largely neglected judicial sources that offer detailed information about tensions between newcomers and locals. Between 1600 and 1900 conflicts were handled by a broad variety of institutions of conflict regulation. In European cities, conflict could result in prosecution by the public prosecutor, but many cases of conflict resolution concerned bottom-up procedures. In colonial cities, judicial plurality resulted in a multiplicity of legal orders, in which conflicts were handled by different legal systems. Scholars have focused on theorizing legal pluralism, and paid much less attention to every¬day practices of actors using legal plurality. The second part of the main session focuses on conflicts between migrants and locals handled by courts and other forms of conflict regulation.


Linda Wikland: Newcomers, Truth, and Trust - Strangers Facing the Court in Stockholm During the mid-17th Century

This paper explores the discrimination against newcomers in early modern urban courts, focusing on Stockholm during the mid-17th century. Recently designated as the capital of a growing Baltic Sea empire, Stockholm attracted a diverse influx of people, including individuals from both the eastern (Finland) and western (Sweden) parts of the realm, as well as German craftsmen, Russian tradesmen, Dutch naval specialists, and Scottish soldiers.

The paper addresses cases where a 12-person oath procedure allowing the accused to clear themselves was considered by the court. Due to the rapid growth of Stockholm at the time, most of the accused were newcomers, which posed a challenge to the existing legal system. Because of the perceived bias of the oath procedure against strangers, the court often hesitated to demand newcomers to swear their innocence with witnesses. The court instead choose to closely examine and reflect on the accused individual's trustworthiness, providing rich material for analysing bias against newcomers.

For instance, signs of religious deviations from Lutheranism affected someone's perceived trustworthiness, underlining that this was the peak of the Swedish Lutheran orthodoxy. Furthermore, social connections could have both positive and negative effects on one's perceived ability to speak the truth. For example, having a family member in the Habsburg emperor's service did not do the accused any favours. The shadow of the ongoing the Thirty Years' War was present in Stockholm. Notably, ethnicity and language were never explicitly addressed. Lastly, on occasion the court also considered the accused's ability to work when assessing their trustworthiness, emphasizing less risk of discrimination for the able-bodied in the expanding Stockholm, where the need for labour was significant.

Karlijn Luk: Public order and social control before early modern Dutch courts: migrants as disturbance?

During the early modern period, the level of migration to cities in Holland was exceptionally high. Although the great variety of newcomers in the Dutch Republic did launch an era of economic prosperity, they were also the cause of social unrest. Cultural differences, combined with the increased residential density, were instigators for numerous difficulties in everyday urban life. In Leiden, for example, several neighbours complained that their neighbourhoods were threatened by the influx of strangers. In a petition for the city council in Leiden, residents of the St. Catharijnenrijck neighbourhood wrote that the multitude and diversity of persons, conditions and humours led to conflict on a daily basis.

Notions of who belonged and who was seen as an outsider were impacted heavily by the constant flows of migration and, over time, a greater need to regulate and control these outsiders arose. The increased regulation of 'outsiders' was not just limited to  considerations of those who were welcome and those who were sent onwards but also had clear impact on the regulation of those 'newcomers' once they were within the city borders, and often, this also had legal consequences. When a local population perceived a group or individual as 'outsider' or vagrant, this could make that group or individual more vulnerable for persecution. This paper uses judicial sources to explore why certain 'outsiders' in two early modern Dutch cities (Leiden and Rotterdam) were considered a threat to the public order, and how these cities, their inhabitants and their courts dealt with these 'disturbers of the peace'.

Samantha Sint Nicolaas: City of fights to city of rights? Everyday violence in early modern Amsterdam 1620-1790

Violence was a daily experience in early modern cities – 'golden age' Amsterdam was no exception. At the same time, violent offences made up the smallest share of those crimes committed in Amsterdam that were addressed by the criminal court. This was partly due to the prevailing social attitudes towards violence, and partly to the distinct prosecution process for violent crimes as well as the plurality of routes available to early modern inhabitants for conflict resolution. Violence was subject to less heavy prosecution and milder legal consequences than today, and was often considered a legitimate way to resolve a conflict. Previous research has demonstrated the multiple routes to conflict resolution available to early modern city dwellers, which often initially started with interpersonal correction.

When an act of violence was treated as a criminal offence, it typically ended up prosecuted through either the Confessieboeken, or the interrogation records of detained defendants. This paper will contextualize the violent offences recorded in the confessieboeken. The violence represented in the confessieboeken is only a fraction of the violence that took place daily out on the street. Yet it is precisely the selectivity of the process wherein lies its significance. The cases in which defendants were first detained before being tried reveal something about the lenses through which both the urban authorities and the general populace filtered violence and violent individuals. A close reading of the interrogations uncovers patterns in the functioning of these filters. We cannot properly understand the criminal sentencing of violence without recognizing it as the product of a funneled system, in which the majority of violence was filtered out and dealt with by other means. As this paper will demonstrate, migrants were more likely to fall through the cracks of the system and fully make their way through the entire funnel of criminal prosecution.

Ariadne Schmid: Zeroing in on the criminal migrant: shifting patterns in the origins of migrant defendants in early modern Amsterdam, 1620-1790

The Dutch Republic has often been lauded for its 'tolerance', referring usually to the 'open' policies towards migrants, as well as the harmonious (interreligious) co-existence between migrants and their neighbours. That early modern Amsterdam, in particular, attracted a consistently large migrant population is well known. The religious tolerance, the economic opportunity structures, and the poor relief provisions made Amsterdam a particularly attractive destination for both foreign and inland migrants alike.

Sources such as marriage records and guild membership lists have recorded many of these 'successful' encounters between migrants and locals, illustrating mechanisms of integration and social mobility. At the same time, the rising levels of urbanization across early modern Europe have been linked to the overrepresentation of migrants before criminal courts; furthermore historians have demonstrated that the interplay of migration and crime was a continuous issue of official concern from the sixteenth century onwards, and a crucial impetus behind the expansion and professionalization of the police forces across Europe.

This paper will look anew at the picture of migration into 'Golden Age Amsterdam' through the increasingly entangled lens of migration and crime. It will zero in on those migrants whose journey to Amsterdam included or ended up in a visit to the city's jail, exploring to what extent judicial records can offer a fresh perspective on the shifting migration patterns into the city. The paper will reconstruct and visualize the geographic spread of migrant origins, consider the distances travelled, as well as any gendered differences. In turn these patterns will be contextualized in relation to – what is known about – more general patterns of migration and to changes and developments in international politics and events, as well as Amsterdam's changing regulatory attempts to control the movement of people in and out of the city's gates.

Marion Pluskota: Who has the right to access the city? Policing female labour migration in Amsterdam, 1850-1900

This paper focuses on the immigration law (vreemdelingenwet) and vagrancy law in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century and how it was implemented on the ground, by the Amsterdam police. Starting with an overview of the different groups impacted by these policies, we will explore the extent to which, in practice, the judicial and administrative implementation of the law differed between groups of female working-class migrants. Their place of birth, occupation, age, and civil status will be analyzed to understand if these identity markers played a role in defining their right to access the city and its labour market. We will then zoom on the migration of foreign sex workers and how their stay in the city was both strongly controlled and facilitated by the police.

M13 Between Unity and Diversity: Writing the History of the Late-Modern City

Main chair: Christoph Strupp, Dr., Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg (FZH), Germany

1st Co-chair: Paul van de Laar, Prof. Dr., Department of History, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Short abstract

On the basis of three thematic categories, the panel examines boundary shifts in the evolution from industrial to late-modern society since the 1970s using the example of metropolis.

Keywords: Late-modern city, urban governance, spatial transformation, identity and heritage


Political, social and spatial changes in the city since the 1970s

Session content

In Europe and North America, the metropolis of the late 19th and early 20th centuries served as a laboratory for modernity. It was in urban settings that key elements of the industrial society could be observed: In spatial, political, social and cultural terms, the city of modern industrial society was also characterised by new boundaries, both tangible and intangible.

Since the 1970s, modern industrial society has been replaced by a society characterised by diversity and difference, if not fragmentation. By focusing on changes in internal and external boundaries, we want to ask whether the city can once again serve as a laboratory for the manifestation of the late-modern „society of singularities" (German sociologist Andreas Reckwitz)? And can the history of individual cities be written in this sense?

Our approach includes the materiality of the city in its architectural and spatial structuring, social practices of urbanity, and cultural representations of the city. Presentations are going to focus on the following categories: urban governance; spatial transformation; local identities and heritage. Using concrete examples, participants will demonstrate which analytical perspectives can help us to understand late-modern society at the urban level.

  1. Urban governance: Have urban policy makers in the late-modern city been constrained in their scope of action due to changes in the field of actors? Have grassroots movements, neighbourhood initiatives and marginalised groups made their voices heard or have economic interests and neoliberal public-private partnership in urban planning set up new limits to political participation?
  2. Spatial transformation: Is the late-modern city one that, following the processes of funcional segregation and suburbanisation since the 1950s, continues to dissolve as a spatially bounded structure, merging into amorphous metropolitan regions? Or will urban planning concepts for living and working in the city, such as the „15-minute city" lead to a reintergration of the city with more clearly recognisable external boudnaries, but create new internal ones?
  3. Local identities and heritage: Has the culture of memory in recent decades reflected the dissociation of the late-modern city through the pluralisation of actors and places? Or could the celebration of outstanding events in local history transcend social and cultural boundaries and act as a counterweight to tendencies towards fragmentation? What is the relationship between bottom-up approaches in individual neighbourhoods and the staging of overraching urban identities for the purposees of „branding" and city marketing?


Liselore Durousset: Berlin's Industrial and Commercial Areas between Combines, Brownfields and Business Parks (1980s-2000s). Socio-Spatial Transformation into a Late-Modern Post-Socialist Metropolis?

At the end of the 20th century, Berlin had to restructure its socio-economic spaces in order to face the challenges of the shift into a late-modern, post-socialist, post-industrial and global society. After the reunification, both parts of Berlin were affected by a quick deindustrialization, because of the end of West Berlin's subsidisation and the rapid transition from a centrally planned to a market economy in East Berlin. Socialist industrial combines were "modernised" into small-scale privatised enterprises, dividing the industrial estates. Many enterprises did not survive, soon leaving brownfield sites. On the other hand, companies were founded or settled in business parks, especially in the suburbs where plenty of offices and shopping centres were built.

The aim of the paper is to explain how industrial areas were perceived by actors and institution of Berlins urban governance in the different systems and the extent to which the metropolitan structure of these economic areas has been transformed from the 1980s to the 2000s. Did processes of functional segregation change? Did new internal and external boundaries emerge? What was the role of research, business and civil society? Furthermore, it helps to historicize the contemporary concepts of late-modern, post-socialist, post-industrial urban planning and land use. Surprisingly, there seem to be more similarities between the opposing systems and continuities during this period in dealing with economic spaces than presumed until now.

Matti O. Hannikainen: Writing a History of a New Town: The Case of Vantaa (est. 1974)

Founded in 1974, Vantaa is literally a new town in Finland; therefore, its history provides us an example of how a rural municipality transformed into a post-industrial city. A key to understand this process is to analyse town planning. The past five decades have witnessed numerous changes in Finnish town planning legislation and in local planning policies that all affected the spatial restructuring of Vantaa. Thus, by analysing the evolution of town planning as well as town planning policies not to mention the main actors involved in these processes from the early 1970s to the present, this paper aims at reassessing spatial transformation of Vantaa from a loosely structured rural municipality into an interconnected polycentric modern Finnish city.

The sources suggest that the initial policy to house urbanizing masses into mass-fabricated suburbs in the late 1960s and the early 1970s has characterized the image and the reputation of Vantaa until the present. However, the town planning policy began to prefer semi-detached housing during the late 1970s already with numerous new housing areas planned accordingly during the following decades. In addition, whilst the emphasis to create a Nordic welfare system with schools, kindergartens and health centres dominated the discussion on town planning during the 1970s and 1980s, it was replaced by 'new economic imperative' following the recession of the early 1990s. The new planning policy focused on improving transportation and attracting high technology around the international airport as an economic hub of the city. Given the extensive planning powers allocated to the municipalities, local inhabitants often played a minor role concerning the future of their city.

Hence, the case of Vantaa presents us an example of a layered city where internal boundaries as well as local identities remain in flux because the city has been, and is, constantly replanned and rebuilt according to new ideas.

Erika Szívós: Inner-City Renaissance as an All-Out War? Post-1990 Budapest in a Regional Comparison

In this paper, I am going to present the post-socialist version of the late modern city by presenting some districts of inner-city Budapest and their contradictory renewal as major conflict fields. Comparing these districts to similar urban areas in other East Central European cities, I am mostly going to address the first set of questions posed by the session proposal.

As an introduction, I am going to present the diverse forces and factors at work in all major cities of the ECE region after 1990: the difficult legacy of former state socialist housing policies and the mismanagement of the built heritage prior to 1989; the possible patterns of real estate privatization beginning in the late 1980s; the rise of democratically elected local governments after the turn of 1989-1990; municipal governments' broad spheres of power and the potential of corruption inherent in the system; the involvement of capital investors and real estate developers as new players in the field of inner-city urban renewal; and the physical as well as social consequences of market-driven models of urban renewal in post-socialist metropolises.

After mapping out the regional parallels, I am going to focus on one district of Budapest as a case study to demonstrate the universal versus particular features of local conflicts and the role of urban areas' own cultural traditions in the process. In the post-2000 history of that district, the constellation of systemic and local factors gave rise to a drawn-out war involving multiple actors: the district-level municipal government; real estate investors; heritage protection groups, NGOs and national conservation authorities; international tourists and domestic visitors; owners of local bars and other actors involved in the hoteling, catering and entertainment industries; and, finally, local residents fighting for their own interests through their own grassroots organizations.

Liz Walder: All Kinds of Everything: Unpacking the Influence of the Eurovision Song Contest on the Architecture of our Cities

Established in 1956, the Eurovision song Contest (ESC) is hosted in a range of cities across Europe. Straddling across boundaries and countries, this (mostly) annual event reached over 160 million viewers via a range of media platform and channels. Whilst much annual discussion takes place about the musical impact of the contest, there has been, to date, no single work which examines the history, context and analytical understanding of the ESC and its relationship to architecture.

It could be argued, by some, that architecture is an elitist profession, and therefore a marriage of the ESC and the design profession is an oxymoron. However, the reliance of the ESC on the built environment appears in three elements at each contest:

  • The host venue,
  • The Eurovision 'postcards', organised by the host country,
  • The backdrop to the presentation of the votes,

which gives plentiful data to explore, through these three elements, how architecture can be made more accessible, and less aloof, to the everyday audience of the ESC.

Several cities have hosted the contest more than once, which allows understanding of how ESC has influenced development of the city. The following will be discussed as case studies in this paper:

  • Dublin, Ireland, has hosted the contest on six occasions.
  • Host of the ESC in both 1992 and 2013, Malmö will host again in 2024. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, chairman of the city's municipal execuitve board commented that Malmö will deliver the same amazing feeling as 2013 - but with new experiences in 2024.

This new research will draw together what is already known with analytical interpretation to provide a body of work detailing the architectural influence of the contest.

M14 Global dreams, local realities: Urban spatial transformations under the influence of globalization flows between 1400–2000

Main chair: Laura Kolbe, Professor of Europen history, University of Helsinki, Finland

1st Co-chair: Aleksandra Stupar, Professor of urbanism, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Serbia

Short abstract

The process of globalization is not a contemporary phenomenon, The tension between global dreams and local realities is varied and complex. We welcome contributions focusing on the manifestations of the "global dream" in different periods and places, their spatial expressions, and the social and symbolical implications of transformations in cities.

Keywords: globalization flows, urban transformations, planning history, urban architecture, local politics


Globalization studies, urban and local history, planning history, history of architecture

Session content

In the light of contemporary understanding, the latest Golden Age of globalization took place after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of Cold War, when political, economic, cultural and media globalization flows intensified. It shaped a new existential context declaratively based on universal standards, supranational organizations, and control. Initially proclaiming the importance of human rights, environmental protection, and balanced social differences, as well as the notions of global idealization and consumerism, the globalization process has instigated numerous paradoxes and contradictions, when meeting with "local realities".

Historically, displaying the bond between fashionable architecture and overlapping ideological streams, global flows have triggered numerous local urban transformations. Also, the problems of population growth and decline, migrations, poverty, inequality, as well as the multiplying environmental challenges are linked to globalization flows, increasing the gap between the rich/developed and the poor/undeveloped, multiplying fears and uncertainties. The tension between global dreams and local realities is accordingly varied and complex today and in the past.

The process of globalization is not just a contemporary phenomenon, and, in this session, we want to look beyond the 21st century. We welcome all kind of contributions focusing on the manifestations of the "global dream" during 1850-2000, their spatial expressions in cities and the social and symbolical implications of applied transformations. As the modern history of important urban nodes like London, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo has been well studied, we are more interested in the next-level metropolises, i.e., the capitals and big cities of smaller nation-states, regional centers, and cities at the boundaries, in Europe and other parts of the world.

We are interested in both planning ideas and spatial/architectural typologies, as well as the local strategic and political thinking related to the "global dream" and "local realties" and hope that the presentations will cover at least one the following themes, also being open to other suggestions:

  • how global economic cycles have been seen and what kind of traces the "global dream" has left on cities and their policies
  • what kind of new spatial typologies and topologies have been created (public spaces, buildings, districts etc.) and how they have been utilized and organized in different cities
  • how economic megatrends of different periods have manifested themselves in urban planning and urban policies and encountered "local realties"
  • how the "global dream" and the associated monetary economy have shaped public space
  • what kind of architecture the "global dream" has brought to cities at different times and what kind of meanings have been given to the emerging urbanscape.


Aleksandra Djukic - Branislav Antonic - Jelena Maric: Transformation of Main Streets from 15th until 21st century: Medium-Sized Cities in Vojvodina, Serbia

The process of globalisation is not new for European cities; it has influenced various changes and transformation of their spatial characteristics and functional aspects. The topic of this particular paper is the transformation of the main street as a showcase to depict these globalisation-driven changes on urban matrix. It is presented on the main streets of seven medium-sized cities in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, in the time period from 15th until 21st century. This territory is placed at the crossroads of important European transport routes and has been exposed under the various influences and the shifts of power. Different globalisation flows and local circumstances have left a significant mark on their urban environment and society and influence the changes of the functions on the open public spaces. The most significant periods for transformation of urban pattern in the focus cities of Vojvodina are: (1) the medieval period with fortified urbanisation, (2) Ottoman period with oriental urban patterns, and (3) Habsburg period with strong urban regulation during the 18th-19th centuries. The last-mentioned period is especially important, as inherited organic matrix was radically reshaped into regulated one, with the overall tendency towards then modern orthogonal matrix. Three relatively short periods in last 100 years – interwar, socialist, and post-socialist – have not brought deep modifications in their morphology and appearance, but were more the upgrading of the main streets with new functional elements, striving to enhance their urbanity while preserving the qualities of urban legacy. The aim of this paper is to explain the outcome of aforementioned different time periods through the imprints left on the main streets in the contemporary cities. The research results can be used for deepening the knowledge base and future research regarding morphogenesis of Central-Eastern European cities.

Jelena Maric - Aleksandra Djukic - Jugoslav Joković - Branislav Antonic: Re-Evaluation of Urban Renewal Waterfront Development: The Comparison of user perception regarding the Riverfront in Belgrade, Serbia

Mass globalization and continued migration from rural to urban areas led to increased development of almost all capital cities in Europe, followed by significant investments in construction and architecture. These mega projects were mainly located in the city center and/or on the waterfront areas. One such project of the urban renewal of waterfront development at the Sava River, the "Belgrade Waterfront" (BW), gathered a lot of media attention regarding rather conflicted public opinions. The city port area – Savamala District – was the economic hearth of Belgrade even after rail arrived to the city in 1883, as the main rail station was located in this neighbourhood. Therefore, the Belgrade Waterfront played the paramount role in the city development in next decades, until the period of late socialist Yugoslavia. After the fall of socialism, national and Belgrade authorities realised the huge potential of the city riverfront, as new urban gates to modernise the city in the 21st century. This Belgrade area has become again a sort of an urban "playground" at national level, with several big design competitions, capital projects and significant grassroot urban movements with the focus on the Savamala District. The main aim of the research is to evaluate the user perception regarding the aforementioned area and BW project via survey with questionnaire conducted among the citizens of Belgrade. The survey was based on Kevin Lynch theory, alongside with user activities, thermal comfort, perception and satisfaction analysis. Furthermore, we will compare the results from the 2023 research with simmilar study conducted in 2018, in order to see wether and how user perception changed from the beginning of the BW construction until today.


Emilian Josimović was a versatile personality in Serbia in the middle of the 19th century: a scientist, engineer, with great creative energy, he was engaged in mathematics, geometry, architecture and road construction, was involved in photography, interior design, was the founder and member of numerous active societies in Serbia at that time. He made the first urban plan of Belgrade almost all by himself alone, and published it at his own expense in 1867.

It is a time when Turkey withdraws from Serbia after an occupation of almost 500 years, and the Serbs, as one of the significant undertakings, did the reconstruction of the capital - Belgrade, in accordance with the values of the civilization of Western Europe. The city administration, namely State of Serbia, implements the Josimovic's plan with minor deviations, without his further participation. It is interesting that there is no written record that he was ever involved in the planning of any city after that, but still he is known as: "The first urban planner of Serbia".

The aim of the paper is to contribute to the knowledge of Emilijan Josimovic as urbanist /city planner, pointing to the historically known facts about the awakening of urbanistic thought of that time. Also, the idea is to re-interpret the plan and its realization in order to collect the material and clarify the assumptions, from a standpoint of lasting values that we could call "a lesson".

The final goal is to point out the assumption about the great disappointment of this genius - disappointment in the citizens of Belgrade, in the then leaders of the Serbian people, in the idea of urbanity in Serbia, and to point out the posthumous reasons for the duration of this disappointment, even today. The lessons of Emilijan Josimović's experience can be a useful warning and sobering advice for many in the post-transitional society with the liberal market economy in the twenty-first century Serbia.

Keith Eggener: Grain-Belt Globalism: How a Prairie City Built an Ocean Port

By the late 1880s, Kansas City, Missouri—only recently but one of many small, rough-hewn river towns on the eastern edge of North America's Great Plains—was burgeoning. Its population soared as its economy boomed. Politicians and private patrons spent millions each year on buildings and urban infrastructure while local boosters envisioned a day when the city would be the major metropolis on the continent.

A significant inland river port and a transcontinental railroad hub on par with Chicago, Kansas City stood 750 miles from open seas. Nonetheless, since the 1850s the city's leaders had dreamed of connecting it to the Gulf of Mexico, thus providing its producers with a direct connection to global markets. These dreams were realized in the late 1890s by railroad promoter and town developer Arthur Stillwell, who oversaw the building of a railroad and canal connecting Kansas City to the new terminal city of Port Arthur, Texas. Kansas Citians triumphantly claimed the new port as their own.

Economic enterprise that it was, early Port Arthur was also an emblem of a landlocked midwestern city's grandiloquent sense of itself and its due, its leaders' and entrepreneurs' territorial ambitions and imperial aspirations. The story of Stilwell and the founding of the city named for him are familiar, yet little has been written about the architecture, urban planning, or visual culture associated with early Port Arthur. Analyzing maps and city plans, real estate advertisements, period photos, and the rhetoric of journalists and promoters, this paper reveals Port Arthur as it was seen by Kansas Citians circa 1900: an outpost of their emerging empire, their springboard to a world beyond urban and national borders.

Mika Mäkelä: Urban renewal of the inner city of Helsinki after the WW2

The modernisation and fast urbanisation of Finland after the Second World War had a strong impact on the Finnish cityscape. This resulted in the renewal of city centres and nearby residential areas combined with the construction of new suburbs. Ideals were sought from the neighbouring Nordic countries, Germany, Britain and the United States.

In my paper, I examine the modernistic city planning and urban renewal that has taken place in the inner city districts of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The key point of the paper is to explain the stages of the renewal process from planning to the implementation as well as the role of various town planning and construction actors. Attention is also paid to actual variations in different areas of the inner city.

The renewal meant demolishing old brick and wooden houses and building new constructions in accordance with the international modernist ideals of the era. The demolition of the wooden houses was carried out thoroughly, as almost all of them in the inner city area were replaced by either apartment buildings, offices or public buildings. The rapidity of construction was closely connected to economic growth periods as well as government mortgages and tax breaks.

The renewal involved a variety of plans and discussions on the allowed building volume. The planning was guided with master plans, but the practical implementation was usually realised with small scale detail plan changes drawn up for the new buildings. The renewal process took decades, and thereby the changes in urban planning ideals were also reflected in it.

Cathelijne Nuijsink: The 'Wisdom' of Seoul's New Towns up for Global Discussion: The Anywise Conference in Seoul, 1995

In 1990, the architects Peter Eisenman, Arata Isozaki, and Ignasi de Sola-Morales, along with the editor Cynthia Davidson, founded the Anyone Corporation. The goal of this New York-based thinktank was to breathe new life into architecture theory, which had lost steam in the United States by the late 1980s. To set the stage for this dialogue, Anyone initiated a series of ten international and multidisciplinary conferences, The Any Conferences (1991–2000), each centering on the "undecidability" embedded in one of the ten conference titles formed by the prefix "any—" (Anyone, Anywhere, Anyway, and so on). Using the ambiguous word "any" as its guiding principle, the conferences encouraged philosophers, social scientists, critics, writers, and lawyers, next to architects, to introduce non-architectural questions into architecture.

This paper focusses on the fifth of the Any Conferences, the Anywise conference held in Seoul in 1995, to elucidate how a discussion centred around Seoul – a city affected by a "hurry-up and build" construction mentality in the 1990s – became a site of fierce confrontation between the local realities of rapid urban development in Seoul and the meaning of "architectural quality" and different approaches by which it might be attained in a global context.Seoul was attractive to the Anyone Board for hosting a cultural conversation on the undecidability of architecture at the end of the millennium since it was a city "on the periphery," between the first and third worlds, with no established architecture culture. As a late participant in modernization, the city identified building potential, attracting international attention to the involvement of urban specialists in meeting the urgent need to create 100,000 new homes each year.

Based on extensive archival materials from the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) as well as oral interviews with conference participants, this study traces how the tension over the design of New Towns in Seoul embedded in the Anywise conference was not just an intended product of the overarching theoretical framework of "undecidability." It equally attributes this tension to the clash in the perspectives of architects and non-architects, the fissure between theory and practice, and the chasm between the cultural traditions and preconceptions of participants from the "West" and the "East." While acknowledging the overall challenges faced by the Any Conferences in the context of various international alignments and misalignments, this paper equally seeks to shed light on how Anywise paved the way for current efforts to think about the design of cities in a more polyvocal and inclusive manner.

Nicole Davis: Arcadian Dreams: Australia's Nineteenth-Century Arcades, Local & Global Connections in Settler Colonial Urban Spaces

Influenced by overseas precursors, Australian entrepreneurs enthusiastically adopted the arcade form in the nineteenth century from 1853. These urban spaces were local nodes of transnational networks – of architecture, commodities, people, and ideas – which circulated both within and outside their walls. They created a colonial interpretation of a well-known form readily associated with larger British, European, American and Australian cities. Urban boosters drew on arcades' associations with modernity and progress in their narratives, particularly print media, utilising them as a signifier that Australian settler colonial spaces might or had already attained such status.

While women are often represented as simply visitors to the arcades, at the heart of many of these enterprises were female entrepreneurs, who owned, ran or invested in both the buildings and the establishments within. These women, themselves often immigrants to the colonies, drew on local and international connections to promote their businesses, often emphasising the transnational nature of the sites, and the goods and services they provided.

This paper follows the lives of some of these women, examining how they used these global relationships, both real and metaphorical, to create a local colonial adaptation of a transnational site of exchange. It examines their business networks and the origins of the commodities they provided. It explores how they utilised these connections in place promotion, what such connotations meant to themselves, their customers and other urban inhabitants, and if these buildings and businesses lived up their promise to represent progress and modernity in settler colonial Australia.

M15 Museums and the City. How did cities shape the modern museum and vice versa (ca. 1750–1950)

Main chair: Prof. Dr. Gerrit Verhoeven, University of Antwerp

1st Co-chair: Prof. Dr. Kate Hill, University of Lincoln

2nd Co-chair: Prof. Dr. Ilja Van Damme, University of Antwerp

Short abstract

Our session will radicaly historicize the relation between cities and „their" museum. What was the impact of local museums of the urban fabric? How did the city shape the collecions, management, and storytelling of the museum? And how did museums reproduces (or question) the social boundaries in the city?

Keywords: museum history, urban development, growth-coallitions, cultural and social capital.


Cultural history, urban history, social history

Session content

During the last few decades, museums such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Louvre in Paris, or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have developed into major hubs for mass tourism. They have become important billboards to promote the town, city or metropolis abroad or at home. Museums can also play an important role in urban renewal, as popular coffee bars, trendy restaurants, fashionable shops and exclusive galleries often pop up in the surrounding streets.

Quite often the public infrastructure is also affected, as town planners divert metro lines, turn adjacent streets intraffic-free boulevards, or construct new green or blue zones for recreation. Museums have – in sum – the ability to warp the urban fabric. At the same time, cities also have a large impact on local museums, as urban elites often contribute(d) part of the collection trough legacies and donations and set their scope and narrative. Usually, city administrations also have a say in the storylines of these museums, as politicians often see them as a tool to bolster feelings of local identity, regionalism, and even nationalism.

In 2005 Kate Hill launched the call to explore the historical links between local museums and the city in more detail. While, by then, the history of national museums had become an important line of research, Hill noted that far less ink and paper had been spend on the history of local, city museums and their development in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Nearly two decades later, the situation remains virtually unchanged, safe some proverbial exceptions. Our session aims to provide a new perspective in this debate by radically historicizing the relation between cities and "their" museum. What was the impact of local museums on the urban fabric in the nineteenth and early twentieth century? How did the city shape the collections, management, and storytelling of the museum? And how – given the special theme of the EAUH conference – did museums reproduce (or question) the social boundaries in the city, between outsiders and insiders, based on economic, social, and cultural capital, gender, religion, race, and other differences? Themes that can be explored are:

  • Museums and urban renewal
  • Museums and local, neighbourhood economies
  • Museums and public infrastructure
  • Museums and local growth-coalitions
  • Museums and local identity versus regionalism and nationalism
  • Museums and civic patronage
  • Museums and local urban history, archaeology & heritage
  • Museums, societal boundaries & urban diversity


Ulrike Müller: Creative spaces as sites of identity politics: Musealisation and meaning making of artists' houses in early-twentieth-century Brussels and Antwerp

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the musealisation of historic houses experienced an immense growth. An important category in this heritagization process were artists' houses, which came to challenge the position of the traditional (national) art museum as sites for the display and memorialization of artistic genius. Consequently, narratives of local and/or national representativeness were closely intertwined with the function of theses places as safe havens for the preservation of cultural and artistic legacies of the respective artists.

This paper will explore the processes of musealisation and meaning making of artists' houses in the urban context of Brussels and Antwerp during the early twentieth century. It focuses on the houses of Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) in Antwerp, and of the nineteenth-century painter and sculptor Constantin Meunier (1831-1905) in Elsene, a suburb of Brussels. Both houses were acquired by public authorities during the 1930s, and opened to the public shortly after as Rubenshuis and Musée Constantin Meunier, respectively. However, the actual musealisation processes, the actors involved, and the development of the accompanying displays and narratives in these two urban contexts reveal profound differences.

In this paper, I will explore the two cases with special attention on the motivations and networks that were at the basis for the creation of the museums, as well as the position and impact that these new cultural institutions had within the urban fabric. In which cultural, artistic and social contexts did these museums emerge? Which role did they adopt in narratives of art, culture and society in their specific local surroundings, and how did they relate to broader conceptions of national art and culture? Looking beyond the large-scale, national art and cultural institutions, an examination of small-scale house museums allows not only to take into consideration the increasing diversity and complexity of the expanding heritage field of the twentieth century, but also to focus more specifically on the direct urban environment and the various forces at play in the processes of local and national meaning making.

Kate Hill: Urban centres and urban peripheries: social geographies and branch museum creation in Britain, 1880-1939

Between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries, branch museums flourished in British cities. In places such as Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester and London, small museums were set up as offshoots of either the main civic museum, or occasionally of a national museum. These 'branches' were often developed by chance, when a large house and its grounds were bequeathed to a local authority; or might be deliberately situated in areas thought to need specific cultural provision, such as slums.

Wherever they were, they were characterised by perceived peripherality, which can be seen in their museological practices. They mostly contained objects and displays which had been removed from the main museum as out of date. Any purposely created displays were very cheap – wildflowers and other local nature specimens formed their mainstay, and the Bethnal Green Museum featured 'Waste products' largely for the same reason.

Moreover, they were designed to address different audiences from those of the central museums, and in doing so, may be seen to designate those audiences as also peripheral – children and the working class (seen as somewhat similar or even interchangeable). Thus displays were often intended specifically for children (for example the nursery rhyme series of taxidermy displays including 'Who killed Cock Robin?' at Tollcross House in Glasgow) or aimed to provide specific education thought suitable for a working-class audience (at Bethnal Green Museum, for example, relating to local trades and industries). They were, in many ways, the antithesis of the universal museum ideal found in city centres.

These museums, despite very high visitor figures at their peak about 1910, had nearly all closed, or failed to re-open, by the end of the Second World War. They thus speak to a specific socio-cultural geography of British cities which flourished for a short but significant period.

Artemis Stamatelou: Collecting art for the city: the Municipal gallery of Athens and its role during the first half of the 20th century

The proposed paper examines the role of the Municipal Gallery of Athens in the construction of the desired image for the Greek capital during the first half of the 20th century. The Municipal Gallery is analysed as a museum institution which, through specific practices in collecting art, has sought to promote aspects of the dominant national narrative. The municipal art collection of Athens has been seen through time as an indicator of the continuity and modernisation of the Greek state. At the same time, it has contributed to shaping the dominant narrative through the ways in which it was perceived: as a 'hidden treasure' -the most significant art collection second only to that of the National Gallery-, as the public property of the Athenians and a tool for their aesthetic education, and as evidence of the key cultural role Athens was called upon to play at different historical times.

The paper is based on my doctoral research, conducted in the institutional archives of the Municipal Gallery and the Historical Archive of the Municipality of Athens, as well as the national press. My aim is to investigate the meaning-making practices associated with the collections and exhibitions of the Municipal Gallery of Athens during the 20th century and to explore their role in the construction of the desired image of the capital within the discourses of modernisation and nationalism.

Marie Palmers: City-sponsored history? The shaping of historical culture by the Brussels City Museum (1887-present)

This paper focuses on the Brussels City Museum as part of the mnemonic infrastructure of the City of Brussels (1887-present). Mnemonic infrastructure as defined by previous research (e.g. museums, archives and schools) makes it possible to tell stories about the past in the creation of a historical culture. Thus far, research has mainly focused on the creation of mnemonic infrastructure and the shaping of historical culture by nation-states under the research concepts of official history and state-sponsored history. The role of local governments in the creation of historical culture has, however, remained largely unexplored. To fill this gap, this study will introduce the concept of city-sponsored history, namely the creation and shaping of history by city-governments. To analyze city-sponsored history in the Brussels' case, this study first investigates the founding of the Brussels City Museum and its organization and direction until today. It focuses on the background and motifs of the driving forces behind the foundation and development of the museum and illustrates the changing importance of local politicians, experts, and academics in the shaping of the museum's course over time. Secondly, this study focuses on the ways in which the museum reached out to its audience in the creation of a historical culture. It examines the envisaged public and the changing representations of historical culture the museum produced, such as city guides and expositions. The existing literature about the local museum will be completed with administrative sources, such as the council meeting reports and management and annual reports. By doing so, it will illustrate how the city-government has been actively trying to promote and shape the history of the city. Ultimately, this research will shed light on history in the service of the city-government and will offer a first outline to the study of city-sponsored history.

Abdolmahdi Hemmatpour: Recreating and conserving the worth and merits of Iran's contemporary industrial architecture heritage

By relying on its rich history in the arts, crafts, and trade, Iran placed the construction of factories across the country on its agenda as the industrial revolution reached the country. One or more chains of industrial factories were constructed in every town and city, often by taking into consideration the dominant industry of that particular area. These were invested in by the tradesmen resident in them and also by attracting public participation and capital. As the community became more involved in businesses, the face of the cities changed overnight and factories were accepted as symbols of modernism and a new area alongside other urban elements. But, as their activities came to an end, or the units were transferred to city suburbs, the industrial buildings became derelict. Many were demolished due to a lack of knowledge by their custodians and unawareness by citizens in recognising their hidden values, not to mention a lack of attention by experts responsible for these units. This trend still continues today and even their registration on the National Heritage list has not been very fruitful, or helped to stop their demolition. This research has endeavoured to find an appropriate path for the protection of this heritage by reviewing approved documents and understanding their tangible and intangible values using the grounded theory approach in order to protect and recreate them. In the grounded theory, data is collected and analysed in the course of the research and study of scientific resources. Based on the outcome of the studies, the integrated conservation and re-creation approach was selected as the best path. This was defined as an integrated conservation based on the criteria of cultural standards, including values and capabilities, and authenticity and integrity, and an integrated re-creation based on the criteria of economic regeneration, including physical, functional, and socio-cultural re-creations. For the integrated conservation, the general policy was value-driven. In the integrated re-creation, the policy was based on functional protection and core culture. In order to achieve the desired result, a balanced interaction had to be reached between the two criteria of cultural standards and economic regeneration. Therefore, the final outcome and very important task of integrated conservation and recreation - which takes place in light of culture by considering awareness in society of the values of this heritage - will be carried out under the wings of a conscious society which can play a significant part in sustaining it.

Stefaan Grieten: Housing a collection, constructing a context. The Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (1890)

The Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, inaugurated in 1890, has a long history of origin, with two design competitions (1877-1879), a study trip in 1883 to museums abroad, and the construction process that began in 1884 but was not completed until 1892. The monumental building responded to the need to house the important art collection kept at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. This collection dated back to the local Guild of St. Luke, founded before 1453, and the Antwerp Academy, founded in 1663, and had expanded considerably over the centuries.

This paper presents both local and international dimensions and functions of the museum. For the urban development of Antwerp, the building represented an important component. It was designed as the central point of a city district planned since 1874, the South. Moreover, it formed part of a  chain of core buildings that served to transform Antwerp in the second half of the 19th century into a modern city with international allure, equipped with the necessary infrastructure for a bourgeois public. This dimension was already present during the design process, as illustrated by the aforementioned study trip.

The concept of the building raises fundamental questions that will be adressed in this paper: did the museum meet the expectations of the urban planning of the new district, and to what extent were the initial needs of the museum and its collection reconciled with the urban function of the building? Moreover, regarding the design of its two architects, Jean Jacques Winders (1849-1936) and Frans Van Dijk (1853-1939): to what extent did the internationally prevailing architecture concept for museums have a compelling influence on the design process, taking into account the divergent artistic preferences of the two architects?

Gerrit Verhoeven: Leopold's suburbia. Urban planning and the construction of the royal museums in the Brussels parc du Cinquantaire (1880-1940)

In 2030, Belgium will celebrate its bicentennial. With its elegant park and museum buildings, the Parc du Cinquantenaire will serve as the epicenter of the festivities. With the "Cinquantenaire 2030" master plan, the organizing committee wants to bring a new lease of life to the museums, which now look a bit dusty, but should become "un phare socioculturel et scientifique attractif". In addition to the cultural attractions in downtown Brussels, the park and museums should become the new pole of attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. Moreover, the committee hopes that the master plan will also bring a revival of the surrounding neighborhoods. Although nearly one hundred and fifty years have passed, the similarities between these new and the initial plans for the Cinquantenaire site are striking. Indeed, after the celebrations for Belgium's fiftieth anniversary in 1880, an ambitious plan was unfolded under the aegis of king Leopold II to replace the temporary exhibition halls with a series of elegant, neoclassical museum galleries crowned by a imposing triumphal arch. The grandiose museum complex was to house an equally impressive collection of archaeology, ethnography and decorative arts. From the outset, it was also intended that the museum would give an impetus to the newly developing urban neighborhoods in the area. Next to the city center, the Parc du Cinquantenaire was to become the pulsating heart of Brussels.

However, there was a huge gap between theory and practice. In this lecture, I want to trace the ups and downs of the project from its beginnings in the late 19th century to the eve of the World War II by delving into the archives of the Royal Museums of Art and History the city council reports, the press and other sources. Was the project so successful as initially thought - or rather dreamed - it would be? Did the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the surrounding city quarter become a new heart for Brussels? Or did the interest remain limited after all?

M18 Nature in cities: planning for difference & re/defining borders

Main chair: Petr Gibas, Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Sociology

1st Co-chair: Barbora Vacková, Masaryk University, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Studies

Short abstract

The panel traces changes to approaching, planning for and (re)defining the relationship between the urban and the natural across changing ideological, political, economic environmental and other contexts in the 20th century Europe. Emphasis is put on the transformation of the roles, forms and functions of urban nature and their impacts.

Keywords: City, urban nature, urban planning, urban politics, culture-nature division


history of urban nature; history of urban planning; 20th century urbanism;

Session content

The boundary between nature and non-nature (cities, culture, civilization) has been the subject of philosophical, anthropological and sociological research throughout history and continues to be so today. In modern history, nature played a role of the other to the project of modernization; it was also posited as a space of "naturalness," "purity," or even "morality." Industrialization and urbanization were enabled by the exploitation of natural resources which in turn underscored the distinction – both material and imaginary – between city and nature. The relationship between cities and nature, both within and beyond city limits, kept changing throughout the 20th century in the capitalist as well as socialist parts of Europe. The fall of socialism in the former East and the ensuing predominance of neoliberal capitalist urbanism intensified the dynamic transformation of and around urban nature. And Anthropocene evidenced most intensely in ongoing climate change has provided a stark challenge to the established notion of the separation of nature and city.

The panel focuses on the transformation and re-negotiations of the relationship between nature and city with particular emphasis put on the changes to the supposed and supported roles, forms and functions of urban nature. Throughout the contributions, we aim at exploring transformations of imaginaries, policies and practises defining what is/is not appropriate urban nature and how these impacted on and materialised in cities in the 20th century Europe. In doing so, the panel wants to trace continuities and discontinuities, changes and developments of approaching, planning for and (re)defining the relationship between the urban and the natural across continental divides (such as the one of East and West) and changing ideological, political, economic environmental and other contexts. The panel seeks theoretical and empirical contributions that can answer questions including:

  • What does "nature" in the city means and how does this change over time?
  • What kind of urban nature is appropriate in a centralized economy, neoliberal capitalist system and what are the historical alternatives and variations?
  • How do the relationship to and definition of nature manifest in urban policies, planning and design throughout the 20th century across the continent?
  • Who were and are the actors making decisions about nature in urban space?
  • How did the imaginaries, use and planning of nature changed due to political, social and other transformations?
  • How is nature used as a political instrument and how does it impact on social stratification and differentiation?
  • Was / is "nature" a public good and under what circumstances?


Hanna, Erika: Rainfall and the City in Ireland, 1800 – 2000

In the towns and cities of western seaboard of Ireland, it rains more than 250 days a year, a notable wetness of the air which shifts from swirling moisture to pounding rain as weather systems roll in from the Atlantic. But despite this distinctive, challenging climate, the weather remains absent from accounts of Irish urban history. Indeed, the sources urban historians have generally used for writing the history of the city—council minutes, architectural plans, and sociological reports—fail to do justice to how the city is experienced through and within weather, and how much urban places change in differing climatic conditions. This paper will address this lacuna, situating living with rainfall as crucial to Irish processes and experiences of urbanization. Exploring the intertwined histories of rainfall and urbanization from the beginning of the nineteenth to the end of the twentieth century it will reveal a new set of overlooked urban innovations and infrastructures which were crucial to patterns of urbanization; uncover a new set of rain-dependent urban agents including bryophytes, insects, and fungi which found new ecosystems in wet walls and damp thatch; provide a new social history of urban life which foreground the weather as constitutive of  urban culture, commerce, and experience; and examine anxieties associated with rainfall including the spread of potato blight, radioactivity, acid rain, and climate change, which have raised questions about the limits of urban governance and the impact of global capital on places on the margins.

Pelgrims, Claire: Cycling infrastructure and "nature": The role of urban nature in redefining the aesthetical experience of cycling in France and Switzerland since 1995

The pace of cycling offers a specific relationship with built and natural environments, and plays a key role in making cyclists aware of the quality of their environments. The design standards and cycling infrastructure themselves have significantly evolved over the past quarter of a century, reflecting changing expectations in terms of safety, sociability, exposure of the body, but also in terms of aesthetic experiences –notably of exposure to natural environments– which differ greatly from one city to another.

The first part of the research analyses and compares the transnational evolution of design standards and cycling infrastructure in Lausanne, Grenoble, Strasbourg and Montreuil since 1995. The comparison focuses on the details of the layout and the promoted relationship with 'natural' urban spaces and the arguments that support them.

The second part of the analysis then investigates the renewed aesthetical relationships and affective resonance to cycling infrastructure. The evolution of representations and symbols of cycling infrastructure, on the one hand, and affective and passionate investments, on the other, are documented by a corpus of cycling magazines (FR and CH, focus on discourse and illustrations). Observations during ride-along interviews conducted with regular utilitarian cyclists in France in 2023 confirm the potential to open up a new way to rebalance the relationship to the environment. Cycling infrastructure intensifies both the movement aesthetical experience, assimilated with personal freedom, and paradoxically the sensitive experience and care for the fragile environment in the context of ecological crisis. It constitutes therefore one example of the transformation and renegotiations of the relationship between nature and city, and the supposed and supported roles of urban nature in relation to mobilities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Wilson, Ann Marie: Good Neighbors: Making Space for Birds and People in the City of The Hague

This paper examines the grassroots efforts of ordinary Dutch citizens to create and protect bird habitats during periods of rapid urban expansion and dramatic rural land consolidation. During the 1920s, as city planners in The Hague carved new neighborhoods out of what had once been coastal dunes, local bird enthusiasts began to notice the disappearance of previously common species. In 1926, on the initiative a small group of secondary-school biology teachers, they persuaded the municipal authorities to create a "bird garden" in one of the city's new urban parks: a small area of limited human access where shrubs and other greenery were purposefully arranged to provide nesting habitat for birds. Though initially controversial due to the strictures it placed on human movement, the garden still exists today and has been joined by nearly a dozen others, many of which were created during the years after the Second World War, when the countryside underwent significant land consolidation for agriculture (another process threatening avian habitats). These gardens contribute to urban biodiversity and provide educational spaces for children, who, along with other volunteers, have been tasked with helping to create and maintain urban spaces that might be seen as "rewilded" avant la lettre.

While historians have understandably focused significant attention on the work of (generally elite) conservationists to secure international treaty protections for migrating birds, this paper argues that local efforts by ordinary people were important in developing creative solutions to habitat loss, based on collaborations (and spatial arrangements) that blurred the lines between public and the private, and "cultural" and "natural." The experience of The Hague can also provide lessons for how cities might develop internal "green borders" that facilitate human cohabitation with more-than-human neighbors.

Balog, Róbert: Pigeon-Human Connection Making Spaces and Networks in and around the Capital City: Budapest 1873-1944

Today, domestic pigeons living in cities look like an everyday experience and even a nuisance. As Donna Haraway has pointed out in her take on the Anthropocene (Staying with the Trouble), this circumstance veils that the species, Columba livia, has some exceptional characteristics that have made the pigeon-human connection strong and multifaceted for centuries. In this paper, I attempt to reconstruct the way pigeon breeding created links and overlaps between urban and rural society as well as between the zone of the capital and areas just outside Budapest. First, I will take on the examples of the relationship that the household of a well-known early twentieth-century avant-garde artist, Lajos Kassák maintained with his pigeons throughout his life. Second, using membership lists published in journals of major pigeon breeding associations as well as new reports about various aspects of their activity as source material I make conclusions about the social and geographical meanings of pigeon breeding near and in Budapest. The third section will juxtapose the sociotopographical features of the pigeon breeders' associations with that of the Pigeon Shooters' Association for the period before World War I.

Gray, Marion W.: Three Conceptions of Nature in a Rapidly Urbanizing Community, Early 20th Century

Residents of Steglitz, 8 km southwest of Berlin, lived in transformed nature. Steglitz had rapidly grown from an agricultural community (716 inhabitants in 1858) into an urban environment (83,000 citizens in 1920, when annexed into Berlin). Paved streets, modern housing and business structures overlaid former grain fields, meadows, and woodlands.

Contemporaries could see nature changing in daily life; nature was high in their consciousness. I will argue that Steglitz's inhabitants developed three different conceptions of nature in this rapidly changing environment.

Steglitz as Nature: Seeking escape from the crowded, industrial city, Berliners flocked to Steglitz for Sunday outings "in the country." Wealthy Berliners built luxurious villas, each with its private nature in the form of gardens and plantings. The perceived "green" attracted even working-class families to Steglitz to inhabit multi-story apartments. For those seeking refuge from the city, Steglitz offered a return to "nature."

Implanted Nature. Community leaders implanted their conception of nature: tree-lined streets, urban parks, and gardens. They subsidized the construction of the Grunewald streetcar line to give inhabitants easy access to the large state forest, 3.2 km away, which many viewed as undisturbed nature. They enthusiastically endorsed the relocation of Berlin's Botanical Garden to Steglitz. Officials sought to ensure that nature was rife in Steglitz. It was an intentionally constructed nature.

Nature Lost. Ignaz Urban, a prominent biologist, praised the planned urban nature—parks and gardens. However, in researching regional flora, he documented that landscape changes had led to extinction of many indigenous species and introduction of non-natives. Schoolteacher Paul Hiller was even more explicit about the loss of biodiversity resulting from urbanization. Lamenting habitat destruction, he declared that citizens in the engineered, 20th-century landscape had lost connection with the natural world. For Urban and Hiller, the city and nature were in conflict.

The ideals of Steglitz as Nature and Implanted Nature prevailed, enabling modernization under the idea that nature thrived in Steglitz.

Matti O. Hannikainen: Finding Nature in a Modern City – The Case of Vanhankaupunginlahti in Helsinki, 1890–1990

The city of Helsinki labels itself as a "green capital" referring to its environmentally oriented policies and the amount of green space found within its boundaries. Yet the concept nature and where nature should be located within a constantly growing city have been topics of fierce debates during the 20th century as part of town planning discourse. This presentation analyses the uses of the concept nature in town planning of Helsinki between the 1890s and the 1990s focusing on the case of Vanhankaupunginlahti and continuous attempts to preserve it from development. How was a shallow bay area such as Vanhankaupunginlahti perceived and by whom? Why did the city council object initiatives to create a nature reserve?

By analysing often conflicting ideas concerning proposed uses of Vanhankaupunginlahti, this presentation will show that the bay area was considered both nature and natural throughout the period studies by numerous naturalists. However, the value of nature had only a minimal impact upon technocratic planning discourse which considered the bay area as a mere land reserve. Hence, the sources suggest that the shallow bay area located close to the industrial heart of the city was considered often as lost nature because the built-up areas had surrounded almost completely by the 1910s. The fact that the City Council recognized the value of nature within its boundaries and established Vanhankaupunginlahti as a nature reserve resulted from external as well as internal pressure rather than council policy. Therefore, this paper shows the importance of landownerships in nature conservation within Finnish towns as well as the roles of various actors in campaigning for nature conservation with the Government Inspector for the Protection of Nature being the most important. The creation of a nature reserve within the City of Helsinki was thus a paradox emphasizing ideal of enclosednature reserve for nature enthusiasts and experts.

Špačková, Eva: HOW TO FILL THE GAP? Socialist city in the post-socialistic time on example of Ostrava-Poruba

The paper will present a study of the development of space in the socialist city of Nová Ostrava (today's Ostrava-Poruba), founded in the 1950s on a green field, which was destined to function as a "sector center" of the new city. This area had been planned as a city centre in detail for a long time since the 1960s, but remained undeveloped until 1989. After the change in economic and social conditions, the territory gradually began to be developed with the will to fulfill the original plan, but without a corresponding result. At present, it is only a system of solitary buildings with only partial public spaces without connections. All stages of planning from 1951 to the present day will be analysed. An urban study is being prepared for the last part of the territory, which should combine the requirements of the public and the city management and try to rehabilitate at least part of this space in an important location in the center of Poruba. The result of the public discussion is to leave this last empty space „unbuilt" and create here a new city park. The nature space is the most valuable quality for inhabitants of the city instead of any civic buildings.

Eszik, Veronika: Lawsuit, Defamation and a Duel: A Conflicted History of How Clean Drinking Water Was Provided in Budapest

The creation of the Hungarian capital (1873) through the unification of three formerly independent settlements led to brand new challenges in urban planning and civil engineering works. The spectacular modernizing efforts following the unification are broadly discussed by urban historians, but they rarely address the environmental consequences of these works or the way they transformed our thinking about urban nature.

In this presentation, I go over the conflicts connected with the construction of the most important waterworks in the city. The parcel assigned for the waterworks was the property of Count Sándor Károlyi, a politician who had a lion's share in preparing the law that defined all running waters as public goods. The sources suggest that given his role in formulating new concepts about natural resources, he was under the pressure of public opinion to hand over his property for symbolic compensation. As he refused to do so, he was publicly attacked by the press, municipal politicians, and also in the Parliament. The presentation addresses the politicization of nature, the formulation of the notion of public good, and a newly created urban context of responsibilities over water management.

Bodovics, Éva: Unforgettable? The Memory of Nineteenth-Century Budapest (Hungary) Floods

The history of the Hungarian capital, Budapest, is inseparable from the Danube, which not only divides the two parts of the town, Buda and Pest but also creates a kind of crisis community between the two parts of the town due to its severe and less severe floods as dealing with floods and their consequences and coping with crises, could only be solved through the cooperation of the town's districts.

In the nineteenth century, which the presentation intends to focus on, there were three major floods in the capital, two of which were ice-floods of the Danube (1838, 1876) and a third, a flash flood of a stream in Buda due to heavy rainfall (1875). While the floods of 1838 and 1875 had tragic consequences (human casualties, large material damage), the 1876 flood occurred with little damage thanks to the successful cooperation between the town's districts and effective flood management. An examination of historical disasters has shown (Pfister 2011) that disasters that are partly or entirely the result of inappropriate disaster management are often forgotten, while the memory of events that exemplify successful disaster management remains in the collective memory for a long time. In the background of this phenomenon are the interests of the leadership or the authorities governing the country/town, so that the memory of the tragic events that threaten their power is forgotten, while those representing their successful actions remain.

However, in the case of the mentioned Budapest floods, we can encounter the exact opposite situation, because while the memory of the two tragic floods (1878, 1875) has survived not only in the local but also in the national collective memory, the successfully managed flood of 1876 has not at all. By examining the memory of these floods, the paper attempts to point out that the press, which came to the fore and spread widely during the nineteenth century, had a fundamental impact on what remains in the collective memory and what does not.

Németh, Ágnes: The Role of the City in the Transformation of an Urban Stream in Budapest

The history of the capital of Hungary, Budapest, has seen significant events in the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, which still have an impact today. As a result of the population growth brought about by the great urbanization and industrialization, the environmental problems of the city increased, particularly in relation to housing and public health. In those times the solutions to these problems were seen as being solved primarily by infrastructure development, influenced by the sanitary movement. As a result, the construction of water pipes and waterworks, a new sewerage network, and the regulation of the urban stretch of the Danube and its various streams on both banks were all part of the urban planning process which began in the 1860s.

In the paper, I examine one of the streams called Ördögárok (which translates Devil's Ditch). This stream has been an important part of the life of the locals and has been an important source of water supply, water use, and sewage disposal. But it has also been the scene of disasters, such as the flash flood of 1875. For all these reasons, the city has taken significant steps to regulate and transform it, completely changing the face of the stream and its neighbourhood. In the presentation, I use an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on archival sources, contemporary press, and visual sources, to show the results of the city's response and its effect on the landscape use of the area's natural and built environment, which changed significantly through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Hoghoj, Mikkel: The Rat and the City: Urban welfare, rats and everyday life in mid-20th century Copenhagen

This paper investigates the material politics of urban rat control in mid-20th century Copenhagen. From the 1930s onwards, Copenhagen underwent significant spatial and architectural changes as new urban legislation for planning, housing, slum clearance and pest control were passed in context of the emerging welfare society. This development entailed a transformation of the bio-social conditions of urban life. Increasingly, urban authorities and urban dwellers identified and experienced dysfunctional infrastructures, sanitary shortcomings and what Maria Kaika has denoted as "bad nature" in the form of animals, humidity and mould as intolerable nuisances. Rats, in particular, became a contentious issue within this context, transcending the porous socio-spatial boundaries between public and private. This found expression both in the centralization of urban pest control and in several urban rat extermination campaigns.

Taking its starting point in the physical attributes, behaviour and resilience of rats, this paper aims to examine encounters and conflicts between rats, urban residents and governmental authorities in mid-20th century Copenhagen. Based on inspection reports of condemned housing from the Copenhagen Health Police and the Municipal Housing Commission, the paper analyses how rats influenced practices, imaginaries and politics pertaining to welfare and citizenship in the context of rapidly changing expectations of urban housing standards. Specifically, the paper argues that rats transformed urban and domestic space into a socio-ecological arena for everyday political negotiations where questions of welfare and citizenship intertwined with social categories such as family, gender, hygiene and privacy. More broadly, the paper also contends that the urban history of rats can shed new light upon the deeply interconnected – and continuously re-negotiated – relationship between nature, technology and politics in the modern city.

M19 Troubled Cities: Dissolved, Sharpened, and Shifted Boundaries since the 20th century

Main chair: Christian Lotz, PD Dr., Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe

1st Co-chair: Łukasz Musiaka, PhD , Faculty of Geographical Sciences, University of Łódź

2nd Co-chair: Carlotta Coccoli, PhD Prof., Universita degli Studi di Brescia

Short abstract

This panel seeks to compare western and central European cities that underwent crucial changes in terms of cityscape and ethnic composition which were direct or indirect consequences caused by wars in the XX and XXI centuries State borders shift, post-war landscape, migrations, resettlement and dissonant heritage are the main topics of the session.

Keywords: ethnicity, (dissonant) heritage, authorities, memory, border shifts, war, reuse, reconstruction


exclusion of ethnic groups, heritage mapping, urban planning,reconstruction, war damages, narratives

Session content

World War I and II impacted many European cities and challenged the post-catastrophic recovery not only for regular citizens, but also for stakeholders such as local and displaced communities, urban planners, tourism sector, political actors. The treaties such as Versailles, Trianon, and later Potsdam, reshaped the political map of Europe. As a result, some cities found themselves under the sovereignty of another state, which reconfigured their status regarding ethnic and national majority or minority. While Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory, Romania rose to become "Great Romania" incorporating numerous multi-ethnic groups. In Southern Tirol, Italians became the hegemonic group, rather than a minority abroad of their nation-state. The Great War also weakened the position of the German-speaking population in France. For such reasons, questions of how the 'newly created' majorities adjusted the cities are worth exploring: How was the "dissonant" urban heritage perceived and embedded in the future narrative of the cities? For instance, in Poland, where territorial shifts to the West after 1945 are a great example for contested land urging for a quick incorporation of cities into the national imaginary, whereas at the same time the loss of Poland's former Eastern parts was silenced and erased from public discourses.

(Re)nationalising cities and discovering or creating the (hi) were not the only processes which shaped the cities across the continent. Also, the creation and the dissolution of the Soviet and Western Bloc drastically determined the nature and pace of cities reconstruction and economies. The development plans drawn during and in the aftermath of the world wars were not only concerned with the removal of undesirable national features and replacing them with favourable ones, but also were preoccupied with urban modernisation. This meant deciding which elements of built heritage deserve to be protected or even reconstructed and which were merely perceived as "old" or "difficult" and as such not worth saving. Exposing how those forces were intertwined in different broader regions is another topic that this session wants to explore.

In this panel addresses national, ethnic, and architectural boundaries through both an individual and political lens. It asks how urban politics envisioned a betterment of the cities in the post-war context, (e.g. hygienization, heritage preservation) and it also incorporates the perspective from the grass-roots level of local actors, and the impact on history from below such as tourism and contemporary discourses.

By comparing and contrasting different European cities that experienced destruction, demographic change and underwent essential reconstruction processes, the panel aims to serve as a platform to address common strategies of sharpening or dissolving boundaries. Furthermore, it seeks to overcome binary centre-periphery conflicts which imply urban, regional, or cultural divisions and clashes.


Carmen Enns: War and Shifting Borders: Thematic Urban Cartography from 1914s to 1945

When a new national administration takes over a war-torn city, it needs to get to know the area. Mapping the damaged parts of the city was one way of doing this. Since the 1980s, the crucial role of cartography in the creation of a national territory has been outlined. More recently, research into the history of cartography in Europe between the First World War and the post-war period after 1945 has gained momentum. However, this formative function of cartography has rarely been examined in the context of thematic city maps and, in particular, damage maps. Did altered cartography facilitate the rebranding of cities through their post-war reconstruction? Drawing on the established body of literature on map-based research in the history of planning, this paper introduces war damage maps to the field of research, both from the Second World War and the post-war period. The geographical focus is on Poland, Germany and neighbouring countries. Published maps are used as well as archival material collected by researchers in the UrbanMetaMapping consortium.

In the inter-war period, knowledge of thematic urban mapping and planning spread through the 'Urban Internationale' and newly established regional and national planning systems. In this context, efforts were made to produce guidelines for thematic city mapping for metropolitan areas. With the loss of base maps and thematic maps during the war, and with surveyors leaving or dying in the war, base maps and thematic maps had to be created from scratch. As a result, standards disappeared while new styles and themes of city mapping emerged. Before new national mapping standards were introduced, the maps around 1945 showed a variety of new aspects and approaches to urban cartography. This diversity reflected different local approaches to reconstruction policies.

Elisa-Maria Hiemer: Mapping memories – Textual and visual stories on contested land in Central Europe

This paper investigates strategies for mapping and narrating cities that underwent crucial changes in terms of population and suffered massive war damages. It focuses on former Polish cities that were ceded to Belarus (Brest) and former German cities that became Polish after 1945 (Elbląg). In the center of interest is the re-branding of the cities in tourist guides and maps as well as personal accounts of former and new inhabitants. From a diachronic point of view, the different textual and visual sources help define features of a rhetoric of  gain and loss and compares the strategies applied in both types of sources to emotionalize the city in question. In my case studies, not only architecture had to be rebuilt from scratch, also the city's past had to be incorporated into the national consciousness and imaginary. During the postwar emerge of the binary world order, unambiguity in political rhetoric was the key. Particular attention is therefore paid to emotionalization of the reader that was a mean to increase individual attachment which was needed for embedding the new territories into the geospatial consciousness. However, inspired by ideas of the reader-response theory and postrepresentational cartography, the comparison of texts and maps shows incoherencies and continuties for these urban narratives.

Tabitha Redepenning: Narrating Szczecin. Creation of urban authenticity through touristic city trails

Urban representation is a significant driver of public discourse in heritage debates and cultural transformation. This interdisciplinary thesis synthesizes urban studies, remembrance culture, public history, and tourism theory to examine the creation of urban authenticity. Focusing on Szczecin, this study delves into its distinctive transnational history, the World War II destruction, the for border shift, and its consequences. Drawing inspiration from post-war debates on the reconstruction of individual buildings, this research emphasizes the interconne of buildings by city walks, and in an overall image of the city along selected narratives. This work shows how various local stakeholders present the city's three-dimensional space in a linear way, influencing the valuation and devaluation of specific urb structures in a process of authentication. The narratives oscillate between portraying Szczecin as "modern" or "historical", "gre "industrial". They are accompanied by publishing recurring sets of images of urban elements, with unique pictorial language. Th visual language even bridges major disruptions such as World War II. This study traces its historical roots, reaching back to the 20th century, taking into account the social construction and the materiality of the urban fabric. Furthermore, it compares the dis conveyed through maps with textual descriptions, revealing disparities shaped by the chosen medium. This research primarily focusses on Polish and German civil society actors post-1945. It examines the roles of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Socie (PTTK), German expellee organizations (Vertriebenenverbünde), and Western German individuals in support of Poland's government (Hans Joachim Orth). Visual materials and tourist publications related to Szczecin, including maps, photographs, postcards, and actors' reports, serve as primary sources, complemented by newspaper articles.

Damian Zając: How did places for wealthy people become open to the masses? Spa towns in Lower Silesia after World War II: history, architecture, and urban planning

Lower Silesia is one of those areas where a lot of changes are related. In history, this region was a part of a few countries, but since the XVIII century, it has been a part of German political entities (firstly the Kingdom of Prussia and then the German Empire). In 1945, it changed, and Lower Silesia became part of Poland as the Western Borderland. Moreover, Poland became a communist state dependent on the Soviet Union.

In this new reality, there were also spa towns located in Lower Silesia. Before World War II, to these places used to come mostly wealthy people. After World War II, spa culture became a mass culture, and health resorts started to be open to people from different social classes. These changes influenced architecture and urban planning. The result of that was the necessity of building new spa architecture and redeveloping material heritage.

The purpose of the paper is to analyse how World War II influenced spa towns located in Lower Silesia. Health resorts in this region were not demolished during the war, but the changes that I described above affected their cultural landscape. The main topics that I would like to bring up are dealing with prewar material heritage, new architecture, and urban planning modifications in spas. I hope that describing the small part of the postwar reality in Lower Silesia that is represented by spa towns can help understand the changes that took place in all of Poland's Western Borderlands during this time.

To prepare my paper, I will use a few kinds of sources. The main focus will be on archival sources: iconographic and cartographic materials, documents, and architectural projects. There will also be press articles from this period and different types of travel guides. The complement will be the results of field research, realized in spas.

Olga Juutistenaho: Troubled spaces: Narrating and interpreting World War II through two war cemeteries in Helsinki

This paper examines two war cemeteries in the Helsinki region as spatializations of Finnish World War II memory culture. The main research question is what type of narratives and interpretations of the past can be read in public space. Public space is not a neutral medium of remembrance, but a result of ideological choices. Some narratives are emphasized and spatially reinforced, while other parts of the past are not addressed and instead kept hidden. This selective pattern can be identified in the way WWII is spatially remembered in Helsinki.

The collective memory of WWII is an integral part of Finnish identity. The war is seen as a heroic battle for independence and democracy against the hostile neighbouring Soviet Union: it is considered a sacrifice that was both traumatic and unifying. Meanwhile, the hegemonic narrative pays less attention to the controversial military alliance with Nazi Germany. Additionally, the Cold War dynamic with the Soviet Union complicated Finnish postwar remembrance and limited the freedom of expression.

The chosen two examples in the Helsinki region are in many ways each other's opposites, representing different aspects of the past. Hietaniemi cemetery is a central high-profile site of patriotic nation building, located in the city centre and describing itself "the stage of national memory": it represents official heritage, as well as the authorized heritage discourse. As a contrast, the German military cemetery in Honkanummi is a neglected curiosity, located on the outskirts of both the urban fabric and, symbolically speaking, of Finnish politics of memory: it can be interpreted as a site of difficult or contested heritage, representing a niche interest in Finnish memory culture. These two sites embody interconnected spatial, sociopolitical, and aesthetic dimensions of Finnish WWII remembrance in public space.

Laura Demeter – Peter Matei: Dirty Cities and Modern Times. Romanian Cities between Hygienization Phantasies, Social Exclusion, and Roma Genocide during the 1930s and 1940s

Following the First World War, the integration of new territories into 'Great Romania', such as Bessarabia, Bucovina, and Transylvania, led to processes of modernization and the transformation of the Romanian cities. This paper aims to critically discuss, firstly, the extent to which urban politics envisioned a betterment of the cities. This vision translated, among other things, into hygienization politics, as well as addressing the impact of war damages. Secondly, based on selected case study analysis and archival research, this paper aims to examine and question how urban politics during the interwar period and the Second World War contributed to the exclusion of specific ethnic groups, such as Roma communities, which were often located in marginalised urban areas. Particular attention will be given to discussing 'the periphery', where the Roma became increasingly visible in connection with the accelerated urban development of the interwar period. This development was partly driven by the expansion of cities during the interwar period, including the peripheral areas where many Roma lived, often in segregated conditions, especially after 1918. The settlement on the urban peripheries was perceived as an invasion and criticised by various actors. These issues will be further explored by discussing the roles of various stakeholders, including local communities, urban planners, and political actors, all of which eventually had an impact on the social and urban exclusion of Roma communities during the 1930s and 1940s. Finally the paper will address the impact of the war damages and subsequent transformation of cities, which also affected the social composition of specific neighbourhoods in the selected case studies.

Uri Rosenberg – Chen Bram: "In the Caucasus, Muslims were like our brothers, but we were in our place, and they were in theirs": Remembering Jewish- Muslim relations in Acre

Combining anthropological and historical perspectives, this research examines how immigrants remember Jewish – Muslim relations and living patterns in Azerbaijan, and how they grasp current intercommunal ties in Acre, a 'mixed' Jewish- Arab town.

Acre was one the most violent arena of tensions between Jews and Palestinian Israeli citizens during the latest round of intercommunal violence of May 2021. Violent intercommunal clashes, however, were not a new phenomenon in this northern town: the relations between Jews and Arabs in Acre suffered a blow already in 2008, when an Arab resident drove into a Jewish neighborhood in the sacred holiday of Yom Kippur. This event sparked Jewish-Arab riots in the town. Many of the Jews who were actively involved in these clashes were immigrants from Azerbaijan (who belong to the wider 'Kavkazi' Mountain Jews community) who form a sizeable ethno-cultural group in Acre.

In Independent Azerbaijan, past and present good relations between Muslim and Jews are praised. Our historical research generally supports this image: Jews and Muslims conducted close and friendly relations during the Soviet era. The events in Acre, hence, offer a puzzle: why Jews from Azerbaijan became the forefront of anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim sentiment in Acre?

This case study exemplifies how collective memory is reshaped and modified in the context of relocation in Israel's periphery. In this process, there is specific importance to the relations between spatial configurations of intercommunal relations in the past (Azerbaijan) and after immigration (Acre).

While presenting and re-evaluating their experiences, immigrants correspond with current understanding of Jewish - Muslim relations propagated by right-wing ethno-national Jewish ideologies. Narratives of living together of different 'Kavkazi' sub-groups are pushed aside, sometimes even ostracized. On the other hand, the specific memory of one town, Quba, where Jews and Muslims lived relatively separately, became the hegemonic story among the immigrants of Acre.

The meaning of past spatial and symbolic boundaries, and of various patterns of intergroup relations in Azerbaijan are re-interpreted. The outcomes are not only mirrored in the way memories are presented, but also correspond and influence current intergroup relations and living patterns in a 'mixed' Jewish - Arab town.

M20 Maritime cities at the boundaries: governance, intervention and agency at sea in Late Medieval Western Europe (13th-15th centuries)

Main chair: Victoria A. Burguera-Puigserver, Dr., Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

1st Co-chair: Roser Salicrú i Lluch, Prof. Dr., Institució Mila i Fontanals, Spanish National Research Council (IMF-CSIC Barcelona)

Short abstract

By assembling studies on the projection of maritime cities' governance at sea and their intervention in maritime activities, this panel will assess the question of whether their physical and geographical borders acted also as political and economic boundaries in Late Medieval Western Europe, delving into the different levels of urban agency at sea.

Keywords: Sea government, sea power, urban jurisdiction, urban agency, cities' intervention at sea


Urban history, maritime history, medieval Europe history, political history, economic history

Session content

Late medieval polities of Western Europe were marked by significant compositeness, with cities and lordships possessing important autonomies and broad jurisdictions. In this respect, scholarship has broadly acknowledged the important role cities and municipalities played for the government of territories. In particular – and in connection with governmental authorities – for counterbalancing the power of medieval princes and lords operating in the localities. Although this seems to be a common trait among Western European polities, each context was marked by different balance, which in turn originated from their specific political, social, and economic environment. In that regard, the specific role of maritime cities with respect to governance at sea still needs to be fully investigated.

Cities' degree of autonomy allowed them in each case a lesser or greater power of decision and influence over their citizens, their countryside and their surrounding waters. As a result, maritime cities developed an unequal extension of their terrestrial power of influence towards the sea and towards maritime activities. Moreover, the maritime frontier of the coastal cities often shaped them and helped them to develop their powers. Therefore, their axis at the boundary between sea and land makes them a coherent object of study throughout the Late Medieval Western Mediterranean and North-Eastern Atlantic.

This session invites scholars to examine maritime and port cities in the later Middle Ages with respect to their connection with the maritime environment. By adopting a comparative approach, this session will help us to discuss how maritime cities operated at sea in different political and social contexts. In so doing, the contributors to this session will debate on the different degree of autonomy these maritime cities enjoyed or, on the contrary, their subordination to seigniorial powers, which regulated maritime matters.

The following are some of the possible points to be discussed, among others:

  • Municipal intervention in maritime conflicts' management: return of stolen goods, compensation to victims.
  • Urban actions for the defence of seas, coasts, and maritime commercial activity.
  • Network and alliances between maritime urban centres for common purposes: defence, mercantile exchanges, protection of ports.
  • Municipal ordinances related to navigation, shipbuilding, ship armaments, trade and commerce by sea.
  • Funding, possession and loan of municipal vessels for naval expeditions, both to private individuals and other institutions.
  • Information management, correspondence and communication, contact and contracts between city authorities and captains for various purposes.
  • Participation into and organisation of maritime expeditions, both as autonomous enterprises or in connection with the rulers' agendas, for instance, for promoting conquests or defensive purposes.
  • Municipal intervention in the creation of sailors' and seamen's associations, fishermen's guilds...


Gonçalo Melo da Silva: Chaos or profit on the border? Algarve port towns and wars at Late Middle Ages: human and financial resources, provisioning and results

During the medieval period, towns had war as one of their main threats. Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, Portugal recorded several periods of military conflicts. Some were internal wars, between monarchs and their political opponents, often their closest relatives. Others were external conflicts, with Castile and the Muslim kingdoms in the Maghreb. In recent decades, despite the constant interest of Portuguese medievalists in military history, studies on maritime warfare remain very few, representing an "Achilles' heel" of Portuguese military historiography. This reality, as for other themes related to maritime history, is largely due to the scarcity of sources, which is not the case for Algarve port towns, the third maritime center in the kingdom. Thus, we intend to study the relationship between these towns and war and, above all, their capacity to overcome and/or benefit from maritime conflicts. In this sense, we will try to understand how the municipalities of the Algarve participated in the war effort, both in terms of men, material and financial resources, their response to a situation of instability and potential danger and, finally, the influence of war in the development of the region's urban network.

Davide Morra: Two Towns between the Kingdom of Naples and the Adriatic Sea. The Commercial Policy of Trani and Barletta in the Late Middle Ages

In the late Middle Ages, the coastal towns of Apulia were a porous border between the Kingdom of Naples and other polities located along the Adriatic Sea. The nineteenth-century historians connected the medieval prosperity of these cities with their maritime vocation. The mercantile activities of their inhabitants, however, have been the subject of debate. Especially in the second half of the 20th century scholarship applied a pessimistic approach in examining the economic history of the Kingdom of Naples. In general, they suggested that this realm was a 'society without merchants,' and it was economically subordinated to the great Florentine and Venetian entrepreneurs. More recently historians changed their theoretical approach, highlighting the mercantile and maritime vitality of the local communities, demonstrating that the Kingdom of Naples' late-medieval economic system still needs to be fully investigated.

This paper aims to pursue this new approach. The examples of the Apulian towns of Trani and Barletta in the late Middle Ages provide the ideal case studies, because both these urban centres built their fortunes in relation with the hinterland of the Kingdom (to which they belonged) and with the outer Adriatic spaces. Through which means did Trani and Barletta promote their citizens' economic interests across the maritime borders? And to what extent did they have success while pursuing this strategy?

To answer these questions, I suggest that two different local mercantile cultures coexisted. On the one hand, in Trani, the mercantile culture was more dynamic and inclined not only to exercise a complex process of commercial mediation along the Apulian coast, but also to operate in distant markets. On the other hand, the Barletta's mercantile culture was marked by a more prominent attention to the local environment, as demonstrated by the town's merchants attention towards the mediation of traffic flows transiting through the city.

Lena Sadovski: Venice and the Dalmatian port towns. Venetian intervention and local agency in Split

This presentation will analyse the maritime relations between Venice and the Dalmatian port cities under its rule, zooming in as an example on the city of Split (Spalato). The republic's maritime empire, the Stato da Mar, can best be understood as a network of islands, towns, and coastlines connected by sea and subordinated to the Venetian Serenissima. But which role did individual towns play within this network, how strong was Venice's hold on them, and, crucially, how did Venice intervene, control, and use their maritime connections? Based on a wide array of original archival sources, this presentation will analyse (1) the Venetian attempts to control the Dalmatian maritime trade and the towns responses to this, as well as (2) sea voyages by Spalatins in the service of the local commune and the Venetian state. For the first question, I will talk about Venice's trade policies and their (failed) implementation as well as the range of Split's overseas connections, the presence of foreign merchants, and the relation between merchants, captains, customers, and the town authorities. For the second point, I will address the participation of Dalmatian galleys in Venetian maritime expeditions by studying the office of the supracomites in Split, who had to provide a galley for Venetian agendas within and outside the Adriatic Sea. In addition, the voyages of communal envoys to Venice and the dangers and difficulties involved will be examined. By analysing the files of trials connected with such voyages and expeditions, new light will be shed both on their organisation on the practical level as well as the consequences of the integration of Dalmatian towns within the Venetian Stato da Mar.

Laurin Herberich: A City out of Time — Venice and the Latency Problem

Tempus fugit. If Vergil's bon mot rings true today, it does even more so in 15th century Venice, where a maritime city at the edge of the Mediterranean strived to rule a far-flung collection of territories and every waterway in between. This attempt at thalassocracy went not unchallenged and several other maritime powers made attempts of their own by bringing to bear their military power at sea. While brought to bear in large scale fleet actions, the more common application of (and threat to) sea power was the phenomenon of maritime predation. Its manageable risk and its profitability for maritime powers and their sea experts alike increased not only the numbers of predators but also the danger of an all-out war in turn. The foremost reason for this seems to have been the latency inherent in premodern communication systems.

While researching medieval maritime predation in the Eastern Mediterranean during the 14th and 15th centuries in the Deliberazioni Secrete, Miste and Mar as well as the Libri Commemoriali of the Venetian archives, the author found that the Serenissima's response to these external threats was to fight the latency of its governmental apparatus internally. To safeguard her thalassocratrical goal, Venice sped up governance processes, implemented exclusion zones and established a smooth-running information network.

By conducting case studies based on several 15th century instances of maritime predation, war and domestic obstruction, one can deduce the effectiveness of Venice's anti-latency strategies. The variety of results they produced in the short run adds to the question: Did Venice, in the long run, succeed in being always out of time, but never late?

Filippo Vaccaro: Autonomous trading hub or Venetian offshoot? Investigating the significance of the port of Candia in the early 14th century

The seaport of Candia, capital of Venetian Crete, holds a geographically central position in the eastern Mediterranean. Yet, this centrality does not seem to have been matched, at least until the end of the 13th century, by an equal political and commercial centrality: an example is the port's exclusion from the portolan Compasso de navegare. This paper aims to explore the question of the port of Candia, using some unpublished sources in the archival fond Duca di Candia in Venice, structuring the analysis on three levels. Firstly, the structural problems of the port, related to its north-facing position, will be discussed. The Venetians in Crete, in fact, repeatedly asked the Dominant to repair works: these requests often went unanswered, and maintenance interventions were thus only provisional, posthumous, and ineffective. Were these real impediments to the flourishing of the port of Candia in the 14th century? Did they allow the city to develop autonomously from Venice? With this question, we move on to the second level of investigation, focusing on the role played by the port during the first half of the 14th century. By comparing the opposing theses of Ruthi Gertwagen and David Jacoby and, above all, with the use of the documents the series of Bandi and Actorum, it will be possible to measure the importance, if any, of this Mediterranean city and to determine whether, at the beginning of the 14th century, there was a change from previous centuries. Finally, again to understand its relevance, the peculiar social composition of the port city will be explored, as a showcase of an island in which not only Venetians, Greeks and Jews lived, but also Genoese, Aconetans, Lombards from Milan, Tuscans from Pisa, and many others. Some of them landed on Candia with the intention of putting down roots, others looking at it only as a transit point on the route to Constantinople or the Levant, but all willing to profit most of the Cretan financial and commercial market.

Jesús Ángel Solórzano Telechea - Pablo García Fuente: The construction of maritime boundaries : sea sovereignty and urban coastal jurisdiction in the Crown of Castile (13th-15th centuries)

This proposal presentation will examine the construction of maritime boundaries and sea sovereignty based on the distinction o legal violence (privateering and letters of marque) and criminal violence (piracy) in the town ports of the Bay of Biscay. This distinction was progressively established from the thirteenth century onwards by the authorities, since the strategy to mitigate the dangers of violence at sea by means of truces, alliances and short-lived bilateral peace agreements ensued disjointed and ineffective. Medieval privateering, piracy and naval warfare pose a problem of definition, since their denomination and meaning medieval European documentation are not comparable from a legal and moral point of view. Depending on their ability to assert their interests in discourses about the legality of their practices, the same men might appear as pirates, privateers, merchants, captains, or admirals. In the last centuries of the Middle Ages, there was a phenomenon of criminalization of piracy by the royal urban authorities. This oral paper will demonstrate that piracy, privateering and naval warfare were a mere legal distinction, aris from the new concept of royal sovereignty and urban juridiction over the sea, which legitimized or criminalized maritime violence according to the interests of the rulers, which posed a serious and constant threat to maritime security in the seas of late mediev Bay of Biscay. Thus the actions of private, marginalized and non-state actors contributed to the construction of an international society whose territory of action was the sea, which created new legal concepts such as the "sea sovereignty" over which monarchical states and town ports councils coexercised their jurisdiction by means of criminalization of maritime violence.

Albert Reixach Sala: Fighting the plague in the maritime cities of the Western Crown of Aragon (c. 1348-c. 1510)

This paper deals with the role played by urban governments in general and those of maritime cities in particular in the management of sanitary crises deriving from epidemic outbreaks from the Black Death to the beginning of the 16th century. Certainly, as the example of a leading case of Late Medieval Western Mediterranean shows us, the Crown of Aragon, main institutional responses to plague and other diseases were firstly undertaken by municipal authorities rather than monarchies or higher state structures. It was like this with respect to initial ritual actions to "placate divine anger" and even when more pragmatic mechanisms started from the first half of the 15th century.

Within this context (including comparisons with other European territories such as Italian cities or the old Low Countries), focus will be placed on the main maritime enclaves of the Western Crown of Aragon and their strategies to cope with epidemic outbursts. First, the mechanisms developed in order to monitor the disembarkation of vessels. In this case, it seems clear that Majorca took the lead in many initiatives. Already in the 1410s its government had mechanisms in place to expel from the island people considered to come from foci of contagion. During the following decades, the main seaport, Portopí, was the centre of an advanced system for filtering suspicious ships. They were required to show health passes and protocols were established to isolate goods and crews in buildings in the port complex. Similar responses were adopted in other maritime cities such as Valencia or Barcelona in the 1470s. Yet in the former as well as the Catalan capital specific sanitary passes and lazaretti were not documented until the mid-16th century.

On balance, this paper seeks, through the case of the Aragonese maritime cities and the phenomenon of the fight against the plague, to shed light on the growing agency by urban governments at sea as well as coping with crises during the Late Medieval period.

M21 Urban welfare regimes in the North, 1500–2024

Main chair: Associate Professor, Magnus Linnarsson, Stockholm University, Department of History

1st Co-chair: Dr. Mikkel Hoghoj, The National Museum of Denmark, Department of Modern History and World Cultures

2nd Co-chair: Professor Heiko Droste, The Institute of Urban History, Stockholm

Short abstract

The welfare cities of the North are the result of an urbanisation process, where urban governments and different social as well as religious organizations negotiated citizenship and inclusion, thus creating a distinct urban political culture. That can explain, why welfare even today is an urban interest, reflecting on the political fabric of the Northern cities.

Keywords: Welfare city, welfare regimes, inclusion, popular movement, working class history, political culture


Welfare city, welfare regimes, inclusion, popular movement, working class history, political culture

Short abstract

The urban political culture is an integral part of the Nordic welfare state, because welfare not only constitutes a substantial part of the cities' work. Urbanisation is the result of the negotiation of welfare services (infrastructures, schools, social care, culture, parcs and else). Welfare is both a driving force and the result of an urbanisation process that turned the North since the late 19th century into a highly urbanised region.

This process has long historical roots, not the least as the Nordic countries, despite being highly centralized nation-states, were always based on municipal structures, in particular the parish communities, whose political culture is an important part of the national self-image of the Nordic countries. Given these historical roots, the development of urban welfare changed over time, entailing different welfare regimes. Political decisions were decisive to the development, as city leaders adapted its policy according to needs and conditions in the city itself.

However, the role of the variation, chronology and implementation of these welfare regimes has not gained sufficient attention so far. Since the early modern times, cities, despite their comparatively small numbers and sizes, have been the arena for negotiations between urban governments and a number of social and religious institutions, popular movements, in particular the working class, free-religious churches and the temperance movements. They shaped eventually a distinct Nordic political culture, fostering inclusion, democratic structures and an urban-based form of citizenship.

This urban political culture not only negotiated different aspects of public welfare. It has also been re-vitalized, when the neo-liberal turn since the 1980s resulted in the re-commodification of welfare services. During the last decades, new and old popular movements, with roots in the urban structures of the 18th and 19th century changed the rules of non-public welfare – and thus the rules of the urban political culture, once again.

The session invites papers on various aspects of this overall picture, covering the period from 1500 until present. An explicit focus is the specific urban culture of the Nordic countries as an arena for the negotiation of local democracies, based on urban governments and organisations that can be summarized as popular movements, mostly related to different protestant denominations. Besides these well-known religious organizations, this could also include housing organisations, the outdoor movement and various leisure organizations. Such movements and organizations were significant but are partly overlooked as agents in the creation of the welfare city's political culture. The session, therefore, strives to open up a broader discussion about the agents who were involved in the creation of the welfare city and the various welfare regimes it contained throughout history.


Hannes Rolf: The Homes the City Built: Shelters as Welfare Provision in Stockholm 1840-1940

Sweden is known for its strong welfare institutions. One of the central reforms was a housing policy that raised the housing standard of the population massively during the second half of the 20th century. One of the peculiarities of this system was the strong emphasis on municipally owned tenements, that was made available to the public without means-testing. This system separates Sweden from its immediate neighbours, where other paths were chosen. While there was very little social housing policy in Sweden before the 1930s, cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg did provide what was seen as temporary emergency rental housing shelters for homeless citizens as early as the 1840-1850s. While the same private, philanthropical, semi-philanthropical and cooperative solutions that existed in other European cities existed in Stockholm, the city would during reoccurring periods of the perceived housing crisis in the 1870s, 1890s-1900s and 1917-1920s become a direct supplier of housing and a landlord. These temporary homes would become increasingly permanent until the first permanent rental homes for families with many children were built in the 1930s, cementing the role of the city municipality as a provider of housing. It is the argument of this paper, which looks at the case of Stockholm during the above-mentioned periods, that the emergency rental shelters changed the way that the city of Stockholm viewed itself as a welfare provider and the notion of citizenship. It is also argued that the roots of the Swedish post-war housing regime can be found at the municipal level, during a period when the cities increased their claims on urban space. This was a political process but one that is not only explained by the classic ideological differences but also by the necessity of governing the urban.

Richard Rodger: Surviving Death: Family Fortunes and Trust in the City

Rarely, if ever, do we read of relationships of trust when studying urban history. Yet trust was ubiquitous. Long before social welfare and state pensions provided a financial cushion for surviving family members, there was a market alternative. From beyond the grave individuals endowed funds and ring-fenced property assets to ensure that their nearest and dearest were provided for in the future. They used the law to define and shape the city's – and their family's – future. Based on an analysis of all Edinburgh homes in 1860, this presentation will focus on the trusts and annuities that underpinned the living standards of family members, and provided a financial lifebelt for women.

Andrés Brink Pinto: The pre-history of housing inspection in Malmö, Sweden, c. 1900-1910

In 1911 the Swedish town of Malmö got a municipal housing inspection. This was initiated by two social democratic city councillors, and was supported by the conservatives and the women's movement. The city council took the decision in consensus and without debate. Thus, my paper focus on how the problem of housing was articulated in a way that made inspection a possible policy answer.

In this paper I will argue that central welfare questions were articulated and handled through policymaking on a municipal level decades before these questions became solved through state policies. Further, my case shows how some genealogies of welfare policies on an municipal level can be found outside of municipal party politics. In this case I will show how the housing question was articulated inside of the municipal policy process as well as in the labour and the bourgeoise women's movement.

These actors had a common understanding of the main problem being low housing standards, in the wake of a rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. The municipal policy makers pointed towards low material standards and framed the problem as something that was solvable through municipal social expertise in the form of female housing inspectors.

Interestingly, the local social democratic party didn't discuss housing inspection to any significant extent. Instead, they discussed the housing question in relation to a more general anticapitalist critique and in connection to programs to foster home ownership. Housing inspection was discussed within the chapter of the Fredrika-Bremerförbundet. They conducted surveys of the housing standard in Malmö, build showcase model homes, and lobbied for the instigation of a housing inspection. For them, the home was a primarily female space that should be made better by female housing inspectors.

By following these three articulations, I will show a genealogy of the housing question, and how municipal policy both is gendered and have gendering effects.


Perrault: Constructing workers' "right to mobility" in the early welfare city. Stockholm's workers' trains (1903-1923)

In 1916, Stockholm's collective transport became public. This municipalization resulted from 15 years of political debates around the role of transport and how it should be organised. It marked a shift where transport became increasingly understood as a public good that should serve the city's development, and whose public should be extended to working-class populations (Hallenberg and Linnarsson, 2017). So-called workers' trains ("arbetaretag"), with adapted prices and schedules, exemplify such attempts to extend access to transport and were a central point of tension in the negotiations between the Swedish municipality and private transport operators. Two workers' lines subsequently opened in 1906 and continued to develop until this category disappeared in 1923 to be replaced by general discounted fares. The definition of the time and place of this service gave rise to conflicts between the municipality, operators, and workers' organisations, who attempted to define who workers were as a group and what their needs were. Workers themselves mobilised to change inadequate tariff barriers and secure access.

The article investigates the politics behind the spatiality and materiality of these workers' trains, and how a "system of access and inaccess" (Urry, 2003) was defined, negotiated, and contested, in particular by workers. It contributes to understanding how infrastructures, even framed under an emerging urban welfare regime, shaped splintered urban landscapes still visible today, as well as how mobility practices give rise to new political demands (Gunn et al., 2022).

Mats Hallenberg: Public transport and urban citizenship: The contested expansion of tramways in Nordic capital cities c. 1900

This paper investigates the expansion of tramway systems in Nordic capitals as a conflict over urban citizenship. The introduction of electric power offered the potential to transform the privately operated, horse-powered tramway lines into a modern system of mass transport. The question of who would pay for, and who would benefit from, the future extension of tramway lines accordingly became a hotbed of conflict in municipal politics. Public transport promised to connect the old city centres with the growing suburbs in the urban periphery. The tramways also opened up new horizons for urban planning, as the capital cities could now expand outside of the old city borders that had separated them from the surrounding countryside. This expansion facilitated the creation new suburbs with social housing for the working classes, as well as carefully planned garden cities for the urban bourgeoisie. The tramway systems, thus, could function as a means of urban integration as well as one of social exclusion.

The recent infrastructural turn in urban history has put the focus on welfare services as an arena for negotiating urban citizenship (Gunn, Butler et al 2022). The growing populations demanded equal access to modern infrastructural services like water, sewerage, heating and transport. In the early 20th century, such demands were increasingly voiced in the city councils who had the power to decide on future investments. The council debates on the tramways generally referred to expressions of public opinion, local petitions as well as reports from urban professionals like economists, engineers and architects. The council minutes thus provides a lens to study political culture in the Nordic capitals. I will compare council debates on the expansion of tramway systems in Copenhagen, Kristiania (Oslo), Stockholm and Helsinki. I will analyse the arguments raised both in favour of and against public investment in the expansion of tramway lines. Following Timothy Moss's work on Berlin (Moss 2020), I will highlight the social dimension of public services, as well as the financial opportunity for municipal administration. Finally, I will discuss the role of the municipality as a model employer and the issue of workers' rights.

André Klaassen: Public transportation and the right to the welfare metropolis: negotiating modern welfare citizenship through greater Stockholm's transit network (1960s–1970s)

The rail-based suburban neighborhoods that once were considered the flagships of Swedish welfare planning have now become enclaves of social exclusion (Andersson, 2007). Remarkably, efforts to understand and address this contradiction focus almost exclusively on housing and residential segregation (e.g., Östh et al., 2018; Legeby, 2013; Holmqvist & Bergsten, 2009) – rarely analyzing public transportation as a source of deprivation or possible entry point for action.

Welfare historians have studied mass housing and landscape recreation as paramount features of the materialization of Nordic welfare states (e.g., Hoghoj, 2022; Pries & Qviström, 2021), and transport historians have explored the urban transformative role of transport innovations (e.g., Ekman, 2018; Gullberg & Kaijser, 2004). Yet, with a few exceptions (e.g., Hallenberg & Linnarsson, 2017), public transportation has rarely been explored as a welfare service in and of itself. As a result, transport services remain auxiliary in historical recollections and analysis of welfare distribution, the shaping of modern citizenship, and mechanisms of (sub)urban in- and exclusion.

This paper places public transport at the center of the welfare debate. By contrasting research on transport policy with protest movements' struggles for fair and equal access to public transport services in 1960s-70s Stockholm, it explores public transportation as and embedded feature of the 'welfare city' (Gunn et al., 2022) – or rather a 'welfare metropolis' – and access to transport services as a contested civic entitlement. By placing infrastructures against their political and historical context, this work argues that public transportation has historically played an important role for negotiating the terms of modern welfare citizenship, and that transport networks can serve as privileged sites for further exploring how mechanisms of social in- and exclusion have been wired onto the infrastructural grid over time.

M22 Disruptions of Urban Infrastructure in the Second Half of the 20th Century

Main chair: Dr. Rita Gudermann, Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung (IRS), Erkner

1st Co-chair: PhDr. Ondřej Ševeček, Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague

2nd Co-chair: PhDr. Martin Jemelka, Masaryk-Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Short abstract

The welfare cities of the North are the result of an urbanisation process, where urban governments and different social as well as religious organizations negotiated citizenship and inclusion, thus creating a distinct urban political culture. That can explain, why welfare even today is an urban interest, reflecting on the political fabric of the Northern cities.

Keywords: disruption, urban infrastructure, growth, shrinking, 20. century, path dependency, resilience


Urban infrastructures in the 2nd half of the 20th century in the face of social, economic, and political disruptions

Session content

Cities as historically evolved entities are by definition always in flux. And yet there are periods of disruption in their history that pushed them to the limits of their resilience: Natural and man-made disasters, refugee flows and epidemics, the settlement and departure of industry, commerce or the military, or the building and fall of the Berlin Wall are such situations.

How flexible were European metropolises in the second half of the 20st century in adapting to such challenges? What happened to their infrastructure when they grew and shrank, their age structure changed, political and economic conditions shifted abruptly and irreversibly?

Contributions are desired on the transformation of infrastructures of living and working, of education, culture and recreation that became visible in the cityscape.

The following questions could guide the contributions:

  • Which urban infrastructures were particularly affected by disruptions? How did cities differ in their response to such changes?
  • Are there path dependencies and rules that urban adaptation processes followed? What are they? Are they the same everywhere?
  • Can we find examples of particularly high resilience of cities in the face of disruption? Or, on the contrary, of inflexibility and dysfunction?
  • How can such adaptation processes be visualized, for example on maps or with the methods of digital history?
  • How did the adaptation processes affect the quality of life and attractiveness and ultimately the sustainability of cities?


Timothy Moss: Urban infrastructures mediating the political division and reunification of Berlin

This paper uses the historical case of Berlin to explore how urban infrastructures are not only affected by upheavals to urban life but can themselves be agents of disruption. It juxtaposes two emblematic events in Berlin's post-WWII history – the political division of the city in 1948/49 and the reunification in 1990 – to ascertain how flexible the city's energy and water infrastructures proved in the face of radical transformation and what this can tell us, more generally, about the relationship between continuity and change in infrastructure systems under duress. An historical sociotechnical approach – that treats infrastructures as dynamic entanglements of social, political, symbolic, material, environmental and technological components – will be used to reveal what changed, and what did not change, during and after these two momentous events. The blockade of West Berlin in 1948/49 manifested itself in truncated electricity cables and gas pipes on the border with the surrounding Eastern sector of Berlin and zone of Germany, as well as disruptions to water supplies and deliveries of coal. The severe vulnerabilities revealed by the experience of the blockade prompted West Berlin to seek resilience in urban autarky for its energy and water services – a goal that was achieved only partially. Reunification in 1990 brought with it the challenge of reconnecting and integrating infrastructure systems that had grown apart for four decades. Interestingly, this proved more challenging institutionally than physically, as the city struggled to adapt to a more competitive and critical environment of infrastructure provision.

David Hernandez Falagan - José Luis Oyón - Erica Sogbe - Manel Guardia - Joan Roger: Infrastructures and working-class peripheries: Barcelona, 1950-2000

The two decades following the Spanish Civil War, 1939-1959, were a period of economic stagnation and inability to update urban infrastructures. In Barcelona, as in other large Spanish cities, the real disruptive factor was the intense rural-urban migration process. The impossibility of extending and updating the various technical networks –insufficient and ageing–, in this long and particularly harsh period, had the most serious and long-lasting consequences in the new working-class peripheries that were rapidly and abruptly forming.

In the case of Barcelona, the neighbourhoods around the Besos river, on both sides of the north-eastern edge of the municipal district –still today the most depressed in the metropolitan area– are a good touchstone for observing the close and sometimes conflictive relationship between urban growth and infrastructures. The networks serving these neighbourhoods, such as urban and interurban transport (trams, buses, metro and rail), water supply, sewage and lighting networks, arrived late, created great tensions due to their lack of adaptation to an exponentially increasing population, and had a critical impact on the evolution of these working-class peripheries. They completely conditioned the daily life of their inhabitants and determined the rhythms, the processes of formation and the final configuration of their different urban morphologies. The lack of infrastructures and facilities was the reason for many of the demands of the powerful neighbourhood social movement in the last years of Franco's dictatorship. So it was only in this terminal stage that some of these deficits began to be resolved, which later became the priority object of the policies of the democratic years.

Moreover, the topography of Barcelona has made the strip along the Besos river an essential access channel to the city, and a peripheral space where large infrastructures have historically accumulated, such as railway lines, expressways, water supply installations, high-voltage lines, thermal power stations, sewage treatment plants, incineration plants, etc. Their brutal impact on the whole area creates serious troubles and contributes to the fragmentation and marginalisation of many of these neighbourhoods. This is one of its most problematic legacies.

Bogdan Andrei Fezi: Bucharest relinks with its own objectives after a wasted half-century of urban development

The historical urban goals for Bucharest concerned urban sprawl, density, order, transportation, water and green areas.

Starting its western acculturation in 1806, it took Bucharest between 100 and 140 years to produce internationally relevant urbanism. In 1906, it held its first international urbanism competition, before Berlin or Paris. The 1934, the International Union of Local Authorities' stated that "Along with France we must cite Romania, the only European country that tries to create an individual urban science". In 1939, Bucharest received the Gold Medal at the Liege International Exhibition of Water.

The political break came with the 1946 frauded elections and the Iron Curtain. Still, the urban projects continued, such as radio-concentrical Master Plans or street openings.

The biggest urban shift started in 1974 with the systematization law.The constant objectives of urban order and transportation were replaced by the demolishment of most of the radio-concentric historic center, replaced with a new orthogonal structure. The permanent goals concerning water and green areas vanished when the rivboviter Dambovita transformed in a concrete heat island.

The fall of the communism, brought Romania back to the western family but did not relink with its own urban traditions. In 1996, 50 years after the 1946 faked elections, Bucharest organized the international urbanism competition, "Bucharest 2000". Unfortunately, the competition led to no urban results.

In 2024, 50 years after the law for the systematization, Bucharest finally plans to relink with its urban objectives. The capital intends to adopt its new general Master Plan, to reinforce the circular system with the inauguration of the new circular motorway and to start, for the third time, a huge project transforming the river Dambovita.

This contribution aims to focus on infrastructure reshape and street network, water and sustainability, disfunctions and adaptation, political and economic shifts.

Vítězslav Sommer: The Production Network of the Svit Footwear Company during Late Socialism and the Economic Transformation after 1989

This paper investigates the geographical distribution of industrial production in the Czechoslovak footwear company Svit Gottwaldov / Zlín during late socialism and the subsequent economic transformation in the 1990s. It examines the interplay between older, long-standing production structures from the first half of the twentieth century and new elements of production geography arising from the needs and demands of a centrally planned economy. The paper examines the role of this production network in the economic changes of the late 1980s and in the economic transformation that followed after 1989. The aim of this paper is to show how the economic changes of the 1980s and 1990s affected Svit's transregional and transnational network of production sites, and the consequences of these changes for the wider industrial infrastructure in the city of Zlín and the surrounding region.

M26 Imaginary vs. real: Towns on the Border and Borders in Towns

Main chair: Jana Vojtíšková, doc., PhDr., Ph.D., Institut of History, University of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic)

1st Co-chair: Drahoslav Magdoško, Mgr., Ph.D., Institut of History, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice (Slovakia)

2nd Co-chair: Josef Kadeřábek, PhDr., Ph.D., Regional Museum in Slaný (Czech Republic)

Short abstract

The section will be interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on the connection of history, sociology, and anthropology. It will deal with the issue of imaginary borders in urban space, in the wide timeframe of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.

Keywords: symbolic communication; imaginary boundaries; mind mapping; historical and visual anthropology


symbolic communication; imaginary boundaries; mind mapping; historical and visual anthropology

Session content

There are borders that no one drew on maps, but people carried them in their minds. Often contemporaries even perceived them more sharply than the real, visually represented ones. Exceeding these imaginary boundaries was undesirable, punishable, and had social, economic, and political consequences. The goal of our section is to raise and then deepen the topic of imaginary borders and maps in the field of research in urban history. How did imaginary borders come about? Did they enter urban space to become physical boundaries? Did the vanished physical boundaries remain in people as mental traces? Were there rituals associated with crossing them? We would like to find an answer to these and many other questions with the help of the methodology of historical and visual anthropology, urban studies, or the history of everyday life. The issue of mental or imaginary mapping, which deals with the creation of alternative city maps and plans based on local awareness or the nomenclature of city districts used by different social groups, should not be left out. We are also interested in the answers to the questions whether these imaginary maps have the same borders as the physical ones, what their roots are. How do the imaginary maps of different social groups differ? In connection with the above, we open the scope to both medieval and early modern themes, so that we can trace the phenomenon of the imaginary borders of our ancestors across these two epochs in the light of summary contributions and case studies.


Jagna Rita Sobel: Bordering on Two Estates – Sigillography of 14th Century Wrocław Patriciate. A Case Study

The status of city patriciate in medieval times ranked somewhat on the verge of two estates: the knights and the city citizenry. Representatives of the patriciate led lives characteristic to wealthy citizens of the city, on the other hand they aspired towards the elite of knighthood. That dichotomy affected patriciate's sigillography as well. This paper will highlight a case study analyzing the seals of Wroclaw's 14th century patricians. At first glance, those do not differ from the sigils of knights. The text pattern on inscriptions is similar in both seal types. Akin to the ones belonging to knights, patrician seals also display heraldic badges on the imago field. What constituted the unique nature of city sigillography? How did a patrician's seal differ from others in Middle Ages? This paper will answer those queries.

Martin Šandera: Borders of the old and new world in a medieval royal town. České Budějovice during the reign of George of Poděbrady

The paper traces how the unwritten border in the city of the existing holders of political and economic power shifted (traditional varieties of trade, trades, location - our neighbourhoods and streets, but also the place and role during the festivities etc.), moved as a result of the influence of new people, who were enabled by external power support to quickly rise and gain key positions. The fact remains that even the "new people" externally always tried to defend the interests of the city, even in the difficult period of 1453-1457. It reveals the complex network of motives and circumstances when the old class (not defined purely by national, but strangely enough confessional principles) decided to turn the situation in the city in their favour and restore the old power zones and unwritten boundaries.

Dan Dumitru Iacob: Topography of a Border Town between Imaginary and Real: Foc?ani, in Graphic and Cartographic Sources from the 18th-19th Centuries

Among contemporary Romanian cities, Foc?ani stands out by a historical peculiarity symbolised by the words "the city on the Milcov" or "City of the Union". The settlement is attested with this name in 1575 and developed as two distinct localities, separated by a state border established a century before on the course of the Milcov River. Although officially both localities bore the same name, the inhabitants differentiated the two parts by associating to the official name the attributes "Moldovans" and "Wallachians" or "Romanians". The two localities were administratively unified only in 1862, although the border separating them was abolished in 1859, when the two Romanian principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia, united and founded modern Romania. Our paper aims to differentiate between imaginary and real elements concerning the city's topography in the 18th and 19th centuries, using the comparative analysis of mainly graphic and cartographic sources but also narrative sources. We are also interested in finding out which symbolic and real elements in the topography and architecture of the city act as the places of memory ("des lieux de mémoire") and support the idea of unification and the label "City of the Union" today. Last but not least, we are interested to find out which the contemporary practices and celebrations are associated with the abolition of real and symbolic borders and with the unification of the city.

We support our arguments and examples on the results of our original research on the historical plans and images of Foc?ani, discovered in national and foreign archives.

Blanka Szeghyová: The Untouchables: Pillory, Gallows and the Executioner: Ambivalence, Dichotomy and Limitations of Early Modern Justice

Judicial practice is one of the areas that can amply attest to imaginary and symbolical borders within the urban community and topography. Despite the noble ideal expressed in the oaths of the judges upon their inauguration to their office to judge fairly the poor and the rich alike, social differences were deeply inherent in the justice system. Those well-off and of higher standing usually got different treatment, starting from the position in trials and the advantage of purgatory oaths, to conditions of imprisonment and modes of punishment, enabling them even in some serious cases to save their lives by paying damages and fines.

It was not only the social stratification, that was reflected in the early modern justice; another indispensable and all-pervading phenomenon was the notion of honour. Those of lower standing who could not afford to pay fines often had to be punished either by some form of the capital punishment or by the public dishonouring ritual at the pillory, which symbolically deprived the condemned of their honour and contributed to their definitive marginalization. While administration of justice was considered worthy and honourable, the execution of justice, on the other hand, developed into a highly disreputable and dishonourable occupation, represented partly and to a smaller extent in the person of the bailiff (gerichtsdiener), and typically and fully in the work of the executioner. Also, all the places of execution - pillories, kopfstocks and especially the gallows had an ambivalent meaning. Officially, they embodied disgrace forming infamous zones and places both within the cities and at their borders. At the same time and unofficially, however, they provided material that was popular in many magical and healing practices.

Myriam Greilsammer: Reality vs Imaginary: the Crucial Role of the Lombard Moneylenders in the Economic Life of the Low Countries cities, and How their Perception as "Metaphorical Jews" Led to their Brutal Exclusion (13th C. - 1618)

Since the European economic revolution of the 11th-12th Centuries, the lombards, Italian bankers from Piemonte and Lombardy, acquired in Transalpine cities a quasi-monopoly on moneylending at interest. In the Low Countries, from 1260 on, they provided in the towns trade services (buying and selling), and banking facilities (credit, pawn broking and money changing). I wish to show how and why these urban Christian moneylenders, who played such a crucial economic role, became a threatening and hated scapegoat for both the Church and secular authorities. My thesis is that the reason of this threat lies in the "imaginary" perception of the lombards as "metaphorical Jews". From the 12th Century on, the Church steadily refused the lombards any kind of salvation, and treated them as ultimate sinners. The fact is that this excommunication was solely directed against the lombards, and not against other merchants exercising the same type of monetary activities. This nefarious perception was neither based on the reality of their trade, nor on their real day-to-day behavior, but rather on a negative imaginary qualification of the lombards as "Baptised Jews" (Bernard de Clairvaux), which we can qualify as an arbitrary border erected in the urban space between these sinners seen as "false Christians" and the "good Christian urban society". This long lasting popular and learned rejection purely based on anti-Jewish stereotypes based on the nature of their trade, was conveyed in a multifold genre of texts (from literature to apologetical, moralizing, polemical (for instance Anti-Jewish Franciscan propaganda), theological, canonical, historical texts, etc.), through visual arts and political measures. This continuous hate and rejection of the lombards, internalized by Christian society by the way of symbolical violence (Pierre Bourdieu), led to their final banning from their trade in 1618, and their brutal replacement by the public urban and "Christian" Monts de Piété.

Melisa Pesoa: The Town and its Limits.Urban-rural Borders of New Towns in the Argentine Pampas in 19th Century

More than a hundred new towns were established in the province of Buenos Aires during the 19th century. The aim of these towns was to reinforce the presence of the newborn Argentinean national state over the indigenous lands. The towns followed a model developed by state regulations and conducted by surveyors from the Department of Topography. In this urban model, the delimitation between rural lands and urban life was crucial both from a functional and symbolic point of view. On the one side, it was supposed to limit the urban land from the rest of the lands devoted to pastures, and this limit was carefully planned as a wide street with the function of a ring; on the other hand, it represented the limits of the "civilized" urban world, in front of the "barbaric" rural land, inhabited by nomadic tribes and wandering population such as the gauchos. The original designs of the towns conserved in the provincial Archives, along with legal ordinances and technical documentation from the surveyors, serve as key sources to delve into these two sides of the urban limits by contrasting the ideas with the formal results.

Antonio Moro: Barcelona's Rambla: From Geofraphical Boundary to Urban Axis

La Rambla, surely one of the most emblematic promenades in the world, is today the center of Barcelona's urban life.

Its geographical site is a low place in the territory, about 200 meters from the Roman foundation, which had a single gate to the west (where the site of the Rambla was located). The city was located between two of the many streams that crossed the plain of Barcelona. From the 11th century, the city spread outside the limits of the Roman Barcino. In the 13th century, the urban extension outside the walls was already greater than the interior. It was then that the construction of a second line of walls began. On the west side, it followed the line of what is now the Rambla and had five gates to the west. Thus, the site of the Rambla changed from being a geographical boundary to being an urban boundary. This asymmetrical situation, in which there was a wall with five gates to the east and only a few lines of houses to the west, marks the genetic code of the future Rambla.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, a third line of walls was built on the other side of the Rambla, embracing the current Raval district. Thus, the Rambla became an urban space that would take almost three centuries to be understood as a linear and unitary space.

The urbanization of the Raval was very scarce for several centuries: houses on the fronts of the Rambla and on the roads that crossed it transversely, and also convents, hospitals, almshouses, other religious institutions and even the shipyards. It became denser from the last years of the eighteenth century, with the installation of factories and housing for workers. This, and its close connection with the port, has also made the Rambla a social boundary that has survived to the present day.

Guillermo Medina: Scottish Poverty and Inequalities Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian

In 1884, John Bartholomew published a "New Plan of Glasgow with suburbs, showing the distribution of public houses, Licensed grocers, churches and branches of the G.U.Y.M.C.A." issued to the Glasgow United Young Men's Christian Association (GUYMCA). This thematic map used information from the Ordnance Survey to build up an urban image of the impacts of alcohol consumption. It points to the places of consumption and shows different statistics about the rents received from the Public Houses, the number of cases of 'anti-social conduct', and the size of the police force. More than a century later, in 2020, the Scottish map of Multilevel deprivation revealed that 10% of the most deprived areas in Glasgow had some correspondence with the zones with a significant density of public houses mapped by Bartholomew. How does this correlate? And how does this influence the urban image of the city?

This proposal will discuss the urban image as a heterotopia. This means to question the urban space as an 'other or counter place' that is designed, represented and produced institutionally under a specific cultural and historical setting. Bartholomew's thematic map is an example for exploring alternative sources for visualising and analysing deprivation areas that sometimes renew themselves into historical loops.

M27 Sonic Boundaries. Sound, listening and the delineation of urban geographies and communities since 1500

Main chair: Jakob Ingemann Parby, senior researcher, Ph. D, PI of Sounds of Copenhagen, Museum of Copenhagen

1st Co-chair: Kasper H. Andersen, senior reseacher, Ph. D, Moesgaard Museum

Short abstract

Urban communities and identities are defined by both physical, social, political, emotional, and phenomenological borders. This session explores the sonic boundaries of urban communities constructed through silence, noise and the experience of urban sounds and soundscapes.

Keywords: Sound Studies, sonic hierarchies, listening regimes, 1600–2020


Sound studies, sonic boundaries, listening regimes, history of the senses, hierachies, space-making

Session content

This session explores the sonic boundaries of urban communities in Early Modern and Modern Europe constructed through silence, noise and listening regimes e.g. the behavioral norms and divisions surrounding the experience, ordering, and hierarchization of urban sounds and soundscapes.

Inspired by the works of scholars like Raymond Murray Schafer, Emma Thompson, Jonathan Sterne, Karin Bijsterveld and Samuel Llano, this session explores how learnings from Sound Studies can be operationalized in the study of social change in European Cities with a particular focus on sound and aurality in the formation of social, ethnic and political boundaries and geographies within individual cities and across the rural-urban divide.

How have sounds, soundscapes and listening practices transformed or defined spaces, social group, neighborhood and workplace identities or political alliances? What are the social, racial, and gendered delineations in which sound and listening regimes have played a particularly susceptible role for their definition and transgression? What defining shifts can be discerned at the local, urban, and national level? What are the spaces that most representationally encapsulate sonic hierarchies?

We particularly invite contributions that uses the study of sound and listening practices to new research agendas and methodologic questions on urban history as well as contributions involving the material culture of urban soundscapes and boundaries. From the carriage-drivers whipcracks denounced by urban intellectuals in the mid-19th century to the ghetto-blaster conquering the streets of European cities in the 1980s; from 19th and early 20th century neighborhood conflicts over industrial noise and sound enhancing gramophones to boomboxes and door phones in the contemporary city.


Kasper H. Andersen: The King's Cacophonous Coronation - Auditory Manifestations of Power at the Coronation of Frederik II of Denmark in 1559

In 1574 the learned priest Rasmus Hansen Reravius published a poetic text about the coronation celebrations of the Danish King Frederich II in August 1559. Reravius' poem is a propagandistic text, by which the author aimed to celebrate the new king, but at the same time the text is also a detailed account of the coronation, and information presented by Reravius is confirmed by other sources. According to himself Reravius had personally experienced the coronation, and therefore he was not only an eyewitness both also an ear-witness to the event. Based on his own experience of the event Reravius in a sensory manner described the different parts of the official coronation and its auditory elements such as the thundering of canons, and the intense sound of ringing bells, trumpets, and fireworks. In many cases, the residents of Copenhagen were unable to visually observe these activities, but they could certainly hear them. Hereby, the coronation dominated the town's social and physical spaces, by disrupting their common acoustic environments. No one could shield their ears from the king's cacophonous coronation. Even indoors, within the most private sphere of the Copenhagen residents' homes, it was impossible to escape the elements of the coronation festivities that reached the highest decibel levels. These sounds were far louder than the sounds the city's inhabitants typically encountered in their everyday lives. This paper examines, how the coronation of king Frederich II conquered or redefined urban soundscapes across Copenhagen, and how the conscious planned auditory elements of the coronation became manifestations of the power of the new king. Furthermore, the paper will compare the coronation in Copenhagen in 1559 with other contemporary royal events across Europe and their use of sonic elements to illustrate the unique status and power of royal power, especially in the capitals of Early Modern Europe.

Jenna The: Breathing, barking, bellowing - A sound history of human-animal interactions in Amsterdam (1840-1910)

The sounds in nineteenth-century cities were not only heard and generated by humans, but also by animals. This paper will demonstrate how sound played a role in constructing and negotiating the boundaries between different animals (e.g., as cute pets or filthy pests) and boundaries and relationships between animals and humans. As we know from existing urban animal histories, these relationships changed dramatically in the nineteenth century, with certain animals disappearing from the city and others returning to the core of urban life in new forms. While animal historians have paid little attention to sound in explaining how and why these relationships shifted so dramatically, historians interested in urban sounds have paid relatively little attention to the shifting presence of animal sounds in urban life.

This paper seeks to bring together sonic (and sensory) history with animal history to examine how animal soundscapes shifted in the nineteenth-century city and how these shifts were indicative of shifting relationships between humans and animals as well as the construction of new human-animal communities.

More concretely, this paper will try to answer this bigger question by focusing on the analysis of the shifting presence of animals in urban transportation in nineteenth-century Amsterdam. Transport animals were integral to nineteenth-century urban society and formed communities with all kinds of city dwellers, which also makes it possible to examine boundaries between classes and gender, among others. Amsterdam's diverse urban components, including its role as metropolis, consumer city, port, and proximity to the countryside, make it an ideal case to examine various urban dynamics. Through the analysis of letters to the editor and other newspaper sources, as well as citizen's letters to the municipality, this paper will argue that it was precisely the basic, self-evident sounds made by both transport animals themselves and the humans that accompanied them that increasingly became problematic in the city and put social and human-animal relations on edge. Through a sonic discourse analysis of these sources, I aim to provide a better understanding of (1) how people and transportation animals changed their communities through experiencing and producing sounds, and (2) how sound produced urban relationships.

Jakob Ingemann Parby: Noise, Nerves, and Spatiality in the Making of the Modern European Metropolis, app. 1850-1920

During the massive urbanization and industrialization of 19th century European cities, their inhabitants became exposed to new sonic and aural technologies as well as a host of new sounds and intensified soundscapes that effected their understanding of urbanity and urban existence as well as their mental and physical health, their sense of belonging and even the way they listened to their environment. This has led several scholars to talk about the period as a particular "auscultative" age. An era devoted to sonic experiences, to "close listening" and to auscultation. (Picker 2003, Sterne 2003) Within the blooming field of sound studies many have also highlighted the importance of sound and aurality in the making of the modern city and its citizens.

In this paper I explore the interplay between perceptions of sound and noise and spatialization processes in the modern networked and extended European metropolis that emerged in the latter part of the 19th century with a particular focus on the city of Copenhagen. Drawing on newspaper articles, memoirs, health commission reports, medical literature, complaints over noise and the representation of urban sounds in contemporary novels I will map the changing and complex role of sonic and aural elements in the demarcation and reconfiguration of streets, neighborhoods, and urban communities.

In these reconfigurations, new sounds like factory and train noise, steampipe signals, tram and bicycle bells often mixed with traditional sounds like the rumbling of horse drawn wagons, whip cracks and street cries, creating alternate soundscapes that were endowed with diverse ascriptions of value depending on the listener, writer, or complainant. And in turn used as figures of identification or conflict.

Jayeeta Sharma: Muffin Man, Sweet Lavender, Chana Jor: Connecting Feeding Cities and Sounded Cities in the 20th and 21st century

Until relatively recent times, many of the lived practices of feeding cities and sounded cities went hand in hand. A majority of city residents worldwide relied on the sounds of street vending and public hawking – the calls, chants, cries, and songs of selling - to supply a host of everyday consumption purposes, from faith to food. For the producers of those urban sounds, such acoustic practices were linked to their livelihoods. Alongside, they contributed a tremendous amount to the liveliness of cities. Depending on a city's cultural, ecological, and spatial location, food vendors were wont to call out muffins, sweet lavender, chana jor, satay, kulfi, dumpling, chestnuts, apples, fish, crabs, fruit and vegetables, plants, flowers, and herbs, across streets and public spaces. The paper examines how from the early-mid twentieth centuries, the character of those urban soundscapes, and of popular culinary infrastructure, shifted and were often silenced, and how that took place in relation to changes in public policy and practice, especially as connected to municipal governance, urban ecologies, and urban provisioning mores.

Stijn Oosterlynck – Ilja Van Damme: Spatializing the 'Sound of Belgium': the (sub)urban geography of popular electronic dance music, app. 1987 -1992

The worldwide rise of popular electronic dance music (EDM) in the last decades of the 20th century, is often linked to urban post-industrial decline and the subsequent 'creative' restructuring and reimagining of post-industrial neighbourhoods. What binds Detroit techno, Chicago house, NY garage, and notorious European rave cities like 'Madchester' and Berlin together, is their connection to the so-called crisis of the Fordist urban-industrial complex from the mid-1970s onwards. From the ashes of abandoned warehouses, industrial plants, and other spaces left vacant due to de-industrialization and further globalization, arose the phenix of contemporary hedonistic club culture.

While previous research has established the empirical soundness of such evolutionary trajectory, its focus on inner districts of (big) urban centers, has also created a severe spatial bias in both urban theory and history. Thus, the rise of EDM genres and affiliated subcultures becomes linked to specificities of urban place, like density, creative clustering, networks, and diverse interactions. However, much of such thinking on the complex entanglements between creative industries and the city, fails to see how much wider spatial constellations, stretching out far beyond the core urban areas and encompassing suburban areas, were equally constitutive of this wave of musical renewal and innovation.

In this paper, we focus specifically on the rise of Belgian new beat and hardcore, which, for a short period of time between c. 1987-c. 1992, managed to have a huge impact on the techno scenes worldwide. Focusing on the networks of creativity, cooperation, distribution and consumption behind this remarkable rise to prominence, we highlight how these networks were not only located in the post-industrial landscapes of one of the central cities of the country, but were also embedded, albeit selectively, in places in the historically grown dispersed sub/urban landscape. Referred to in literature as citta diffusa or nebular city, post-WWII Belgium became characterized by massive infrastructure-led development and suburbanization. Within this peri-urban or semi-rural continuum, new popular facilities arose, among which also music cafés and clubs, which managed to draw people away from the inner urban nightlife of Belgian cities. Rather than occupying vacant tracts of post-industrial urban land, cheaper and more interesting options were available along Belgium motorways and suburban 'nowheres'. Moreover, a lot of these clubs thrived on limited or non-existent local regulations relating noise pollution, closing hours and easy car accessibility. Researching the (sub)urban geography of creativity undergirding the success of the 'sound of Belgium', is the central goal to this paper.

Simon Gunn: London and the Urban Geography of Pop in 1960s Britain

Since Charlie Gillett's seminal The Sound of the City was first published in 1970, the relationship between pop and the urban has been taken as axiomatic. The new forms of music that achieved widespread popularity from the mid-1950s, including Chicago blues and rock and roll, were strongly identified with the city. If this was the case in the United States, it was equally or more so in Britain. Less obvious, though, was the exact kind of 'urban' that propagated and sustained pop. What exactly was the relationship other than a loose association between music and place?

The British pop explosion of the 1960s was associated with regional cities like Liverpool ('Merseybeat') and Birmingham ('Brumbeat'). But unlike the USA, where pop was produced and distributed in multiple urban centres - New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis etc. – in Britain the music business was concentrated in a single location, London, which from the mid-1960s became briefly the music centre of the world. Record companies, studios, musicians, publishers, agencies, PR and media outlets all crowded into a relatively small area of central London. To an extent not always recognised, the soundtrack to 'swinging London' and the British invasion' was produced from a confined area of London's West End.

This paper examines the geographical organisation of pop in 1960s London. It maps the distribution of record companies, studios and publishers and examines how they operated together as a cultural eco-system. What exactly was the relationship between music and place in London and in Britain more widely – how was pop spatially organised? What did the creativity and dynamism of British pop owe to the concentration of the music business in London and its physical proximity to other creative sectors such as fashion and media? Still more fundamentally, how does the urban spatial dimension help us explain the extraordinary explosion of pop culture in Britain from the late 1950s onwards?

M30 Beyond the Boundary: Women in Urbanism

Main chair: Garyfallia Katsavounidou, Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Urban Planning, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

1st Co-chair: Olga Touloumi, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Bard College, USA

Short abstract

This session invites papers on the many ways in which women have contributed and participated in the making of cities as users of the built environment, stewardesses of policy change, as activists, and as planners and theorists of urban space. The goal of this session is to foreground the many ways in which women have historically produced space and place.

Keywords: Feminisms; planning; activism; care; infrastructures; housework; degrowth; inclusive planning; non-sexist city


female planners and architects; feminist activism in the built environment; women in planning and public works departments; infrastructural care; women in urban histories

Session content

"The city is an organized memory, and in history women are the forgotten"
Hannah Arendt

The canon of city planning and urban history has often reproduced a gendered boundary in the production of the built environment, overlooking how the complex and unequal relations between men and women shape our cities (Falú 2017). Despite, however, their omittance from official history, women have always been active participants in the shaping of human settlements, not only in their role in historic social movements, such as Jane Addams or Jane Jacobs, but also in their everyday lives, as makers and caretakers of habitats. Feminist scholars and activists such as the Combahee River Collective (1977), Dolores Hayden (1979), and Matrix (1984) have analyzed and criticized the way in which gender and race produce cities, while pointing to the necessity of an intersectional feminist approach to the question of the city.

In this session we invite papers that rethink the history of the relationship between women and urbanism, as well as assess feminist planning discourse and practices. Gendered differences exist in the perception of safety, in urban mobility, in accessibility, in opportunities for socializing and enjoying urban open spaces. In the face of such inequalities, feminist design practices (such as muf) serve as agencies of social change and as examples of a different ethos of professional practice that addresses the question of the commons and reconnects housekeeping with public-making. The goal is to see how women practitioners and theorists addressed the gendered boundaries of cities and the limitations they produce often with their words and actions.

We are particularly interested in papers that examine the work of different feminist groups in urban practice and discourse; curricular interventions in the space of the university; activism in professional organizations; feminist discourse on degrowth, infrastructural care, and social reproduction of the built environment. Following the pioneering work of Helena Mattsson and Elke Krasny, our panel attempts to also survey how women, often populating service work within larger bureaucracies, used their positions to recalibrate the welfare state by intervening on the design of urban policy, legislative frameworks and buildings codes. Finally, we welcome social histories and microhistories of the built environment that foreground housekeeping, migration, and homesteading as city-making practices.


Martina Tanga: Nell'Ambiente: Italian Women Artists Reimagining 1970s Urban Space

The Italian feminist movement unfolded mainly on the stage of the country's streets and piazzas, and Italian female artists took their practice into the urban sphere to challenge their gendered subjectivity and confront the patriarchy of the built environment. The Italian feminist movement in the 1970s, directly and indirectly, influenced how female artists operated in this socially dynamic moment, and the shift from the domestic to the public sphere as a space of agency was self-consciously radical. Arte Ambientale—a practice of creating sit-specific urban interventions—offered a way for women artists to structure their work in the urban environment, actualizing their feminist agendas.

This paper will examine the work of several key figures working in 1970s Italy through an intersectional lens that encompasses feminism, Arte Ambientale, and urbanism. Specifically, feminist artist and curator Mirella Bentivoglio (1922–2017), who created two urban interventions Poesia all'Albero (Tree Poetry) and L'Ovo (Egg), on the occasion of the city-wide exhibition Gubbio '76. These artworks pushed her beyond her artistic vocabulary of Visual Poetry into the urban space in productive ways. Additionally, this paper will explore the work of Milvia Maglione (1934–2010), who was based between Milan and Paris, and Greek artist Chryssa Romanos (1931–2006), whose primary residence was in Paris but had many connections to Italy. They both participated in another urban exhibition, Arcevia, Comunita Esistenziale (Arcevia, Existential Community), 1973-1976, that sought to rethink the urban environment in light of the issues facing small provincial towns and cities in post-industrial Italy. Architects and artists came together to reimagine the city in this multi-year and multi-intersectional intervention. Maglione and Romanos not only address gender but also socio-political concerns. Together, these three artists practiced Arte Ambientale but have yet to be recognized for their contributions to both art historically and in the broader urban field.

Elke Krasny: Care and Conflicts: Urban Infrastructures, Welfare Maternalism, Feminist

Political, social, and cultural imaginaries have been oriented toward the state as the organizing force of welfare provision. Idealized expectations of motherhood and gendered relations based on the concept of maternalism emerging from the context of the modern women's movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries converged with statecraft, social policy, and the spatialization of welfare and the provision of care, in particular in relation to the biopolitical norms of women's health. Maternalism (Klein, Plant, Sanders, Weintrob 2012) is introduced as a critical term of analysis to understand the modern spatialization of welfare and how modern urban infrastructures spatialized the provision of care in the bodies of female people living on nation state territories. In the second half of the twentieth-century, feminist activism and feminist self-organization started to claim the rights of women to their bodies against and beyond state control produced through welfare and linked to heteronormativity of maternalism. Maternalism has effectively converged with state paternalism and resulted in the normalizing of care and the production of specific forms of welfare violence targeting women's bodies, in particular the bodies of classed and racialized women as well as women whose bodies do not correspond with normative expectations of bodies. The lecture will place urban infrastructures based on notions of maternalism in state welfare next to self-organized feminist infrastructures providing care, health care, refuge and shelter from sexual violence to elucidate the conflicts inherent in care. Maternalism and feminist self-organization present the analytical frameworks for examining conflicts in care in relation to the state and in relation to different feminisms. Self-definition of care and the sovereignty of bodies were guiding principles of urban infrastructures dedicated to care, health, refuge and shelter organized by women* for women*. Feminist spatial principles of organizing the provision of care will be examined in order to see how care is produced spatially and how welfare violence differs from self-organized care.

These care conflicts will be rendered legible through examples of urban infrastructures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the spatial dimensions of which show how the provision of care and welfare organized at the urban scale impacted on women's lives, their bodies and their minds.

Polina Prentou: Planning for all: A gendered perspective at the analysis of the Greek city

Over the last twenty years, there has been a growing global focus on gender equality, which is considered a significant step forward. The dominant discourse on gender, whether centered around the binary of male/female or extended to other gender identities, has triggered broader discussions and actions towards equality. However, despite these positive steps, it has not eradicated inequalities in areas such as employment, healthcare, leadership positions, housing, and unpaid labor. Conversely, urban spaces, designed predominantly through male-centered models, can still perpetuate inequalities.

In Greece, despite legal provisions for gender equality, there are many aspects of life where gender issues are marginalized, and discrimination and inequalities persist. Local governments have recently incorporated gender policies to align with international standards and seek funding, but challenges remain due to the lack of comprehensive gender-related data. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown have brought new considerations to urban space, infrastructure, mobility, services, and gender inequalities.

Within this context, the paper -based on a recent research report - explores feminist urban planning and the way it emphasizes the importance of gender-responsive urban design that caters to the needs, expectations, and desires of women and other subjectivities, acknowledging their contributions in shaping urban spaces and the obligation of the urban realm to include all its residences and users.

The paper aims to present a comprehensive view of the intersection between the city and gender, encompassing various scales, from governance and national policies to everyday life. It underscores the need for inclusive participation, considering diverse social groups, and collecting and processing gender-disaggregated data. By doing so, urban spaces can become sites of transformation, benefitting all individuals and fostering social change toward gender equality.

Maria Rose Francis: Nurturing the Urban Landscape: Women as Urban Guardians in Milwaukee's Midtown Neighborhood

This paper centers on the ethical dimension of care and its intersection with the roles of Ms. Betty Glosson and Ms. Talibah Mateen Hooper as urban guardians, alongside the dynamic activities of Professor Portia Cobb from UWM, within Milwaukee's Midtown neighborhood during the 90s. The study is anchored in the Midtown neighborhood as a vibrant and diverse urban landscape where women have assumed multiple roles as caregivers, community builders, and catalysts for transformative change. The Community Media Project (CMP), a significant initiative among their many contributions, serves as an illustrative example of their dedicated efforts.

The primary theme that underpins this investigation revolves around the concept of care and affect, with a particular focus on how women evolve into urban guardians. These women recognized the urgency of addressing the well-being and positive development of the community's youth, offering an alternative to the perils of drug addiction and risky after-school activities. By actively intervening in the lives of the younger generation, they embodied the ethos of care, emphasizing empathy, compassion, and nurturing as fundamental components of their approach to community development.

The notion of urban guardianship is intrinsically tied to their roles in shaping and nurturing the urban environment. It underscores the profound sense of responsibility they assumed for the welfare and prospects of the community's youth, grounded in a commitment to fostering growth and resilience. Through media production workshops, the creation of community-centric documentaries, and various other initiatives, they provided a platform for youth to express themselves, reconnect with their cultural heritage, and reimagine their place within the community.

This paper is rooted in the diverse and dynamic community of Milwaukee's Midtown neighborhood, demonstrating the transformative power of women's roles in reshaping the urban landscape. It highlights the pivotal role of empathy and commitment in promoting the well-being and empowerment of younger generations, thereby contributing to a broader discourse on inclusive, ethical, and gender-sensitive urban planning and practice.

Ines Leonor Nunes: Housing Type 14: Jane Drew breaking boundaries in Chandigarh's urban planning

After the Partition of India in 1947, Prime Minister Nehru envisioned the construction of a new capital for the State of Punjab. A hierarchical system of thirteen housing types was established to accommodate all grades of government staff. According to the future residents' salary, a rank ranged from Type 1 for dignitaries to Type 13 for peons. However, despite ambitioning a city "unfettered by the traditions of the past", the Chandigarh Project disregarded the lowest strata.

This paper builds on the work of the British architect Jane Drew, particularly on her initiative to design Type 14. This additional typology to house the lowest-paid employees or cleaners is one of her remarkable contributions to the urban planning of the new capital. With two rooms, a cooking verandah, and a backyard with a toilet, and a shower room, the 'cheap houses' were arranged in rows, around a central community space, forming 'villages'.

Integrated into my Ph.D. research, this paper is based on the consultation of Fry and Drew Papers, which hold Drew's unpublished autobiography, and in my fieldwork in Chandigarh. I will share material collected during my visit to some remaining original Type 14 houses, as the majority has been unrecognizably extended into multi-story apartment buildings. I will further contextualize them as part of Drew's socially engaged architecture, a crucial thread of her legacy.

Indeed, I argue that Drew leveraged her position as Chandigarh Senior Architect to recalibrate the urban policy, advocating for an equitable city and for social change through architecture. Designing for the 'poorest of the poor' was a way of urban activism, breaking boundaries in the ingrained caste prejudices omnipresent in Indian society. Furthermore, highlighting Drew's vital yet overlooked role in the planning of an inclusive Chandigarh illustrates that women have always actively shaped built environments. Moreover, it aims to participate in the untold history of women in urbanism.

Maria Silvia - D'Avolio: Reshaping Italian urban planning: women's transversal impact as citizens and practitioners (196X –

From the 1960s, concerns on urban development mainly driven by capitalist speculation were at the centre of Italian social, political and professional debate. These concerns about the state of discourse and practice of urban planning saw a growing involvement of women, both as professionals and engaged citizens, whose visions of a just urban development were shaped by a variety of motivations and needs, including their political conviction, their everyday experiences, and their involvement with feminist movements. We argue that their situated positionality as women, whether actively feminist or not, initiated and influenced innovative and inclusive urban planning practices, strategies, and tools. Data gathered from archival material and interviews we conducted with women who worked as architects or urban planners in Italian municipalities between the 60s and 90s, suggest that women have approached questions of planning and welfare by challenging capitalist-driven practices and developing more community-based approaches. These were aimed at questioning and improving current urban standards and policies: for example, strengthening the collaboration between local administrations and communities to detect the need for certain services, and compensate for the lack of institutional welfare actions by offering informal support.

The aim of this paper is to show the impact women had in developing specific practices and standards for planning and design through targeted initiatives, projects and campaigns undertaken between the 1960s and the 1990s. In fact, a plurality of actors (individual citizens and practitioners, local and national associations, feminist collectives, and political groups) contributed to the development of novel discourse and praxis about urban standards and plans grounded on citizen needs and welfare state, which eventually led to both bottom-up initiatives and legislation.

Maribel Rosselló – Marta Serra: Deficits and urban growth of the Barcelona metropolitan area in the seventies

In the 1970s, María José Olivé (1944-2017), an urban geographer and militant activist, published various articles comprehensively covering the serious situation of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, one of the centres on the outskirts of Barcelona that receives large migratory flows. She carried out a detailed analytical study of the city's deficits and shortcomings, uncovering reasons and those responsible, and quantifying needs and costs at a very significant political moment between the end of Franco's dictatorship (1939-1975) and the start of the democratic transition (1976-1982).

Her work offers a valid approach to other towns and cities in the Barcelona metropolitan area which, in the course of those years, underwent an identical transformation and became city periphery. Based on her writings and interviews, our article sets out to show the scope of her investigation and her diagnostic capacity of the dramatic problems of one of the cities in the metropolitan area at the end of Franco's regime. Olivé was directly involved in denouncing, as of 1972, the situation in Santa Coloma and, after the death of Franco (1975), took an active part in transformative initiatives such as writing Grama magazine (1976 to 1979) and drafting preparatory studies of what was to be the Popular Plan of 1978, a Plan only partially adopted by the democratic councils. Olivé did not champion the feminist currents of the seventies, but these currents did play a fundamental role in the neighbourhood movements in which she participated to find alternative proposals and draft the Plan. It was in the 1990s that Olivé came to feminist thinking and revisited her role at the time of the Plan.

Garyfallia Katsavounidou: Women activists for the environment: "Save the trees" movement in Thessaloniki, Greece

Ecofeminism, a meeting between feminism and ecology (Puleo 2015), is on the rise in the 21st century, as the unsustainability of the techno-economic development model is becoming increasingly clear. In face of the multiple manifestations of the ecological crisis, only capitalism's interests, public ignorance or an underlying adoption of a blind techno-enthusiast attitude can prevent us from seeing the "death of nature" (Merchant 1981). Women thinkers, such as Françoise d'Eaubonne (1974) and Mies and Shiva (1998), have pioneered a feminist approach to environmental issues, addressing them from the categories of patriarchy, androcentrism, care, sexism, and gender. Ecofeminism does not adopt an essentialist view; women's interest in caring for nature is not an automatic mechanism related to gender. Nonetheless, statistically, at an international level, women are the majority in the environmental movements. At the same time, behaviors and everyday habits of men and women differ substantially; disaggregated data about how they move about in the city, their preferences as consumers, their roles in the care of children and the elderly, show that between men and women there are significant differences in environmental footprints, both as individuals and as contributors to the collective footprint of an urban system. On the other hand, men and women are not impacted equally by the adversities of climate change; for example, the increased vulnerability of women during heat waves or the increased fatalities of female residents in areas hit by extreme weather disasters, as emphasized in UN conferences.

In this paper the focus is on women activists in Thessaloniki who have been participating in a series of struggles for environmental issues, with the most recent "Save the trees" campaign, a civil movement against the Municipality's decision to cut down thousands of trees in a city that already suffers from extreme heat, floods, and air pollution. On March 13, 2023, activists were arrested with the charge of "illegal violence," for sitting in for three days to obstruct the cutting of 41 healthy trees in a central square of the city; they are currently awaiting trial. The same activists have been organizing protests in the last months against the destruction of 82,000 square meters of peri-urban forest in order to make space for a new highway to be constructed. In the paper, the women participants in the movement are interviewed about their roles as women subjects in the movement and about their views on the issue of the feminism-environmentalism intersection.

M32 Cities and the Environment under Twentieth Century Authoritarian Regimes

Main chair: Viktor Pál, PhD, University of Ostrava

1st Co-chair: Inna Häkkinen, PhD, University of Helsinki

2nd Co-chair: Petr Popelka, Ph.D., University of Ostrava

Short abstract

This panel focuses on the environmental history of cities with particular focus on authoritarian regimes across the globe. The panel aims to incorporate papers analyzing the history of cities and the environment on both the political left and right starting from the Russian Revolutions until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Keywords: authoritarianism, environmental history, urban environment, 20th century, global history


History of the urban environment in authoritarian regimes across the globe in the 20th century

Session content

When historians of technology or the environment have investigated the environmental consequences of authoritarian regimes, they have frequently argued that authoritarian regimes have been unable to produce positive environmental results or adjust successfully to global structural change, if they have shown any concern for the environment at all. Put another way, the scholarly consensus holds that authoritarian regimes on both the left and the right generally have demonstrated an anti-environmentalist bias, and when opposed by environmentalist social movements, have succeeded in silencing those voices.

In contrast, this panel takes as its points of departure that authoritarian societies have developed environmentalist policies of their own, that environmentalism is a protean ideology, and that the sets of structures and priorities prevailing in the West represent only some of many possibilities.

The present panel aims to investigate the above described theory on the environmental history of cities with particular focus on authoritarian regimes across the globe. This panel aims to incorporate papers analyzing the history of cities and the environment on both the political left and right starting from the Russian Revolutions until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the panel's chronology is linked to the existence of the USSR, its focus is not confined solely to socialist cities, rather it aims to facilitate discussion between scholars working with rightwing and leftwing authoritarian regimes across the globe from Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Europe.


Takahito Mori: Organising Leisure from the Perspective of Social Hygiene: Development of Kosei Undo (Japanese Recreation Campaign) in "Greater East Asia" in the 1930/40s.

One of the significant phenomena in the urban history of the interwar period was the increasing attention to leisure as a subject of social policy. Various models of leisure organisation emerged around the world, and their development was influenced not only by the regime but by the urban environment.

In Japan, during the military regime, the Japan Recreation Association (JRA) introduced the Kosei Undo (Japanese Recreation Campaign) in April 1938, modelled on the Strength through Joy (KdF), subordinate organisation of the Nazi party. Kosei Undo was primarily developed in major cities across Japan and the Manchu Empire, a Japanese puppet state in the northeastern region of China. The KdF and JRA shared a common objective of enhancing human resources through "well-organized leisure" to establish the "New Order of the World", i.e., "New Order of Europe" and "Greater East Asia". However, the two organizations differed in their leisure programmes. The JRA emphasized social hygiene programmes, including campaigns against smoke and soot, as well as promoting greening and decontamination of the river. These campaigns were named as the "Programmes for Recovery from Fatigue", as they aimed to promote the reproduction of labour capacity by reforming the urban environment. The perspective of social hygiene was more emphasized in the Kosei Undo in Manchuria than in Japan. Although the KdF was identified with domestic and foreign tourism, it also paid attention to the perspective of social hygiene, typically represented in the "Beauty of Labour". Nevertheless, urban environment received little attention.

What made the programmes of the JRA different from those of the KdF? How did the Kosei Undo operate in reforming the urban environment in Japan and Manchuria? What historical contexts influenced the perspectives of social hygiene in the Kosei Undo in both countries in "Greater East Asia"? This paper examines these questions from the viewpoint of transnational urban history.

Marta Tomczok – Paweł Tomczok: River regimes of the Polish People's Republic – the case of industrial rivers

The Soviet sphere of influence, which from 1945 also covered Poland, colonized Polish heavy industry and, above all, hard coal mining. Increasing the extraction of raw material to the extent that it would satisfy the domestic and eastern markets led to a high level of environmental degradation in the 1950s, including rivers. Most Polish rivers flowing through Upper Slesia and Zaglebie Basin continued their fate as industrial rivers, which became the tributaries of the Oder, Biała, and Czarna Przemsza in the 19th century. However, in the middle of the 20th century, many of them were catastrophically polluted, which forced the authorities of some cities to decide to completely rebuild many of them. By analyzing the cases of industrial rivers in Upper Siesia and Zaglebie Basin, into which mines dumped their waters, we will show what the slow process of transforming small urban rivers into sewers and sewage in the People's Republic of Poland consisted of, what concepts were used to let rivers underground and concrete them, and what was the specific ontology of the industrial river - a river that people turned away from and stopped communicating with, blaming it for their environmental practices and imputing their shame. Examples will be provided by Rawa, Bierawka, Czerniawka Biała and Czarna Przemsza. We wil rely on press discourse, archival materials, urban photographs, and local literature.

Barry Jackisch: Various Shades of Green and Brown: Greenspace and Racial Ideology in Nazi Berlin, 1933-1945

This conference session offers an excellent opportunity to discuss key aspects of my current book manuscript, The Nature of Berlin: Green Space and Germany's Capital City, 1870-1990. At present, I am working on my third chapter related to Berlin under Nazi control between 1933 and 1945. My research very much supports the assertation in your session CFP that the Nazi regime was not "anti-environmentalist" as such. Instead, in studying the role of Berlin's greenspace in this era we see that Nazi propagandists and planners did, in fact, emphasize the importance of nature and its intentional incorporation into urban planning. However, this emphasis in the urban setting was nearly always coupled with the goal of enhancing the racial health of Berlin's residents. Therefore, my essay will consider the many ways that the Nazis linked urban greenspace with their overarching ideology of Aryan racial supremacy. This approach had very real consequences for those groups that no longer fit into the Volksgemeinschaft. From parks, to sport fields, to urban forests, and even allotment garden associations, the Hitler regime denied Jews access to Berlin's substantial natural spaces. Thus, the Nazis simultaneously stressed their commitment to "green" advances in urban planning while at the same time aligning those goals with terrible acts of exclusion and persecution (indeed, Albert Speer's "Office of the General Building Inspector" for Berlin devoted an entire department to greenspace issues). I have already done extensive archival research on this topic and would be very interested to share and compare the results of my research with other scholars working more broadly on greenspace and other authoritarian regimes in the twentieth century. Thank you for considering my proposal and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jiří Janáč: The Prague Ring 1970s-1990s. Continuities of technocratic environmentalism between authoritarian state socialism and liberal democracy in urban context

The paper will focus on the environemntal debates in the context of urban transport planning in state-socialist Czechoslovakia between 1970s and 1990s. Transport planning represents one of the key agendas of the technocratic approach to cultivating and shaping the city. Changing demands for the mobility of population in relation to the construction of housing estates, new technologies (metro and mass automobilization) and the central position of the city in the emerging highway network resulted in the formulation of the Basic Communication System of the Capital City of Prague in the early 1970s. A trio of concentric traffic circuits, supplemented with radial roads and park and ride facilities were to become the main pillar of the gradually implemented road system. This was therefore basically a local application of the Automotive City, developed in the West a decade or two earlier (GUNN 2013). Thus, in the sense of John Urry's thesis (URRY 2006), this opened the way to a broader transformation of Prague society toward the development of automobility as one of the defining signs of modernity. However, from its inception, the plan and its implementation were confronted with the demands for ecological sustainability of a socialist urban society. While the principles of socialist technocratic environmentalism precluded public participation in these discussions, civic opposition to the project also emerged in the late 1980s. Although the original plan was somewhat scaled down after the régime change in 1989 as a result of "postmodernist" criticism of automobility from the perspective of environmental protection as well as neoliberal deregulation, one can observe clear lines of continuity. Using the lens of environmentalism, the paper will focus in particular on such continuities in public and expert discussions surrounding the development of the Prague ring road - both in terms of content, actors and visions.

Bogdan Andrei Fezi: Transforming the river Dâmbovi?a. The missed opportunity of the Romanian communist regime and present opportunities

The historical urban goals for Bucharest concerned urban sprawl, density, order, transportation, water and green areas.

The largest urban operation undertaken by the Bucharest administration in the 19th century were the works related to the Dâmbovi?a river (1878-1883): the lowering of the riverbed by 6 m, the total modification of the path, creating a 7 kilometre long circulation artery and the urban remodelling of the surroundings. The works were not fully completed until 1901 and it took up four times the city's annual budget of 1880. The international recognition came in in 1939, when Bucharest received the Gold Medal at the Liege International Exhibition of Water techniques.

The 1975 floods pushed to the new organisation of the river. The problems were enhanced by the reduction of green spaces and the modification of the underground water drainage following the construction of the metro. Despite proposals for the creation of green areas, lakes, parks and pedestrian zones, the solution built between 1985-1988 by the totalitarian regime led to concrete banks, no pedestrian areas and the disappearing of the green surfaces.

Faced to the nowadays problems, in 2023, the city of Bucharest and the government started a project for the regeneration of the river Dâmbovi?a. It involves the capacity of urban areas to adapt to climate change, increasing water quality, the development of public spaces, developing economic activities, strengthening relations between urban actors and public authorities, reducing flood risks, coherent and unitary development of the city, reconnecting people with the natural environment, as well as reactivating "dead" areas in the city.

The contribution panel aims to investigate the implication of authoritarian regimes on urban planning with a focus on environment and social implications. It will approach issues as urban planning, construction/destruction, water and the city, air quality, transportation, leisure and green areas.

Stefan Kubin – Angelika Psenner: Siegfried Sitte's design for Zell am See – a search for traces

In the mid-1920s Austrian architect Siegfried Sitte – son of the well-known Camillo Sitte – designed a development plan for the Salzburg municipality of Zell am See. As one of the most significant Alpine tourism hubs under the First Republic, Zell am See was able to maintain its upswing throughout the politically and economically difficult interwar period.

In a first profound scientific examination it was possible to explore the planning process and determine how Siegfried applied essential planning principles of his famous father Camillo. In less than a year, this development plan was created using in-depth understanding of the local environment and conditions. It considers the topography, the historical buildings and the ownership structure.

Siegfried Sitte developed a forward-looking plan that aimed to guide the future development of the tourist resort in an orderly manner. He designed a clear hierarchy for the development in relation to the scenic appearance of Zell am See. The main goals of the planning were to upgrade the historically grown town-core, create a distinctive town silhouette facing Lake Zell and reorganise traffic along the trade route that runs north-south. As a new urban gateway to the city special attention was paid to the representative design of the square in front of the railway station.

However, today's urban landscape of Zell am See reveals clear differences from Siegfried Sitte's planning.

This article presents the features that have been adopted in Zell am See's development structure, as part of a second phase of the inquiry into the urban growth of the Salzburg municipality. It focuses on the parallels and discrepancies between Sitte's development plan and the current situation.

Although Siegfried Sitte's urban planning ideas were closely related to those of his father, Camillo Sitte, they were hardly ever put into practice, according to a prior assessment of his works. As a result, the article aims to address the following queries regarding Zell am See's urban history:
What aspects of the development plan were really implemented, why were there variations from the original plan, how important is Sitte's design for the municipality, and how viable was his idea for the Salzburg community overall?

Piotr Kisiel: The Green Veil of Stalinism: Parks and Greeneries in Poland and East Germany (1949-56)

This paper investigates the role of parks and other green spaces within the framework of Stalinist urban planning in Poland and East Germany. The post-war reconstruction presented a unique opportunity to transform the "capitalist cities" into "socialist" ones. As this paper argues the presence of vegetation performed a significant and frequently overlooked role in this process.

The garden-city model and pre-war modernism were formally dismissed in the context of distinguishing between communist city planning and western urbanism, as articulated, among others, by Edmund Collein in East Germany (1950) and Edmund Goldzamt in Poland (1949). However, as pointed out by scholars the fundamental beliefs about the ways to overcome the urban ills were not that different on both sides of the Iron Curtain. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in the existing body of scholarly work. Much less attention has been given to the practical manifestations of this phenomenon in the provincial towns and cities of East Germany and Poland during the post-war reconstruction.

This study examines the integration of natural landscapes in the post-war planning, with a particular focus on the utilisation of bodies of water and green spaces in these endeavours. The paper inquiries the extent of changes in this regard to the cityscapes, when compared to the interwar period.

The paper relies on the analysis of planning materials from East Germany and Poland, including cartographic materials and accompanying written documentation. It also includes a close examination of architectural publications on the topic. By shifting the focus to more peripheral cities, a more comprehensive understanding of socialist urban planning during the Stalinist era can be achieved, moving away from the well-documented capital cities.

By doing a comparative analysis of the case studies from Poland and East Germany, it becomes possible to discern both commonalities and disparities in the execution of Stalinist urban planning in the Eastern Block. This study investigates whether there exists a substantial disparity between the two respective republics.

Tatiana Perga: From decentralization to centralization: early Soviet waste regime. Ukrainian context

In this report, we intend to elucidate the principal characteristics of the early Soviet waste regime, with its chronological boundaries encompassing the First and Second World Wars. Our objective is to challenge the prevalent notion that waste collection and management in the USSR only began to evolve during the Cold War period. Instead, we aim to demonstrate that from the inception of the Soviet Union, extensive efforts were undertaken to collect various types of waste. We posit that it was during the 1920s and 1930s that the ideology and model of waste collection for secondary use were formulated in the USSR. Subsequently, it was improved after the Second World War, and some elements were adopted by socialist bloc countries.

Within this presentation, we will illustrate the distinctive nature of these waste management endeavors during the era of the New Economic Policy and industrialization in the Ukrainian SSR. We will showcase the attempts made by the Ukrainian People's Commissariat of Light Industry to resist the stringent centralization of waste collection and to advocate for the presence of the Ukrainian company "Ukrutil" in the Republican market. As a result, the All-Union entity "Soyuzutil," established in 1932, was officially sanctioned as the sole waste procurer in Ukraine only in 1936.

Through this assertion, we aim to challenge the stereotypical view held by Western academia regarding the uniformity and homogeneity of waste management policies across all Soviet republics. We seek to present a perspective for researching the Soviet legacy "from the bottom up," which will unveil the diversity of Soviet experiences in this domain.

Michaela Závodná – Viktor Pál: An Environmental History of Public Transport in Socialist Czechoslovakia and Hungary

Despite the socialist ideology of collective consumption, cars flooded the streets of major East-Central and Southeast European cities. In the 1980s, East-Central European states faced significant challenges due to individual car traffic, leading to a surge in urban pollution. In the GDR and Czechoslovakia, two of the most motorized communist states, 1.04 million and 650,000 privately owned cars were on the roads by the end of the 1960s. This led to the emergence of urban pollution as one of the most important environmental issues of the collapsing state-socialist regimes.

A number of historians argue that consumption and transit patterns in Eastern Europe followed Western examples, but some scholars have acknowledged that Eastern European consumption culture and transportation modes were different from the West. Thus the question arises that how car use and public transportation was developed in communist bloc? Additionally, it remains unclear how socialist motorization and public transport developed differently or similarly to their Western counterparts.

This paper aims to uncover gaps in current scientific knowledge, particularly by focusing on the role of scientists, planners, institutions, and other driving forces behind urban transit and public transport planning in socialist Czechoslovakia and Hungary. It also aims to tackle the environmental aspects of the urban planning process during the state-socialist period, contributing to the ongoing debate about socialist consumption, mobility, and environmental aspects of socialist societies.

Adelina Stefan: City Tours and International Tourism in Socialist Romania: Promoting Tourism Through Nature

his paper examines how socialist Romania promoted itself as a tourist destination abroad by using both the tropes of modernization and nature. Guidebooks and tourist brochures suggested certain itineraries in cities and, thus, built a certain imaginary for foreign tourists. The proposed trips wanted to present Romania as a space where rich> history/culture and modern tourist infrastructure (hotels and restaurants) blend with spotless natural landscapes. The paper will focus on how a large city such as Bucharest was presented in tourist advertising as compared to smaller cities like Brasov and Timisoara, as well as several so-called industrial cities (i.e. Galati) as it wants to investigate how tourist objectives were prioritized in the communist rhetoric.

M33 Reinventing the urban past, c. 1750–2000

Main chair: Dr Michael Sewell, Manchester Metropolitan University

1st Co-chair: Professor Roey Sweet, University of Leicester

Short abstract

This panel will investigate similarities and differences in how the past has been used in the 'reinvention' of urban identity in the modern era. It seeks to identify what characterises the 'useable past' and what resources (textual, physical and imaginative) have been used in urban development across time and space.

Keywords: useable past, reinvention, identity, place, pride, urban, branding, tourism


pride of place, town reinvention, urban identity, useable pasts, place branding, place leadership

Session content

In 2015 a series of road signs were erected on twelve 'key gateways' to Leicester, greeting all incoming traffic with the message 'Welcome to Leicester Historic City'. The marketing manager responsible for the signs expressed the hope that they would 'evoke feelings of nostalgia and a strong sense of place'. This formed part of a wider initiative led by the City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, to 'raise awareness of Leicester's rich heritage' and make people feel proud of the city in which they live and work' (Leicester Mercury, 9 Oct. 2015). The desire of marketing managers, planners, and cultural organizations such as Historic England, to use the past to reinvent a sense of place is one that is deeply imbricated in late twentieth and twenty-first-century policy and transcends geographical boundaries. But it also has roots in the past. Deliberate attempts to evoke nostalgia, celebrate tradition and create a sense of place predicated upon the past can be dated back to the eighteenth century. This panel will take a historical perspective upon how the past has been used as a tool of 'reinvention', in place branding and in the promotion of local identities in response to the challenges and opportunities of urbanization, industrialization, post-war reconstruction, de-industrialization, rise of the leisure economy and mass tourism.

This panel invites case studies of towns and cities from across the world to investigate similarities and differences in how the past has been used in the 'reinvention' of urban identity in the modern era. It seeks to identify what characterises the 'useable past' and what resources (charters, coats of arms, the physical environment, folklore, and legend) were used in urban development across time and space. We will explore themes of top-down paternalism in urban governance but will also ask how local communities have interacted with and have used heritage and the past to shape local identity. We encourage interdisciplinary perspectives from art history, geography, literature, architecture, and tourism alongside history to analyse the ways in which urban authorities, planners, stakeholders, and residents have engaged with the past, historically and in the present, and how different strategies have impacted local identity.

We invite submissions addressing one or more of the following questions

  • What pasts were considered useable in the process of reinventing a town, and how have these changed over time?
  • In what forms has the past been used in the construction of local urban identities?
  • How have efforts to exploit the past in the 'reinvention' of urban identities affected the urban landscape/influenced town planning decisions?
  • Which actors have been the key drivers of town reinvention and why?
  • How has the past been used historically and in the present in place marketing?
  • What is the future of the past in contemporary town planning?


Nikos Potamianos: Carnival parades in interwar Athens: nostalgia for old Athens, creation of a tourist product, local identities

In this paper we intend to examine a particular form of usage of the past for the construction of an urban identity and place marketing: the celebration of carnival in Athens in the 1930s.

Nostalgia for Belle Epoque was widespread in European countries during the interwar period, as the acceleration of social change created feelings of loss; the residents of Athens had experienced cataclysmic changes as well. Newspapers and magazines were full of memories and pieces about pre-war Athens that created an idyllic image and identified a specifically local culture that contributed to the construction of a local identity. A favourite topic of chronicles of this kind were the carnivals of (not too) Old Athens, as moments of joy and happiness and as festivities of a particularly Athenian colour -moments that were gone: the decline of the (vibrant in the 19th c.) street carnival of Athens began in the 1910s and culminated in the 1920s.

In 1930, ten years after the last parade (which was met with failure), the Municipality of Athens, the newly-founded National Organization of Tourism and a committee of residents of the Plaka neighbourhood organized the "festivities of Old Athens" during the carnival. The festivities included a parade with many bygone urban spectacles and old-style masquerades which the organizers stated explicitly they wanted to "revive", and took place in the neighbourhoods under Acropolis (Plaka and Psyrri). These old neighbourhoods of Athens were previously thought of as connected with its Ottoman past -that is, an inglorious past of enslavement of the Greek nation (as well as poverty) which was treated in a negative way. In the 1920s this began to change, and Old Athens was increasingly associated with a tradition positively valued and with a life more pure and happy.

The "festivities of Old Athens" were not a spontaneous celebration but a top-down initiative with the aim to offer spectacles both to Athenians and visitors of the city. That one of the aims of the festival was to create a tourist product is evident from the presence of the National Organization of Tourism. The idealized popular carnival culture (which, in its time, was rejected by the elites as vulgar) was associated with "Old Athens" and valued as indispensible part of the past of the city, while the festivities included dressing with traditional clothes and a competition for the best old-style decoration of courtyards.

At the same time, place marketing from the top-down via this codification of an image of Old Athens interacted with the traditions and beliefs of the community of Plaka residents and people descending from the older families of Athens. There was an earlier movement from the 1890s onwards to highlight and valorize the history of "Turkish-occupied" Athens, while in the 1920s the Plaka's bohemian artist Nikos Velmos organised an exhibition of drawings of old houses of the neighbourhood.

Jakub Frejtag: Identity Reinvented: Empire, Society and the Transformations of Urban Space in the Russian-dependent Kingdom of Poland.

The policy of continuous colonisation of neighbouring territories, the consolidation of a long-lasting imperial idea, and finally, the development of Russian nationalism could all be perceived as factors that most strongly determined the rhythm of the pre-revolutionary history of Russia. Although deeply rooted in the past, all these processes culminated during the late imperial period; it was then that hundreds of edifices representing the official state architecture, which reflected various forms of native-Russian revival, were erected in numerous cities and towns across the Romanov domain.

While this kind of architecture within the historically Orthodox territories could be recognised as a well-established element of their cultural landscape, the non-Russian provinces' conditions at the Empire's boundaries have made such aesthetics considered strongly allochthonous. Indeed, it constituted the most visible manifestation of the oppressive Russian imperial culture, the intensification of which provoked urban communities on the frontiers of the Empire to initiate a specific architectural reaction that by reinventing local traditions fundamentally influenced the spatial and aesthetic shape of certain cities and towns and – eventually – most of the Empire's borderlands.

In the proposed paper, all the processes mentioned will be exemplified primarily by the case of the Russian-dependent Kingdom of Poland, one of the most prosperous parts and Western frontier of the Empire, whose uniqueness was historically grounded on the cultural, social, and political separateness from its autocratic metropolis. In the late Kingdom, primarily in its capital but also in other cities and towns, all these differences led to the development of means of architectural and spatial defence against the overtly offensive transformations of its original cultural landscape, widely implemented by the Russian administration.

Sally Hartshorne: Selling a City of History and Progress

Leicester is a city which has developed since Roman times and its urban environment contains elements evidencing that continuous development. However, Leicester Civic Society's website states that 'until recently little thought was given to Leicester's promotion as an attraction for the tourist and traveller'. As evidenced by the road signs welcoming people since 2015, it is true that the discovery of the remains of Richard III prompted significant investment of resources in developing the heritage offer of the city with a view to increasing tourism numbers and the associated economic benefits that will bring. However, as early as 1933 Leicester City Council recognised the importance of publicity and established a Publicity and Development Committee whose duties and powers included publishing 'information concerning the City, its industries and amenities'. The phrase 'Leicester: City of History and Progress' was first used to promote the city in the 1930s and remained in use into the 1970s to promote a modern city that was also proud to celebrate its past.

Using promotional material produced by the City Council from the 1930s to the 1980s this paper will examine the way in which the history and heritage of Leicester has been used to brand and promote the city to residents, tourists and businesses. In that 50-year period those planning the city and those promoting it faced the challenges brought by prosperity, post war planning, immigration, de-industrialisation, the impact of out of town shopping and the growth of the leisure economy. In doing so they had to balance the needs of the progress of modern living with the protection and promotion of Leicester's past. The paper will consider which aspects of Leicester's rich heritage were promoted to different audience groups during those changing decades.

Aleksander Łupienko: Reinventing the City's Past: Habsburg Lviv and its Memory Cultures before 1918

In my scholarship I intensively use the categories of cultural history, and among them the category of memory. The use of memory as a tool in creating a social consensus of what space can mean may be traced back to the early antiquity. The capital of Habsburg crown land of Galicia (1772-1918) is a good case to study in this respect, with its rich history as an important town (a bulwark against external military threats) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and an imperial Habsburg hub after 1772, later to become a real «Piedmont» of the Ukrainians and Poles. The multi-cultural face of Lviv is well researched but little attention has been paid to the memory cultures built in the city by different actors. I employ the category of memory culture by Ch. Cornelißen and argue that it should be pluralized, as each community (Poles and Ukrainians, within which the generational divisions were visible as well) tried and in my view established its own. These cultures confronted the state-backed imperial memory culture focused on the civilizational mission and dynastic memory. On the examples taken from the history of the urban space of Lviv – including commemorations, erecting public monuments, actions taken by the Galician and municipal conservationsists – and the discourse produced on these ocasions – I will show how different social actors managed to secure a coherent and continuous narration about the past, at the turn of the twentieth century. This past was sewed together from selected historic threads, clarified by means of simplification and devoid of rivalling views. The idea of the presentation is not to show the narrations of the urban past(s) as a construction – which they obviously were – but to understand them as a crucial social tool that provided community ties and moreover endowed their members with a sense of historic agency, the key asset in the tumultous twentieth century.

Birgit Knauer: Rebuilding the City of Vienna after the Second World War: Symbols of the Past and the preservation of the "Viennese" Cityscape

After the end of the Second World War, the city of Vienna - like many other cities - suffered extensive destruction in the area of the historic city centre. The restoration of the buildings that could be rebuilt was negotiated in the course of reconstruction planning. The initial situation for reconstruction in Vienna was quite special: In the second half of the 19th century, a rapid transformation of the city's structure and building fabric had taken place, mainly for traffic reasons. Especially with the Ringstrasse around the city centre, cityscape-defining structures had been created. The subsequently changing political systems, "Red Vienna", the years of fascism and National Socialism, had also found expression in urban planning decisions and in the practice of urban preservation. After the end of the war, this partly "burdened" past had to be reacted to in terms of urban planning and architecture.This lecture explores the question of what criteria and in what way architectural testimonies of the past were integrated into the rebuilt old town areas of the city of Vienna. What discourse took place, which heritage was considered valuable? For many experts the preservation of the urban structure was seen as a means of "maintaining the character of the old town" but also the value of 19th century buildings was discussed for the first time. Statements by the Federal Monuments Authority, architects and urban planners as well as the city administration serve as sources to analyse different concepts of dealing with the partially destroyed fabric and the surviving heritage. A look is also taken at different visual media, plans, drawings, photographs and collages, which were used to illustrate these concepts. By analising one of the oldest areas of the historic city centre, Ruprechtsplatz, this presentation shows which interventions were implemented in the course of this process. It is the appearance chosen at that time that shapes the city skyline to the present day.

Marina de Castro Teixeira Maia: Unveiling Authorized Heritage Discourses in urban development: a historical account of Fortaleza, Brazil

Operations of heritage preservation function in a manner akin to the writing of History, that is, under the value-led and political mechanism of selecting places and narratives to be remembered while overshadowing myriad other possibilities. Following a path-dependency dynamic, places and symbols are therein preserved, recorded, and celebrated, while others are destroyed, forgotten, and/or replaced. As for urban development, the control over these selections moulds space production and dictates how various actors interact with it. The Authorized Heritage Discourses (AHD), as Smith (2005) termed the representational constructs of such heritage processes, are the tools with which dominant classes leverage the past and make pivotal choices concretizing dynamics that need to be historically and axiologically clarified if a democratic construction of the city is ever to be desired. In Fortaleza, from the second quarter of the 20th century, writer José de Alencar's life and oeuvre became instrumental for dominant forces to reinvent social symbols through toponymic alterations and urban art. These events coincided with the city's modernization and metamorphosis from an incipient urban settlement of a mostly impoverished population into a node in Brazil's rising peripheral capitalism. In the wake of this process, I shall argue, that AHD worked to shape the spatial configuration of the city's southeast region, and particularly of the Alagadiço Novo (AN) neighbourhood, Alencar's birthplace. By employing historical analysis and reviewing of local media and policy documents, this inquiry clarifies how such uses of the past concurred to shape policies and decisions regarding urban space and identity. The findings from Fortaleza and the AN portray a reflective lens for planners and policymakers as they offer insights into how leveraging historical narratives and heritage-making can be for defining the urban space and our readings of it.

Arida Yasmin: Shaping a Historic Urban Centre through Images of the Past: The Use of the Railway Heritage in the Old Town of Jakarta

Railways played a major role in the modernization of the colonial cities in the Dutch East Indies, present-day Indonesia. The Old Town (Kota Tua) of Jakarta - used to be referred to as Old Batavia - was part of the centre of the colonial authorities, making it the core of modern development reflected the adaptation of the European Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rail infrastructure, introduced in Batavia in the 1860s, not only changed the face of the city but also became a powerful tool for the colonial empire as it offered a cheaper, faster, and more reliable form of transportation. The railway heritage embedded in the urban landscape still exists and remains profoundly present today. Recently, the design for the new MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station was published as the line will finally reach this historic core in 2028. This development will take place in front of the Jakarta Kota railway station which was inscribed as one of the national monuments in 1993. As the new design attempts to embody the characteristics of its predecessor, it evokes the memory of the past as the railway heritage is once again being used to reinvent the urban identity. This study argues that the railway is an influential driver of change when evidently, in the course of the past few decades, the historic centre of Jakarta has become an object for urban conservation, whether to protect the cultural values or to accommodate mass tourism - it consequently makes the city constantly changed and reinvented itself. While both railway history and urban history in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia have been widely addressed, the relationship between the railway and the city is still less discussed. This paper analyses the images of the past represented in the management of the historic urban centre in Old Town Jakarta over centuries and the motivation of the stakeholders specifically related to the use of the railway heritage in urban development. Ultimately, it contributes to the discussion on the impact of the use of the past on the creation of identity and sense of place.

M34 Crossing boundaries through (digital) narratives

Main chair: Dr. Marie-Paule Jungblut (L) Maître de Conférences, University of Luxembourg Institute of History

1st Co-chair: Dr. Rosa Tamborrino (IT) Professor, Politecnico di Torino Department of Architecture and Design

Short abstract

In our session we would like to explore best practice examples of urban heritage projects that challenge the formal perspective at city heritage by offering a multiperspective view crosscutting physical and/or cultural (current or past) boundaries of the urban history. We would like to open the discussion about what can be considered as urban heritage.

Keywords: Bottom-up urban heritage, critical storytelling, contemporary perspectives to the past, social change, empowerment


collaborative heritagization; urban heritage building; unveiling local heritage; socio-spatially dynamic neighborhoods

Session content

In many places today, academic historians still exercise the prerogative of defining the meaning of heritage evidence. Heritage has been acknowledged as an inclusive tangible and intangible understanding including artifacts and buildings as well as personal accounts and collective know-how and complex huge-scale cultural natural regions with their layers throughout time. Most often, the formal national historical narratives do not open the door to telling the whole story of a historic area or an artifact. Very often, they are limited to one particular perspective and rarely offer a critical thinking at diverse perspectives about the past and its perception in the present of the city and citizens.

However, digital society has fostered the creation of new and diverse narratives beyond national/cultural frontiers, also producing new formats for virtual spaces for exhibitions. Moreover, the Anglophone "community movement" has moved museums, libraries, archives, universities and other institutions in the direction of involving their communities. On one side, the "community movement" approach emphasizes the role of these institutions in service to society. On the other side, there is an increasing interest in local values. Today we see more and more community driven projects which are not necessarily linked to formal institutions where historic cities continue to play a role model. Their goal is to challenge perspectives and even evoke social change by fostering urban heritage.

In our session we would like to explore best practice examples of urban heritage projects that challenge the formal perspective at city heritage by offering a multiperspective view crosscutting physical and/or cultural boundaries of the past. We would like to open the discussion about what can be considered as urban heritage.


Fabrizio Nevola: Public Renaissance

We increasingly order the world around us in geo-spatial terms, empowered by mobile devices and geo-location, toggling between 2D maps to 3D street views. The potential of these same technologies for historical research on cities is only starting to be realized. At the same time Augmented Reality (AR) invites a new approach to the 'museum without walls', reuniting cultural heritage - cities, buildings, artworks - across time and space. Drawing from the example of the HistoryCity apps (formerly Hidden Cities, see developer over the past ten years, this paper considers how digital art history methods are creating new research opportunities, while at the same opening up new ways to engage the wider public. Spatially-determined research questions encourage us to think about how meaning is constructed from the triad of spaces-objects-people, while spatial technologies allow us to shape innovative responses to those questions, ranging from interactive map interfaces to locative interpretation delivered on handheld devices. Meanwhile storytelling strategies allow us to conside multiple perspectives, challenging the canon, and introducing new voices into how we interpet the past. In so doing we're discovering new things about the material culture of public space in the Renaissance, but also making that research directly available to the public.

Tom Becker: Co-creative heritagisation and digital representation to overcome formal socio-spatial boundaries in Luxembourg City (togehter with Catherine Jones)

Luxembourg City's fortified walls, steeped in history, as well as its characteristic old town, are considered, both internally and externally, as evidence of a valuable cultural heritage. However, such common representations of Luxembourg City are conceived most conventionally in terms of the way they are approached, elaborated, presented and mediated. They are, for the most part, grounded on a conceptually and spatially rigid and limiting concept of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – a concept firmly embedded in the past, spatially focused on core historic urban areas, addressing a limited audience and lacking a clear engagement with contemporary local history. This phenomenon is manifest in cities like Luxembourg, which, in recent decades, have been subject to highly dynamic socio-economic and spatial transformations. Against this backdrop, this paper proposes the need for the greater recognition and stronger inclusion of all the interconnected spatial and temporal contextual layers and structures when developing and mediating the representation of a city or a neighbourhood where local cultural heritage assets of different form and nature and intertwine.

The empirical findings to support our argument stem from an interdisciplinary (i.e. Public History / Urban and Digital Geography) project with second-year Bachelor History students designed (i) to give a contemporary dimension to the concept of local cultural heritage and (ii) to develop a collective narrative to share this bottom-up, informal local cultural heritage with a broad audience of newly arrived residents in Luxembourg City. Applying a co-creative, analytical autoethnographic method, our study emphasised (i) the need for socio-spatially just and inclusive representations of small popular heritage in new cosmopolitan urban areas, and (ii) the potential of social media and digital platforms, like our tour, for an effective mediation of collectively and meaningfully produced local cultural heritage.

Salvia Palate: "Heritage Emotion" or User-Generated Heritage? Introducing USHer as a Methodological Experiment on the Divided Island of Cyprus

This paper introduces methodological experiment devised trough an interdisciplinary encounter among critical heritages studies, architecture a social media ethnography, which aims explore the potentiality of cultural heritage on currently divided island Cyprus.

Ivaylo Nachev: 3D Reconstruction of the Demolished Targovska Street in the Bulgarian Capital City of Sofia – Opportunities and Challenges

The paper will elaborate on an ongoing project for 3D modelling of the Targovska Stre?t in the Bulgarian capital city as a way to present urban heritage through new digital technologies. Being demolished during the total reshaping of the city centre during the early socialist period, Targovska Street (roughly translated as Commerce Street), one of the principal arteries in Sofia that led from a main historical square to the Palace in the period until the Second World War, has become a symbol of an entire epoch and also of prolonged endeavours for urban modernization. The interest to Targovska's history increases by the fact that the entire surrounding central urban area has been demolished while the memory of the street was preserved only in few scattered documents. By creating an interdisciplinary team of historians, architects and information technology specialists, the presented project aims to explore and present to the wider public this important heritage through a 3D model. Among the objectives of the work are finding, collecting and cataloging original documentary materials from different types of sources, a data set that could overcome various limitations of the individual types of sources. Thus, a main goal is the creation of a 3D architectural model which is be based on authentic and systematized documentary materials including both textual and visual documents which besides photograph include architectural plans, drawings and others. As a final result, it is planned to be presented a 3D model in a virtual interactive environment of Targovska Street in its appearance in the 1930s. Placing a particular focus on the case of Targovska Street, the paper will elaborate on approaches to present urban heritage in out digital epoch with applicability in various other contexts. Sofia Darbesio: Unveiling and overcoming cultural-spatial boundaries with digital narratives in multiple historical segments: Piazza Municipio in Naples

Piazza Municipio is a crucial node in the city of Naples, whose urban heritage has been layered throughout time by the succession of many different cultures and social changes, being the physical and cultural connection between the historic city and the regional area comprising both mainland and islands. In recent decades, the area has undergone a structural development through the construction of the Municipio Station of the Naples subway system, with a new conceptualization of the space designed by internationally renowned architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura. This large-scale architectural project, as well as establishing a contemporary dialogue with the history of the city, has created a sort of perceptive boundary between the ground-floor square and the new underground levels of the station, both functional to the transportation flows and the narration of the city's history through the exhibition of archaeological remains found during the excavations.

The paper will present an ongoing PhD research project whose aim is to enable a deeper understanding of the historical, cultural and spatial dimensions of the urban heritage's transformation. Analysing this complex framework within a digital history approach, the project will deal with the development of new digital formats for achieving critical storytelling to communicate the history of the site in transition, trying to go beyond the inherited traditional perspective. The design of the digital narratives will also focus on targeting citizens and the local community to promote new awareness of the place and to overcome physical and cultural boundaries in understanding the historical and current identity of this urban heritage.

Xavier de la Selle: Four ways to tell the story of a city : the new narrative of Lyon city museum

The Lyon city museum is 100 years old. Originaly, the first mission given to the museum was to extract from the past the most powerful and useful characteristics in order to highlight what was significant of the greatness of the city. 80 years later, the new director carried out a big project of complete renovation of the museum.The principal museological idea was based on reading the city through the images, in order to propose to the audience a museum compared to a mirror. The new museum was opened to the public in 2009, but the permanent exhibition was very classical, totally « collections-oriented » and not significant enough to understand the contemporary city.

From 2015 on, the museum wanted to renew the museography, more « public-oriented » and started to think about a new permanent exhibition, with several goals : a new and more modern narrative of the city, a scenography more interactive which can allow public to project themselves in the city history and make a link with their own history.

The museum decided to adopt a thematic plan, with four topics, trying to avoid two pitfalls : academic themes or too simple themes, which could essentialize the identity of the city. The presentation will show how the thematic approach of the city propose several different narratives, as four ways to tell the story, or four prisms through which on can read or look at the city.

It will be also interesting to present the methodology used by the museum and the difficulties it has to face : taking into account the diversity of narratives, making an exhibition which is neither impartial nor consensual.

Sofia Darbesio: Unveiling and overcoming cultural-spatial boundaries with digital narratives in multiple historical segments: Piazza Municipio in Naples

Piazza Municipio is a crucial node in the city of Naples, whose urban heritage has been layered throughout time by the succession of many different cultures and social changes, being the physical and cultural connection between the historic city and the regional area comprising both mainland and islands. In recent decades, the area has undergone a structural development through the construction of the Municipio Station of the Naples subway system, with a new conceptualization of the space designed by internationally renowned architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura. This large-scale architectural project, as well as establishing a contemporary dialogue with the history of the city, has created a sort of perceptive boundary between the ground-floor square and the new underground levels of the station, both functional to the transportation flows and the narration of the city's history through the exhibition of archaeological remains found during the excavations.

The paper will present an ongoing PhD research project whose aim is to enable a deeper understanding of the historical, cultural and spatial dimensions of the urban heritage's transformation. Analysing this complex framework within a digital history approach, the project will deal with the development of new digital formats for achieving critical storytelling to communicate the history of the site in transition, trying to go beyond the inherited traditional perspective.

The design of the digital narratives will also focus on targeting citizens and the local community to promote new awareness of the place and to overcome physical and cultural boundaries in understanding the historical and current identity of this urban heritage.

Daniel Baránek: Map Visualization of Crossing the Boundaries of Jewish Ghettos

In the second half of the 19th century, we can observe how the pre-modern closed society, defined mainly by religious boundaries, gradually transformed into an open society. This transformation was manifested not only in the sphere of philosophical and political ideas, but also in the real world, as the walls between the countryside and the cities as well as within the cities fell during this period. In the area of Central Europe, the enclosure into a specially defined space concerned especially the Jews. Jewish quarters are thus a suitable subject for examining how spatial boundaries within the city disappeared or, on the contrary, persisted.

At the last EUAH conference in 2022, I presented partial results of my research on the transformation of Jewish settlement in several Bohemian and Moravian cities that originally included a ghetto. The textual output of the project was the book Crossing the Ghetto Borders (publ. in Czech: Překračování hranic ghetta). At this conference I will present another output of the project, a web application. It combines census data and old maps. Thus, the user can follow the gradual transformation of Jewish settlement in the surveyed towns on an interactive map and obtain information about the individual inhabitants of Jewish-occupied houses. The paper will also present how the application is built and what tools were used. The application is also part of the exhibition in the reconstructed synagogue in Žatec (Czechia).

M35 Informal Housing in 20th-century Europe: origins, transformations, divergences

Main chair: Noel Manzano, Ph.D., Postdoctoral researcher, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

1st Co-chair: Florian Urban, Ph.D., Prof., Head of History of Architecture and Urban Studies (HAUS), Glasgow School of Art

Short abstract

Our session will focus on the history of informal housing in European cities, focusing on the 20th century. This includes questions of architecture, policy, collective action and informal property.

Keywords: informal housing, production of space, planning history, informal real estate market, urban regulation beyond state institutions


informal housing in 20th-century Europe

Session content

Informal urbanization, understood as a process of production of precarious housing by deprived populations, is frequently attributed to the cities of the Global South. As recent historiography has shown, similar phenomena were widespread in many European cities until the second half of the 20th century, and in fact have been a significant factor of urban growth until recently. To date, most authors working in this field have taken a localised, approach, giving the impression that informal urbanization was an exception and not a general trend in recent European urban history.

Our session proposes to establish a dialogue to show the European dimension of the phenomenon. We aim to historize the origins and transformations of informal housing and urbanization at a transnational level, transcending localised narratives, and discussing commonalities and divergences in different countries and cities.

Our hypothesis is that at the beginning of the 20th century many European countries saw a two-fold process influenced by transnational experiences: on the one hand the adoption of modern hygiene laws and urban planning norms, and on the other hand the outlawing of precarious housing production. As a consequence, informal urban growth processes mutated and became clandestine, regulated by forces beyond the state, and subjected to varying degrees of tolerance and repression by national and municipal authorities.

We particularly invite proposals that focus on the following themes:

  • urban policies and planning aiming at outlawing, eradicating or regularizing self-built housing, including the divergence between legislation and implementation, particularly from a transnational perspective
  • collective action in defence of housing rights and spatial justice, and the influence of political or religious groups in the local, national and international coordination of those claims
  • the architecture of informal housing, the morphology of informal settlements and their transformation over time
  • The role of the real estate market and the emergence of modes of regulation of property and space outside state institutions, whether collaborative (neighbourhood associations) or coercive (mafias)


Joan Roca: Barcelona: transforming the informal city into historical heritage

Shanty towns in Barcelona had its roots in the late 19th century and was a characteristic phenomenon of the period between the 1910s and the 1980s, a period marked by two dictatorships in Spain. In a city that was growing rapidly, the absence of a policy of massive construction of popular housing meant that the modalities of substandard housing typical of industrialization - the division of apartments, subrentals and pensions - were insufficient. Shacks became a stock of precarious housing that proved essential until the 1960s, when a new phase of urban growing began with the housing estates. This is what the Barcelona City History Museum shows in MUHBA Turó de la Rovira, the only historical museum site devoted to shanties in Europe, and in the book Barracas. La Barcelona informal (Shanties, informal Barcelona), The research is currently ongoing and we will talk about de last achievements during the session during the session.

Friedrich Hauer: Tracing the informal fringe. How Vienna's 'wild' settlements were studied and reformed after 1945

After the end of WWI, a large part of Vienna's 2 million inhabitants was struck by famine, cold, disease and desperate housing conditions. More than a hundred thousand urbanites resorted to selfempowerment: Illegal forest clearings, vegetable gardens and squats with primitive houses were expanding in the Danube floodplain and the alpine foothills, on the wastelands on the outskirts of the city. As a 1922 report in the National Geographic Magazine curiously noted, makeshift garden homes "surround the city like a ragged girdle and are the result of the housing famine that has driven thousands of families to live here in huts, [...] where they add to the city's food supply by raising vegetables about the front door." (Solano 1923, p.79) Albeit reduced in scale, this type of colonization would reoccur during the world economic crisis of the Thirties and in the precarious years after WWII (Hauer & Krammer 2018, 2023). It soon became clear that this "unwanted transformation" of the city could not be rolled back in its entirety. While some important shantytowns were cleared by the authorities, from the 1950s to the early 2000s most former illegal settlements were upgraded, connected to public utilities and legalized in terms of zoning and construction law. As a consequence, former "slums" began to transform into high-value residential areas. The presentation will elaborate on this largely unknown history of Vienna, focussing on the period of 1945 to the preent. It will discuss findings of the research project "Wien informell" (2021-2023), in particular on 1) the the morphology of Vienna's informal housing compounds and the architecture of dwellings; 2) the post-WWII urbanistic debate about the Vienna's "wild" fringe and surveys on its social and architectural forms and problems 3) proposed reform concepts and the subsequent processes of social and physical upgrading.

Andreu Ribes – Kathrin Golda-Pongratz: Community ties and nature bonds. A projective narration of XX century's Barcelona informal housing

The paper analyses the process of the "Montana Pelada" hill's informal urbanization in Barcelona during the second half of the twentieth century. Within the field of the well-known shanty settlements of the city during this era, our research addresses a less-explored facet: the self-built house. Extensive social movements associated with shantytowns in the city and their extensively documented history have blurred the boundaries: unlike the precarious and short-lived nature of shanty settlements, the self-built houses possess the necessary attributes to endure over a longer period and eventually transform into fully consolidated urban areas. By delving deeper into the urban areas with informal origin and their community ties generated through self-building, the research aims at disentangling this complex relationship, in order to discover potential tools for a bottom-up approach of an urban ecological transition.

Our case study's main characteristics revolve around the close connection between housing and nature –through horticulture, gardening, and the associated biodiversity– and a specific combination of legally acquired soil property and official house plans with illegal processes of self-construction spanning over extended periods of time. By analysing the transition from the immigrants' arrival to the city towards the establishment of their fully developed homes, this study highlights the evolution of strong community ties and describes various strategies employed during long-term construction processes. Original plans from over fifty houses, letters, police reports, and some interviews with local residents support this argument.

At a deeper level, this investigation seeks to initiate a debate on the core principles of the Capitalocene, particularly the ecological potential inherent in this autonomous form of housing and place-making, the communal and affective relationships fostered through self-building, and its close and symbiotic coexistence with nature.

Sarah Jacobson: Southern Italian Labour Migration and Informal Housing at Home and Abroad

As mentioned in the call, most scholarship on informal housing has centred on the Global South – from favellas in Brazil and settlements in the outskirts of Chile, to chawls in India. For migrants in the Global North, however, informal settlements often served as one of the only forms of housing available for deprived "second-class citizens," or those on the socio-political margins.

This paper proposes to bring this history into conversation with the panel by examining the actions and experiences of post-war labour migrants from southern Italy. From the 1950s through the 1970s, droves of southern Italians left their homes to provide much needed labour in industrial centres such as Turin, Milan, Frankfurt, and Munich. Housing soon became one of the most pressing problems for them in their new areas.

This paper highlights how southern Italian migrants consequently constructed informal housing in former army barracks, converted animal stalls into living spaces, and established informal settlements on the outskirts of urban areas in order to provide shelter for themselves and for their families. The paper also gives a brief overview of how migrants defending their "right" to affordable and adequate housing as processes of urban renewal and speculation further exacerbated an already-tight housing market. The most visible form of this collective action was that of housing occupations. I argue that by engaging in such an embodied form of protest on the streets and within neighbourhoods, southern Italian migrants not only asserted a right to a roof overhead, but also demanded greater socio-political recognition within their new communities.

Kivanç Kilinç: Informal Formal Housing: The Role of Squatter Settlements in the Making of Izmir's Urbanscapes (1970s-1990s)

Central and municipal authorities in 1970s Turkey treated informal urban settlements as an anomaly. The self-built gecekondu ("built overnight" in Turkish) stemmed from rapid rural migration to large cities, and among other strategies the officials called to arms social housing to bring "order" back to the cities. Uniformly designed housing blocks appeared to be a useful instrument to prevent the "gecekondu explosion"; with such bumper zones in place, informal settlements would be reformed and then incorporated into the city proper. Deeply embedded in both the official and popular imagination, this idealized image however, have mainly remained in the discursive realm. Most housing settlements gradually turned into islands of "regularity" and were isolated whereas subsequent amendments to the building code shaped surrounding neighborhoods. More often than not, new plans followed the outlines that informal settlements had generated, the only change being the housing type (mid-rise apartment buildings) and the method of provision (small-scale contractors). The forms looked entirely different and layouts were nuanced, but "modern apartment buildings" and the gecekondu were in fact inherently linked, representing two forms of informality. By examining a peripheral neighborhood in Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, this paper argues that the borderline between formal and informal urban development has proven to be unstable and is much more complicated than such a binary opposition would suggest. In Cumhuriyet Neighborhood, the municipal social housing project (1979) at first contributed to the reproduction of the norm: The idea of a planned, modern city situated against illegal squatter settlements. Through time, however, the neighborhood became a site of ad hoc urban development, leaving the so-called "norm" (regulation) to become an "exception." The informal growth has never really stopped, but it only changed form.

M36 Housing policies and urban transformations in Europe and beyond as a result of refugee flows in the first half of the 20th century

Main chair: Athina Vitopoulou, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, City_Space_Flux Research Unit, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

1st Co-chair: Marilena Kourniati, Maître de conférences, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris la Villette, Research Laboratory Ahttep / AUSser 3329-CNRS

Short abstract

The main goal of this panel is to present and compare housing policies launched to accommodate large waves of refugees generated from the turbulent conditions in the first half of the 20th century in Europe, as well as the resulting significant socio-spatial transformations within or in the fringe of the towns and cities.

Keywords: Refugee housing policies | Urban transformations | War | first half of 20th century


Architecture and Urbanism

Session content

The successive military conflicts (Balkan wars 1912-1913, Great War 1914-1918, Greek-Turkish war 1919-1922, Spanish War 1936-1939), the policy of denationalization of authoritarian regimes (USSR, Fascist Italy) and the resulted geopolitical transformations, as well as ethnic cleansing and national identity construction policies launched on grounds of 'national security', generated large voluntary and involuntary displacement waves of population in most of European countries as well as in the Ottoman Empire/Turkey (for example, the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923).

From the political exile of the 19th century to the communities or ethnic minorities persecuted for who they are and not for what they think, as Hannah Arendt would say (We refugees, 1943), the meaning as well as the status of the term "refugee" has changed over time along with relevant public policies.

A part of these refugees returned to their homelands, but many of them remained in the countries to which they fled. It is often the border towns that received the most refugees. At the beginning, emergency and temporary accommodation was usually used to shelter the refugees in refugee camps, army barracks, public buildings or abandoned premises. A common phenomenon was also arbitrary settlements with improvised accommodation, many of which evolved into permanent ones. Later, small- or large-scale housing programmes (self-help housing, organized construction, etc.) were initiated by local or central authorities, national bodies and/or international organisations for the rehabilitation of the refugees, resulting to significant sociospatial transformations within or in the fringe of the towns and cities.

Within this context, this panel welcomes papers that question the emergence of refugee housing category, and present different case studies and comparative research concerning refugee housing policies, temporary and permanent forms/types of refugee houses and settlements, the role of local authorities or national bodies in the refugees' rehabilitation programmes, as well as of international organizations in the transfer of housing and living models and urban development patterns, during the first half of the 20th century until the 1951 Refugee Convention.


David Templin: Living in "rat holes" and "pigsties"? German refugees, urban arrival spaces, and the housing question in the metropolitan region of Hamburg after the First World War

The First World War and the subsequent conflicts over territories and shifting state borders in Central Europe led to refugee movements, which included the flight of several hundred thousand people who had lived in formerly German areas that now became part of other states such as Poland. In 1925, the number of Germans who had lived in these territories before 1914 was estimated at 850,000 people. The history of this migrant group, their flight and following arrival processes have hardly been researched so far. An exception is the history of the "returnees' camps" that were set up by the German state and managed by the German Red Cross, studied by Oltmer. But how did cities and municipalities deal with the influx and accommodation of refugees who left these camps or came directly to urban areas?

The paper examines this question with a view at the city state of Hamburg and surrounding municipalities such as Altona and Wilhelmsburg. First, it analyses guidelines, strategies, and accommodation practices of local governments in the interplay with welfare organizations. As in other German cities, a severe housing shortage limited the scope for accommodating refugees, which led to debates about a ban for further immigration into the city. In a second step, the paper looks at the urban arrival spaces where refugees found housing and a new neighbourhood. Of special interest is the case of the industrial suburb Wilhelmsburg where over 1,800 German refugees were confronted with the presence of more than 6,000 Polish residents, but also German ones, who had moved there as labour migrants since the late 19th century. In this case, protests over housing conditions erupted that were accompanied by anti-Polish sentiment. Emergency shelters were considered as damp and inhumane "pigsties". At the same time, contacts to acquaintances and family members who came from the Eastern provinces of Prussia and had moved to Hamburg before 1914 proved to be important for finding accommodation.

Kalliopi Amygdalou: Architectures of displacement and the 1923 Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey

Following the 1919-1922 Grecoturkish war and the 1923 mutual and compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey, millions left their towns and villages behind, and their homes, schools and religious buildings were re-used by incoming refugees of the other side or were left in ruin. Meanwhile new housing was constructed both in urban and rural areas, in order to house hundreds of thousands who had nowhere to stay. Ranging from tents to makeshift huts, from state-provisioned prefabricated wooden structures to mudbrick and stone housing, from mass housing complexes in Greece to model villages (numune köyler) in Turkey, these typologies reveal decades-long experimentations with emergency and resettlement architecture, influences from other geographies (especially interwar Europe and Israel) and fermentations of modernist architectural ideas. The post-1922 settlement process permanently transformed the rural and urban landscapes of Greece and Turkey, and its study therefore allows us to deeper understand the making of cities in the urban fringes and the drastic remaking of rural landscapes. Based on extensive archival research, survey and digital mapping in the provinces of Attica and Izmir, this presentation offers a critical overview of the refugee settlement process on both sides over a couple of decades and brings the two refugee settlement processes into dialogue. It brings forward important similarities and differences between the housing policies followed by the two states at the time and, finally, addresses the history of the welfare state in response to housing crises.

Alexandros Kalemis: Spatialities of immigration: The settlement of Minor-Asian refugees in the western areas of Athens

The Refugees' Issue in the state of Greece after the events of the Greek-Turkish war (1919-1922) had a significant impact on the native demographic and cultural landscape, as the defeat of the Greek forces by the troops of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's Turkish National Movement launched massive expulsions of populations off Asia Minor. Approximately 1.5 million of them arrived in Greece. A considerable part settled in the periphery, the largest percentage, though, was hosted in the large urban centers (Athens, Thessaloniki). The aim of the project is the comprehensive presentation of the refugee settlements in the western suburbs of Athens, more specifically in the areas of Peristeri, Aigaleo, Nikaia and Korydallos, through bibliographic sources, architectural and topographic charts, as well as photographic evidence, recounting the living conditions of the tenants and the challenges they had to cope with. The focus on the specific areas is justified by a number of distinctive geospatial data, such as their vicinity to the commercial and historical center of the city and the proximity to the port of Piraeus, the main point of arrival for refugee fluxes. The aforementioned, in coincidence to the emerging industrial development of Eleonas district, once an agricultural territory, favored the construction of labor residencies by the Greek government, in replacement of the original hosting camps. During the course of decades, the Minor-Asian refugees managed to integrate with the native population, resulting in a substantial re-shaping of the cultural, economic and social identity of the regions they settled in. Currently, their descendants, while preserving the historic memory, continue to be an essential part of the diverse and vibrant nature of the city.

Sofia Mikropoulou: The settlement of exchangeable refugees as a factor of transformation and development of the eastern districts of Athens in the interwar period

The settlement of Asia Minor refugees in the eastern periphery of the city of Athens, around existing sparse residential cores, was a guiding factor that led to the transformation and development of the city during the interwar period. The refugees enumerated at that time touched one third of the inhabitants within the pre-existing settlement and more than two thirds in the surrounding area. The handling of the issue of housing by governmental, international and business actors evolved alongside the mandated policy of compensating exchangeable refugees. The announcement is based on a survey of record evidence relating to the procedures and institutional means of implementing the compensation policy. Quantitative and qualitative characteristics are inferred for groups of beneficiaries who, fighting for survival, played a catalytic role in the urbanization of the study area.

Maria Dousi – Sofoklis Kotsopoulos – Michalis Nomikos – Athina Vitopoulou: From Asia Minor to Thessaloniki. The impact of the refugees settlement on the housing production and the urban morphology in the interwar period

Following the 1922 Asia Minor Catastrophe and the1923 population exchange agreement between Greece and Turkey, Thessaloniki was one of the main urban centres that received refugees. Just a decade after its integration into Greek territory and five years after the 1917 fire that destroyed most of its historic centre, having already received successive refugee flows because of the wars and geopolitical upheavals of the previous decade, the city faced a new tragic and urgent situation, which radically changed the composition of its population and created enormous pressures for immediate care and housing.

The recent tracing of the Refugee Register of the Municipality of Thessaloniki 1922-1927 by the Thessaloniki History Centre, consisting of 12 volumes and 2500 pages, triggered the new systematic research on the settlement of the refugees and its socio-spatial impacts, which was conducted by a group of professors and students of the School of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The research was based on the valuable archival data of the Refugee Register on the origin, demographic and social characteristics, and the temporary establishment of the refugees, as well as on bibliographic material, and resulted to an exhibition focusing on the visualization of the gathered data and information. The paper will present the part of the research results which concern: a) the demographic and social profile of the refugees; b) the premises and areas of temporary settlement, which in many cases evolved to permanent ones; and c) the permanent settlement through four different mechanisms of access to shelter and refugee housing production, both in proximity to the existing city and the then peri-urban zone, which decisively influenced the structure and form of the existing city and created new socio-economic and spatial segregations. The aim is to highlight the important socio-spatial transformations that took place during the interwar period, setting the basis for the urban and social development of the modern city.

Melina Katsimpiri – Kalliopi Tseroni: The refugge settlement of Patras. Resilience and peculiarities

One hundred years after the Asia Minor catastrophe and the massive influx of refugees in 1922 in Greece, the initial structure and evolution of the housing complexes, constructed for the rehabilitation of the refugee population, is an interesting field of research. The present research focuses on the city of Patras, an important urban centre with a neoclassical city plan that has one of the largest ports in Greece facing the Ionian Sea, significant both from a transport and commercial point of view. More specifically, four neighborhoods in the northern part of the city are being studied, which were used to settle the refugee population and have remained in the memory of the residents as the "Refugee settlement", as they were constructed in a common area, creating a larger whole of unified character. The original structure of the refugee settlements and their evolution is studied, followed by an analysis of their contemporary appearance, with parallel references to intermediate phases of the given study period. The aim of the paper is to explore the resilience of the settlements and the variations it may present, while interpreting its effects both at an architectural and social level. Further key research questions are: - How did the settlement of refugees affect the urban fabric of the city? Is there a spatial and urban difference from the existing urban fabric of Patras and how can this be interpreted? - Are there observed changes in the original structure of the refugee settlements over the period of one hundred years? How are they expressed? - How are the refugee settlements affected by their reinhabitation by different groups of contemporary residents?

Aikaterini Karadima: Chania's urban metamorphosis: Exploring the consequences of the 1923 Population Exchange

The late 19th and early 20th centuries marked a period of profound global societal and geographical changes, and Greece was no exception. The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the compulsory exchange of Christian and Muslim populations between Greece and Turkey following the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 had far-reaching impacts on culture, society, and urban space in both countries. The resettlement of refugees arriving in Greece became one of the most critical political and social issues, leading to rapid urbanization and uncontrolled urban expansion, fundamentally shaping the Greek urban and social structure. Chania, in Greece, holds a pivotal role as a refugee destination, owing to its significant Muslim community presence until 1923. In the aftermath of the population exchange, refugees initially occupied vacant homes or makeshift accommodations while awaiting the finalization of housing initiatives. Subsequently, they adapted and transformed these spaces, leaving a lasting impact on both the urban and rural environment of Chania.

The paper aims to shed light on the intricate and multifaceted process of forced displacement in 1923 and its consequences for the urban and rural landscape of Chania. It places specific emphasis on the housing policies implemented by local, national and international authorities to address refugee resettlement in the region, assessing the long-term implications of these policies on the urban fabric and societal dynamics.

The research employs a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from spatial data, architectural history, politics, economics, and social phenomena, to comprehensively analyze the socio-spatial changes that occurred in Chania's broader region, highlighting the complex interplay between government policies, urban development, and social integration. Unlike existing research focusing on politics and history, this paper addresses architecture and urbanism aspects. It fills a research gap by offering new insights into the evolution of the modern Greek city and Hellenization of urban space.

M38 Where the land meets the sea. Costal towns and cities as nodes of mediation in a global era

Main chair: Antje Kempe, Dr. University of Greifswald, Germany

1st Co-chair: Frank Rochow, Dr., Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany

Short abstract

Following the assumption that urbanisation, globalisation and the Anthropocene created new categories and paradigms of borders the panel seeks to shed light on the question how the sea is perceived, narrated, mediated in the build environment of coastal towns and cities since Early Modern Times

Keywords: maritime history, port cities, land-sea relationship, globalisation, transformation, urban identity


art and architectural history of maritime cities

Session content

Coastal cities are distinctively shaped by both, borders and connectivity, land and sea. They are mediators between these sides. Following the assumption that urbanisation, globalisation and the Anthropocene created new categories and paradigms of borders, the panel seeks to shed light on the question how the sea is perceived, narrated, and mediated in coastal towns and cities since Early Modern Times. Thus, categories of center and periphery, stability and transformation, the global and the planetary, and security and insecurity are called into question. The border theme will therefore be examined in terms of liminal spaces in the sense of a land-sea relationship to negotiate how boundaries of coastal towns and cities are shaped, imagined, and mediated.

Different ways of living, unequal modes of motion and distinct states of law and rule signify land and sea. In coastal towns and cities, these two worlds clash. This session seeks to investigate how these clashes looked like, how they were handled in the urban community, and to what distinct features of the urban communities they led.

Of particular interest are investigations focussing on the built environment. Deliberately setting an extended period, the aim is to identify phases of the transformation of coastal towns and cities in the global era to conclude the driving forces behind the design of a built environment: conditions of the sea, mercantile and neoliberal interests, competition between coastal cities, and cultural imaginations. Questions include: To what extent did the geographical position at sea influence the architectural discourse and language in these towns and cities in contrast to land-based ones? How did typical climate situations and unusual weather events influence these discussions? How sustainable were solutions once found in times of rapid change caused, e.g., by urbanization and industrialization? What were particular (landscape) architectural modes of mediation between land and sea? Moreover, how did they contribute to creating an environment of encounter and exchange between the two worlds? Did this atmosphere foster an understanding of the other side?

Another direction of the investigation will focus on the mediation of the self-image these towns and cities cultivated. This topic includes the question of motifs and narratives transmitted and asks for the motivation of the proponents, the audience's perceptions, and shifts and changes. How did the imagination of such places interfere with the built and social reality, and how was the image of coastal towns and cities mediated and visualized?

This session aims to identify overarching themes and motifs in expressing the hybrid identity of coastal towns and cities, and general insights into their formulation, contestation, and reassertion. Therefore, we ask for contributions that reveal connections between these places throughout time and space.


Stephanie Hanke: On the border between land and water: moles as polyfunctional spaces of Early Modern harbour cities

Since Vitruvius the construction of moles and their constitutive role in the ideal design of a harbour has been an important subject in architectural treatises. In the interplay of natural bays with architectural elements the shape of moles played a crucial role for the Early Modern harbour layout and gave rise to a variety of even extravagant solutions, such as spiral-shaped designs.

The lecture will take a closer look at the polyvalent role of the mole as a particularly prominent area of the harbour in aesthetic, functional and social terms, by concentrating on Italian ports as well as on architectural treatises and drawings between 1500 and 1700. The focus lies on the design, the diverse uses and the historical perception of the mole as a liminal space on the border between land and water. Moles as curved and often fortified structures, on the one hand, enclosed the harbour basin and sealed off the city from the potentially threatening external space of the sea. On the other hand, however, they functioned as artificial extensions of the city into the water, similar to outstretched arms. Equipped with lighthouses, they were often the foremost urban landmark within the sea and had a special symbolic significance, for example in the context of processions.

Moles were spaces of commerce, traffic and communication, but functioned also as representative entrance roads into the city, that were occupied by symbols of power such as triumphal arches, city gates, sculptures and fountains. Due to their special visibility for the incoming ships, these features generally played an important role in the city's self-representation to strangers. Finally, moles were also attractive places for the inhabitants of the port city itself, who were offered here an escape from the constricted urban fabric and a special panorama, so that moles were also used for entertaining promenades on foot or by carriage.

Michael Dudzik: Opening up to the world. Naval engineers and the reconstruction of the port of Bordeaux (1730–1755)

The eighteenth century represented a major turning point in the history of the southw estern French city of Bordeaux. Centralization and mercantilist principles dynamized the functioning of the market and opened new outlets on the continent and beyond, for w hich it w as necessary to transform the port and expand the naval arsenal. The dif f icult task w as entrusted to the emerging social class of marine engineers w ho drew on scientif ic books for the reconstruction of the lef t bank of Bordeaux and the construction of new ships, w ith the support of enlightened representatives of the region. Based on contemporary sources, the paper w ill show how the "Port of the Moon" w as transf ormed and how Bordeaux became the main commercial hub of the monarchy.

Alexei Kraikovski: Controlling the uncontrollable: Maritime metropolises of terrestrial Empires in Modern Europe. St. Petersburg and Trieste in comparative perspective

I will disuss the results of a project "Crossing the surfline - Baltic and Adriatic coastal experience in the Early Modern and Modern Time", now developed at the University of Genova. The recent theoretical innovations open new perspectives for reconsideration of apparently well-established narratives of history of coastal urban centers. An idea of Maritime Empire as a zone of network links centered in the dominating urban, which developes to a great extent independently from the existing borders of centralized states (Strootman 2019) permits to juxtapose Habsburg Mediterranean and Romanovs' Baltic. These two innovative concepts apply an assemblage theory to discuss complicated societal mechanisms used by coastal communities in the imperial metropolitan centers of Trieste and St. Petersburg to demonstrate maritimity, specific links with the sea that differed urbanites of these cities from the inhabitants of less "maritime" or not that "metropolitan" locales. I will demonstrate that in fact we deal with a general process of interaction between imperial authorities and local communities, when each party pursued its own goal and chose its own strategy. When the authorities and elite intended to materialize their "maritime imaginaries", reproduce an idea of how the maritime metropolis of the Great Empire would look like, the people of the lower strata interacted with the coastal nature much more pragmatically. As a result, we deal with multylayered self-representations of maritimity both in tangible and intangible worlds – from the structure of urban space and choice of architectural styles to the practices of consumption shaped by the services provided by the sea. Despite the illusion of imperial control, in fact local communities were significantly independent in their maritime life.

Michael Falser: From Swakopmund to Tsingtau and Apia. German Colonial Port-City Landscapes in Africa, Asia and Oceania as Global Spaces of Translation.

Beginning in the 1880s, the German Empire rose to become a colonial power in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

While the disciplines of global history and global art history have already conceptually configured this "colonial globality" of German character and made it accessible for the understanding of our contemporary globalization, a global architectural history of the German colonial period is not yet available: In this context, as a basic thesis of the present proposal, especially port cities of the German colonial period can be studied as transaction and action spaces of the "first" full globalization.

In this presentation, various German-colonial port cities in Africa (Lomé/Togo, Duala/Cameroon, Dar es Salaam/former German East Africa (today Tanzania); Swakopmund/former German Southwest Africa (today Namibia); Tsingtau/China and Apia/Samoa) will be examined in two interlocking research steps: first, as real and rhetorical-medial border and transition spaces between nature and culture with a view to the then circulating publication media. Secondly, possibilities are presented to examine them from the perspective of a global architectural history as spaces of translation and design of the leading technological media of the interweaving of the world - ship and railroad.

This lecture presents results developed at TUM within the framework of the project "German-colonial architecture as a global building project around 1900 and as a transcultural heritage today", which has been funded by the DFG Heisenberg Program since 2020.

Kristof Loockx – Margo Buelens-Terryn: The Waterfront as a Testbed for Surveillance and Regulation? The Fight Against Alcoholism and Venereal Diseases in North Atlantic Ports, c.1880-1930

As a result of population growth, rapid urban expansion and growing transport connections, the historical waterfront, or so-called sailortown, became a widespread phenomenon during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These packed quarters, where seafarers, transmigrants and other transients mingled with the populace, were often notorious for their entertainment businesses and generally considered as a world outside the urban environment. In turn, the numerous taverns, lodging houses and brothels located in these spatial entities between land and sea increasingly encouraged both authorities and social organizations to take control and face social challenges, such as alcoholism and the spread of venereal diseases. Over the last decades, different scholars have indeed argued that sailortown's transient and international character made it a testbed for surveillance, regulation and intervention, emphasizing the waterfront's unique urban-maritime culture. However, the rather narrow neighbourhood-level perspective does not allow us to fully understand the initiatives and policies that were developed. This paper aims to explore social policies by examining the fight against alcoholism and the spread of venereal diseases on the urban level, with Antwerp and Boston as case studies, two international ports on both sides of the Atlantic. A city-level approach enables us to test to what extent the historical waterfront were laboratories for carrying out new ideas of control and order and how fundamentally different these neighbourhoods were from the rest of the city. In sum, investigating social policies will contribute to gain a better understanding of the worldwide phenomenon of sailortowns during the period under consideration.

Esin BÖLÜKBAŞ DAYI: "Water and Urban Morphology: Antalya's Multifaceted Relationship with the Sea and Beyond"

Throughout history, humanity has harnessed water for various purposes. Water has shaped urban landscapes, provided resources, facilitated transportation, and defined defense borders. Antalya, a coastal Turkish city, exemplifies the intricate interplay between water and urban life. Antalya's connection with the sea extends beyond the seashore to include a bustling port and industrial structures using water as a primary power source, defining the city's boundaries. Over time, Antalya has seen factories, mills, and hydroelectric plants transform its environment and architectural languages. Like many coastal cities, Antalya has embraced the rehabilitative potential of water, fostering a deep connection. This commitment is seen in the city's seascape and public amenities like sea baths and beach facilities. Antalya's interaction with water goes beyond the seashore. The Düden River, with meandering branches, has played a crucial role in the city's urban infrastructure and cityscape since the Roman era. The river supplied water to ancient Perge city, leading to essential water structures like fountains, baths, cisterns, and mills. The river's water has been used for purposes including irrigation, production, rehabilitation, and urban development, reflecting the city's deep connection with water. Throughout its history, Antalya has balanced the built environment and water, coexisting harmoniously with nature. This interrelationship transcends aesthetic appreciation and is integral to the city's identity. This paper meticulously traces water's multifaceted role in Antalya's urban development, challenging perceptions that narrowly associate the city with its image as a tourist destination, often simplified as a sun, sea, and sand retreat.

Kehao Chen: Sea, Sand Fence and Salt Squatter: The Historical Evolution of Coastal Urban-Rural Morphological Differentiation in Sha Tau Kok Area under Border Conditions

Sha Tau Kok is located to the east of the border between Shenzhen and Hong Kong in southern China. The existing urban-rural development here can be traced back to the migration of Hakka people in the 18th century. Geographical factors and ethnic lifestyles have established the relationship between the sea and the built environment in the area. This study attempts to take the Sha Tau Kok coastal area as the research object, focusing on the spaces formed by the sea-related activities of the local people and revealing the production mechanisms behind these spaces, as well as the subsequent temporal changes of the neighboring coastal spaces under the Shenzhen-Hong Kong boundary conditions in different political and social environments.The early inhabitants of the coastal area had production methods that matched their environment, as reflected in the two villages at the forefront of the Sha Tau Kok Reclamation: Sha Lam Ha (sand fence) and Yam Lao Ha (salt squatter). The demarcation of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border in 1898, the typhoon of 1936 and the mainland Chinese reform and opening-up policy and Hong Kong's squatter clearance program in the 1980s, are three significant nodes influencing the transformation of the built environment of the two neighboring villages at both sides of the boundary in the Sha Tau Kok area. With the urbanization of the Sha Tau Kok area, the relationship between the residents and the sea has also changed, and their deep connection with the sea has gradually dissolved into the separation of the means of production and productivity. The neighboring coastal areas in Sha Tau Kok have shown different development paths due to the existence of border. This distinction is especially notable because this area is the only land boundary on the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border.

Brigitte Le Normand: Whose city, whose sea? Multiscalar negotiations in the development of Rijeka, socialist Yugoslavia's port city

When the port city of Rijeka/Fiume became a part of Yugoslavia after the Second World War, it was assigned the role of being the country's most important port, and the central pivot of Yugoslavia's globalization strategy. As a result, both the city and the port grew rapidly, both in spatial and economic terms. Yet, it is clear that this growth created tensions between the maritime economic sector and the local population. While many benefitted because they worked in the port, for the shipping companies, or for related firms, the needs of the local population were in constant competition with the needs of the transportation sector. Using archival sources and the local newspaper Novi List in the period 1948-1959, This paper examines the shifting discourse around the sea and the port, as belonging to locals, to Yugoslavia, or to larger spatial formations such as the Danube states or even the world. as well as discourses of connectivity, in which locals were seen as in relationship with other places. It examines the implications of these discourses for the ongoing struggle over space. Finally, it offers some concluding thoughts regarding the utility of thinking of Rijeka as a socialist global city.

Vassilis Kitsos: From Baltic Ports to Baltic Urban Waterfronts

A common question when using the city as research field concerns its potential for addressing social change across time and space. This presentation at the EAUH 2024 conference will seek to contribute to this discussion. It will address the specific case of housing development in the process of waterfront regeneration from the perspective of regional development, in selected cities in the Baltic Sea.

The departure from port-based to urban economies has been identified as a core feature of spatial change in cities on the water over the previous decades. That dynamic nature of the port-city relationship has been approached by diverse scholar fields. Looking at this dynamic relationship in detail, one sees that the development of residential uses along the waterfront has grown into a central instrument for growth, as it includes recovering or reclaiming land and extending urban uses next to the water. Over the course of only a few decades, the areas adjacent to the water became a prime location for urban living in postindustrial, service-based economies. As a consequence, this plays out in how urban identities are modified, extended or reinvented. This process has been praised and received broad publicity, but also a critique which highlights questions of commmercialization, the generic application of design solutions or the disregard for nature. Despite this critique having become increasingly substantiated, the specific attitude towards waterfront development is spreading, internationally as well as regionally. Starting from this observation, the paper will offer an original analysis of residential developments that took place in port cities in the Baltic Sea by the early 21st century and discuss this changing port-city relationship.

Sascha Roesler: "The Psychology of Water" Epistemologies of Prediction and Speculation in View of Rising Seas

Drawing from Gaston Bachelard's 1942 "Water and Dreams," I will engage with "the psychology of water" that strongly shapes today's coastal cities in terms of much-discussed threat of sea level rise. My paper addresses how this threat of climate change will alter both the built fabric and the perception of these cities. The changes that are already underway, for example in the Miami Beach real estate market, show how closely psychology and urbanization processes are intertwined. In the last few years, Rotterdam, New York or Jakarta in particular have been discussed as prominent case studies, showing that isolated coastal cities can no longer be assumed (Kian Goh: 2021). Rather, the global interconnectedness of coastal cities must be emphasized.

In my paper, I will focus on emerging epistemologies of prediction and speculation that shape the psychology of water in the context of contemporary coastal cities. The unprecedented character of the challenges calls into question the relevance of the historical experience (of isolated cities) and brings other forms of evidence to the fore. I will highlight efforts to gain "knowledge" in advance by engaging a variety of actors, primarily the sciences (predictions), but also the design and planning disciplines (scenarios), policy (governance), and the public (narratives). In my paper, I will refer to the fundamental interplay between Big Data and future narratives, and thus on "how numbers, charts, and calculations (...) are transformed by their confrontation with other ways of producing and realizing social imaginaries of the city" (Hanna Knox: 2020). I will reflect on mapping tools and digital media that are shaping coastal cities' understanding of the threat of sea level rise. These tools are increasingly available via Internet, as evidenced by the work of, which offers comprehensive insights into the impacts of sea level rise, including collages that illustrate the dystopian future of coastal cities.

M39 Coffee, Cafés, urban commerce and Sociable Substance Use

Main chair: Preston Perluss, associate professor, Université Grenoble Alpes, Laborataire de recherche historique Rhône Alpes

1st Co-chair: Mario Grassi, Scuola Superiore di Studi Storici University of San Marino

Short abstract

Our session seeks to study exactly how varied substances (coffee, distilled spirits, tobacco, sugar) all formed a locus of sociability that gave rise to the Enlightenment café. Clearly a number of factors contributed to the cafés dazzling success: proximity to theatres, heightened sodality-based linkages, a greater tolerance to consumption of addictive substances. Furthermore, the café itself became the object of intense commercialization and speculation. These are the subjects we seek to encourage researchers to share with the greater scientific community.

Keywords: Cafés, urban sociability, alcohol, coffee


Origins of European cafés, social function of cafés, evolution of addictive substances in public space, market for café commerce.

Session content

Coffee entered the mores of European society in the course of the 17th century. For over a century this Middle Eastern stimulant had formed the nexus of sociability in Ottoman society and Islamic culture.1 Coffee's appearance in the Western Europe spawned an array of commercial practices involving collective consumption venues. If the earliest cafés or coffee houses date from the last third of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century, the café—whether Parisian or provincial—underwent explosive growth. An apparent point of inflection occurred in the middle of the 18th century with a vast proliferation of coffee consuming venues.2 Similarly coffee plantations took root in the West Indies during the first third of the 18th and their extension furthered the spread of European coffee consumption.

In France despite the eponymous name "café", coffee was not the exclusive commodity consumed in cafés nor were café owners/operators widely known as "cafetiers, instead they were called "limonadiers" as the lemonade craft guild members had the exclusive rights to run cafés. Lemonade vendors had been affiliated with the distiller's guild which had broken off from the Vinegar makers guild. This filiation holds more than mere archaic curiosity for a key reason : cafés offered their clients a wide range of distilled liquor. In fact, cafés were sumptuous temples to not the god Bacchus but rather to the less exalted, yet more potent, alchemistic alembic. That such an array of potentially abusive substances converge to a common locus (note that tobacco, chocolate, tea and saccharose imbued products all figured on the menu) should lead us to query the origins and evolution of the café as a commercial venture.

However, the study of the café, and the growth and social differentiation of the European café, conceals a further dimension : commodity-based value chains. The café and its social "space" stands as the end point of a very long chain of various products, some tropical and slave produced; this consummation of diverse commodity chains should be factored into the study of the café. The growth of Atlantic trade enabled coffee, sugar and chocolate to spread through consumer culture, just as tobacco had gained currency in the 17th century. Thus we could also insist on this exotic element as a necessary cause in the startling expansion of cafés.

Our session will seek to draw together the various strands which converged to form the European café from the 18th century onwards : distilled beverages, tropical products and the rise of café culture initially oriented to wealthy palates but whose diffusion lead to a reconfiguration of drinking and socially stratified hobnobbing. We will consider thus descriptions of cafés and coffee houses over the course of 300 years and in diverse European environments.


Wouter Ryckbosh: Drinking in the public sphere: patterns of sociability in the urban coffee- and alehouse in 18th-19th-century Belgium

In the course of the early modern period new, intoxicating beverages were introduced to a popular consuming public, bringing also substantial changes to the experience of urban sociability with them (Schivelbusch 1980; Cowan 2008). It has been argued that the introduction of new beverages such as tea and coffee affected not only global commerce and plantation-based production worldwide, but also social relations within the early modern world (for instance Withington 2007; Ryckbosch 2019). Literary sources and diaries have been able to shed light on how patterns of sociability changed for the middling classes and elites, but it remains difficult to illuminate how new consumption patterns interacted with sociability among lower social groups. In this contribution I will use a dataset of thousands of witness depositions recorded in the context of criminal court case investigations to study patterns of sociability in cafés and alehouses in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Southern Low Countries (Belgium). By doing so, I aim to compare the degree to which the social worlds of coffee and beer related to each other, how they evolved, and how they compared to the domestic world of tea-drinking and dining at home. Did the introduction of new social practices of public consumption help to manifest, negotiate or mitigate the growing social and economic inequality that characterized the industrializing city?

Michel John: The Viennese Café: History, Myth, Reality

The call formulation concentrates on Café culture in France, also using the term „European cafe". This proposal draws attention to the Viennese Cafe, the „Wiener Kaffeehaus", the term will be used as synonym for the old Austrian-Hungarian - Central European Cafe - nevertheless concentrating on Vienna. Starting in 1685 Vienna was behind Constant¬inopel, Ofen (Buda), Venice, Oxford, London, Paris or Leipzig. The first coffehouse was opened by the Armenian Johannes Theodat (Diodato) 1685, followed by Isaac de Luca. To allow the new oriental drink had a political, a cultural and a military dimension, as coffee makes „a clear head" and it works against fatigue. To drink coffee was well received, and coffee houses became part of the social life of certain segments of the society. Especially between 1780 and 1848 coffee houses became popular meeting places for enlightenment's "raisonnement". Women dropped into the cafés some decades later.

During the 18th and 19th centuries it developed quickly, the number of café concessions reached 1.200 in 1902. The Wiener (Austrian) Kaffeehaus was then connected with literature, discussion, business: Stefan Zweig called it „a sort of democratic club, where guests can sit for hours", Franz Werfel as tolerant place, Friedrich Torberg or Eva Menasse to some degree as „Jewish". In visiting, trading and marketing of coffee and other stimulant substances Jews played a prominent role in Central Europe till 1938. The Viennese (Central European) Café was unique: not as much ruled by a commercial sense than in other countries - „time is money" is an Anglo-American guideline - the coffeehouse of the Habsburg Empire and the interwar period was different; not to forget Budapest with a similar café landscape than Vienna. The Nazi period brought a cut. The proposed presentation will discuss history and nature of the Viennese (old Austrian) coffee-house, it is based on secondary sources, archival material, newspapers, magazines, memoirs, interviews and photos.

Janhein Furnee: From tea gardens to liquor dens. Public drinking culture in and around Amsterdam, 1800-1850

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Amsterdam offered more than a thousand public drinking places, ranging from elegant coffeehouses, respectable taverns to many hundreds small bars. Building on a long tradition of international research on the role of drinking locales as site for sociability, political debate, and the formation of class, gender and ethnic identities, this paper will use the Amsterdam case to further elaborate our understanding of these key urban institutions by scrutinizing various dimensions of time and space. Using census, address and tax registers, I will firstly chart the shifting spatial distribution of drinking places in the urban landscape of recreation, consumption and residence in and around Amsterdam between 1800 and 1850. Building on W. Scott Haine's classic work on Paris café's (1996), I will secondly explore police archives to expand our insights in how weekdays and hours of the day impacted on the gendered social interaction and political culture in these locales.Finally and most extensively, I will show how drinking culture - its locations, consumptions, entertainment, social interaction and political culture - heavily depended on the annual cycle of the winter season, the summer season and the seasonal fair.

Pirjo Ovaskainen: When illegal comes legal – how three Finnish city council reacted when prohibition ends in 1932

Finland's prohibition was on 1919–1932. When Great Depression reached Finland and government needed taxes to survive. As a result the nation's entire legal system was rewrought. No one, literally no one respected prohibition laws. Finish restaurant culture and drinking habits were destroyed during prohibition. Hence when Prohibition was reappealed enormously efforts were needed to renew trust and respect for the system.

Before Prohibition Finnish city councils decided what kind of restaurants they wanted in their own areas. After prohibition Finland possessed unique monopoly system called Alcoholcompany. That company made all the decisions which applied making of alcohol, selling of alcohol, serving alcohol and at the same time, supervising the whole system. But this monopoly couldn't made decisions all by itself. Law required the monopoly to solicit authorization from local city councils as to what kind of restaurants they wanted and where they wanted them in their own areas.

And there is the topic line what I'm going to present in next summer in Ostrava. What kind of decisions city councils made in Tampere, Kuopio and Jyvaskyla? How they reacted monopoly company's decisions and how did the  alcohol monopoly react to city councils' decisions?

Daniela Stanciu-Păscări?a: The Coffe-house in Transylvania as a space of sociability during Belle Époque

The aim of my research is to highlight the institution of the coffee-house in the urban milieu of a peripheral province of the Double Monarchy Austria-Hungary, by analyzing its scope for the urban actors. Transylvania is a place where several different nationalities lived together. Among them, Transylvanian Saxons, Romanians, Hungarians and Jews. In this regard, one of the research questions that arises is if the coffee-house was a place of segregation or a commonplace for the nationalities.

However, the common man which visited the coffee-house is of interest, being highlighted that the intellectuals were some of the most frequent actors. Another element of my presentation will analyze the Transylvanian coffee-house as a place of consumption, which was placed under a strong social etiquette and behavioral codex. Hot beverages like Viennese coffee or Turkish tea were consumed by social actors. The question of research is linked to the places of inspiration for the Transylvanian coffee-house. Was it Vienna, Budapest, or Paris and London? The sources of this research are historical German and Romanian newspapers, archives, diaries of Transylvanian intellectuals and visual sources like postcards.

Preston Perluss: Parisian 18th Cafés

The rise of the French Café, most likely Parisian in origin, betokens more than a mere shift in preference from vinous cabaret habits to more garishly lit venues. The café clearly bears witness to a growth in urban wealth, a transition in consumer patterns linked to an overall growth in exchange-oriented production and, lurking underneath, the extension and specialization of world trade, specifically the trade in tropical commodities. That the café fed upon its success and became a lieu de rencontres is but one facet of the manifold faces which the café offers to its admirers and students. Clearly, the café by the very nature of its clientele lent itself to conversations and cabals of a different order than might have taken place in the dimly lit courtyards of wine houses where workers might commingle or slip off into stupor. In 1789, some 1015 cafés had been listed for Paris—and this list is incomplete. During the course of century the number of cafés probably quintupled. With this explosive growth came market segmentation. Aristocratic cafés were found near the Ancienne comédie; but other types of cafés——working class cafés, smoking cafés, military cafés——also had appeared. Plus there remained the guinguettes, the outdoor cafés located just beyond the tax barrier. These cafés all offered some form of alcohol, many offered a range of distilled spirits. Some also sold lottery tickets and others tobacco. The diversity of these cafés shall be discussed in this paper.

Ines Sabotič: Les femmes et les cafés: patronnes et serveuses dans les cafés zagrebois vers 1900

Women and Cafés: Female Owners and Waitresses in Zagreb Cafés around 1900. In early 20th century Zagreb, the Croatian capital and an Austro-Hungarian city, the world of cafés, and more broadly, drinking establishments, was largely dominated by men, including owners, staff, and customers. However, women were not absent. They also managed cafés, engaging in an attractive economic activity, but often encountering difficulties. Women were more represented among the staff, serving as waitresses but also as cashiers, a position exclusively held by women. This sometimes sparked strong opposition. Their presence was perceived as competition to men or as a cover for prostitution. The aim of the intervention is to  question the place of women in cafés, taverns, and other drinking establishments in Zagreb at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, and their role in these establishments, which, besides being drinking establishments, were primarily places of sociability. The Croatian capital at this time was a city undergoing modernization and national awakening. It experienced significant economic and cultural development, with some societal changes underway, such as those concerning the place of women in society. However, political life remained below the national aspirations of most Croats, suppressed by Hungarian power. Cafés reflected these realities.

M40 Urban social movements and the reinvention of cities since the 1970s

Main chair: Pal Brunnström, Researcher, Malmö University, Department of Urban Studies

1st Co-chair: Mikkel Thelle, Professor, The National Museum of Denmark, Guest Professor at Malmö University

2nd Co-chair: Philipp Reick, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies

Short abstract

This session explores the entangled history of cities and social movements in the post-industrial era. It does so by studying how municipal governments and other public urban bodies responded to the demands, framings, and repertoires of a new generation of social movements since the 1970s.

Keywords: Social movements, queer history, women's movements, trade unions, activism, youth riots


Urban social movements

Session content

Recent studies have shown that municipalities today often draw on social movement rhetoric in efforts to reinvent and promote their city. Scholars and activists regularly criticize city administrations that take credit for advancing legislative action and public debate even when this in fact originated from social mobilization. At the same time, many cities reduce their ambitions in welfare provision to citizens, in the context of the neoliberal dismantling of welfare states. Strategies labeled as green-washing, pink-washing or brown-washing have for instance been dismissed as attempts by cities to hijack campaigns for environmental protection or racial and gender equality. By presenting themselves as environmentally friendly and socially progressive pioneers, cities have thus turned struggles for social and climate justice into a marketing tool to boost tourism as well as domestic and foreign investment. This session seeks to scrutinize this narrative.

The objective of this session is to explore the complex and contested relationship between urban authorities on the one hand and the new social movements of the post-1970s on the other. We seek contributions that engage critically with the impact that social movements had on municipalities, how the latter responded to the movements' claims and demands, and how they tried to ignore, co-opt or co-operate with the social movements around them. At the same time, we hope for contributions that study how the strategies by urban governments and public administration in turn influenced social movements, and how the latter were affected by processes of institutionalization and professionalization. While the temporal focus will be on, roughly, the last third of the twentieth century, there are no geographical restriction. Papers on non-Western cases are particularly welcome.


Hannes Rolf: Rent Strikes. A Global History

In this paper, I present a forthcoming anthology with the working title of "Rent Strikes. A Global History", that I am one of the editors of together with Lucas Poy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / International Institute of Social History.

The goal of the volume is to offer an overview of tenants' struggles in different geographies and periods, to identify both common trends and peculiarities over time and throughout the world. Despite the working title, we have strived to include studies about rent "strikes" and different episodes of resistance, organisation, and direct action in which tenants protested and showed their initiative to fight for their rights. Even though most research on the subject deal with housing in urban environments in the 20th and 21st centuries, we have strived to include studies of rural geographies and contributions about periods before 1900.

The social relationship that is renting has a long and contentious history. Tenants, be they urban renters or tenant farmers, have on many occasions throughout history mobilised collectively to make claims and force their landlords into concessions. While industrial action has received quite a lot of academic attention, the collective action of tenants has hitherto been somewhat neglected, with some noteworthy exceptions. While several necessary studies have covered such topics as the Irish Land Wars, the Glasgow Rent strike of 1915, the New York tenants' movement and tenant farmers in India, there is a lack of scholarly attempts to examine the phenomenon of tenant collective mobilisation and rent contention in an international perspective. This is something that our book will remedy. The anthology includes case studies of a particular region/country and comparative assessments that bring together several struggles or places. A total of 14 chapters, stretching geographically from the United States to New Zealand, deal with rent strikes and tenant organising from the early 20th century until today. The introduction ties these cases together and tries to situate the rent strikes within the broader historical context of labour history and social movements.

Maribel Rossello - Marta Serra: From neighbourhood movements to the transformation of the city: The Popular Plan of Santa Coloma de Gramenet (1970-1979)

On the northwest periphery of Barcelona, across the river Besos, lies Santa Coloma de Gramenet, a city of rural origin that, from the 1950s to the 1970s, amid industrialization and Francoist developmentalism, experienced a growth in population of 600% and an unprecedented increase in housing. Starting in 1970, this rapid densification, which affected the whole of Barcelona's periphery and especially the neighbourhoods on both sides of the Besos river, led the predominantly migrant and working-class population to organize itself to denounce the deficits in facilities and public space in its built environment. In a climate of political repression, major citizen mobilizations prompted architects and urban planners who were politicized in clandestine parties to bring together the demands and to present, in diagnostic form, a series of technical allegations about the city planning of that moment (1976 Barcelona General Metropolitan Plan). All of this was materialized in the Plan Popular (People's Plan), a project drafted in 1978 that, in hopes of being implemented by the first democratic local government (1979), outlined the necessary interventions to achieve a spatially just and inclusive city.

Our contribution aims to investigate, based on one of the most paradigmatic and successful cases such as the Santa Coloma Plan Popular, the role of the neighbourhood movement in the transformation and dignification of neighbourhoods and cities. Neighbourhoods and cities that are initially groups of dwellings without any kind of services, often built in hidden places with cheap land or as a result of a speculative densification process. These neighbourhood movements were initially articulated on the basis of specific demands related to everyday life, the need for care and vital services. Mobilisations and protests, often led by women, were an opportunity to become citizens. In this sense, we will focus on studying the scope of the Plan Popular, highlighting the achievements, frustrations and debates that led to its implementation. A situation that we want to extrapolate to the other neighbourhoods and cities that make up the urban periphery around the Besos river.

Collin Bernard: Italian Communists and the Central Business District: Milan, Social Movements, and Experiences of Local Government, 1971-1980

This paper will use a case study to examine the interconnection between the acceptance by left-wing political parties of market-based housing paradigms and the de-centering of social movements within these parties' theories of political change in the 1970s.

At the start of the 1970s, the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in Milan saw the housing movement in the popular city-center Garibaldi neighborhood as an example of how social movements could work together with institutional city politics. The Garibaldi neighborhood committee and the Communists not only voiced a similar critique of how real estate speculation and the spread of offices and luxury homes pushed workers out of the center. They also both advocated the use of law 167 to guarantee social housing in the area in response. The Committee showed how organized tenants at the neighborhood level could place pressure on the newly created neighborhood councils and city hall in a way that could help the Communists, in opposition, push for social housing and land-use planning controls. The Garibaldi movement featured prominently in the party's 1975 election campaign literature as a model of how popular struggles and city hall politics could work together. In that election, the communists became the largest party in the city and entered a governing coalition with the Socialist Party. Yet, once in power, the Party's mentions of the city-center neighborhood movement ended and so did calls for the use of law 167. Over the second half of the 1970s, the Communists came to accept the ideas that private developers were key in the provision of housing and that the city's economic health depended on the city center as a business hub, while the place of social movements became less important.

This case study will trace why the Communists came to accept these new perspectives on the center of Milan and how this policy change was interconnected with a shift in view of the agency of the worst off in political change. Understanding the place given to social conflict in solving urban problems is crucial starting point for understanding historical and contemporary municipal government-social movement interactions.

Helena Hill: Punk Music and Cinnamon Buns. From Everyday Resistance to Contentious Politics in 1980s Autonomous Centers

The 1980s saw the emergence of a series of protest movements in which a new generation of activists protested against right-wing politics as well as the welfare society. Many activists were influenced by the punk movement, anarchism and left libertarianism and they often met in so called "autonomous centers", which became parts of networks of activism. In many countries, resistance became contentious, but resistance also took the form of everyday practices. In Sweden, a series of autonomous centers arose where activists conducted both political activism and cultural activities. From the authorities' side, there was a perception that autonomous centers were good for young people who needed something to do in their spare time and the relationship between the autonomous centers and the authorities often seem to have been relatively good. In this study, I examine political activism at one autonomous center in Sweden, the Ultra house, were the Ultra cultural society carried out activities between 1980 and 1988. Source material consists of memoirs, information texts, media material and four interviews with members of Ultra. Based on theories of social movements, everyday resistance and contentious politics, ideas and practices in the Ultra house and the relation to the municipality are examined. The result shows that Ultra initially had a good relationship with the municipality and that their political activism can be understood as a form of everyday resistance. During the 1980s, however, the relationship with the municipality changed. At the end of the decade the municipality tried to terminate the association's contract on the house and in parallel the good relationship with the municipality became increasingly tense. At the same time the political activism also changed, becoming increasingly contentious. In the summer of 1988, the members occupied the Ultra house for three months and finally the house was burnt down.

Manel Guardia – Akihiro Kashima - José Luis Oyón - Enrique Tudela: Urban social movements, neighbourhood improvement policies and the reproduction of inequality in Barcelona's periphery

In the 1970s, the economic slump, the crisis of urban planning and the intense neighbourhood demands during the political crisis at the end of Franco's regime and the transition to democracy turned Barcelona into a paradigmatic case of reinvention of the city. The intervention on public space and the creation of facilities, an essential part of the so-called 'reconstruction of Barcelona', were the response to the pressure of urban social movements which, however, gradually lost protagonism in the face of the regulated channels of democratic politics and the priority of relaunching the urban economy through the Olympic bid. From the period prior to the 1992 Olympic challenge to the Forum of Cultures project in 2004, the strengthened leadership of the municipal authorities promoted citizen consensus around major projects, urban marketing and tourist attraction. A strategy that boosted the economy and international recognition, but which led to the gradual distancing of the citizenry.

From the end of the 1990s, the growth of inequalities, brought about by the new wave of migration and by the speculative bubble that made housing abruptly more expensive, gave new impetus to social movements and to voices critical of the so-called 'Barcelona model'. Having demonstrated the ineffectiveness of interventions limited to physical rehabilitation, the need for a comprehensive intervention became necessary. From the beginning of 2004, the new regional left-wing government tried to alleviate inequalities through the so-called Neighbourhood Law of 2004 (Llei de Barris) which, in line with policies developed in other European cities, proposed to dedicate specific attention to neighbourhoods with vulnerable populations and urban degraded, through the financing of transversal actions with the involvement of neighbourhood entities and associations. Given the numerous neighbourhood plans deployed by the regional government between 2004 and 2011 and the neighbourhood plans promoted by the Barcelona municipal government since 2016, it is necessary to take stock of their results.

Christina Hansen: The relationship between the migrant rights movement and the City of Malmö. Contestation, collaboration, and co-optation

With a population of just 350,000, Malmö hosts the most vibrant and visible social movement scene in Sweden today. The gentrification of the neighborhood Möllevangen, starting in the 1990s, triggered activism and created opportunities for urban social movements to claim territory and experiment with spatial justice. Malmö is also the city in Sweden considered particularity vulnerable regarding poverty, segregation, criminality, and high levels of immigration. Hence, processes of migration and racialization unique to the city play a major role in the formation of its movement scene. The positionality of Malmö in terms of power and wealth in Sweden and globally is also an important explanation for the creation of a strong activist scene in the city. To regenerate in the context of intensifying inter-urban competition, Malmö authorities have created a migrant-friendly narrative to counteract the story of a dirty de-industrialised city to attract foreign investment, tourism and increased consumption. What impact has this narrative had on social movements in the city? And what impact has the strong social movement scene had on the local government? This paper critically explores the relationship between local authorities in Malmö and the migrant rights movement, including pro-asylum and anti-racist activism, in the city in the decade of 2010-2020. It does so by examining the impact that this movement had on the municipality and vice versa, as well as processes of contestation, collaboration, and co-optation. The ultimate challenge for activists who fight for the rights of migrants (asylum seekers, the undocumented, and Roma migrants included), is that rights are primarily state based. Therefore, special attention is given to cases in which activists have successfully pressured the local government to introduce certain social rights for migrants.

Fredrik Egefur: "Subversive squatters, welfare state-anarchists or just a slightly radical cultural association? – 'The Winter Palace' in Malmö Sweden"

In the 1980s, a surge of squatting events unfolded across Europe, notably in cities like Amsterdam, London, West Berlin, and Copenhagen. This presentation concerns Malmö, Sweden, focusing on The Winter Palace (TWP), an anarchist association located in Malmö's port area. Malmö is Sweden's third-largest city, situated at the very south, just a bridge away from Copenhagen, Denmark, and the European continent.

Between 1987 and 1989 TWP served as a dynamic hub for diverse cultural and intellectual activities, including lectures, film screenings, radio broadcasts, concerts, and a pub and café. Their overarching objective was to establish a southern Swedish 'anarchist center', though practical political pursuits remained limited. Diverging from many European squatting groups, TWP operated under a legitimate demolition contract with Malmö's authorities, resulting in fewer confrontations. When the contract terminated in 1989, they opted for a peaceful departure, subsequently operating a café for a few years.

Drawing insights from interviews with former activists and untapped archives, this study delves into TWP's intrinsic identity dilemma: Were they genuinely an anarchist political entity or predominantly a radical cultural association? Moreover, it explores the notion of 'welfare state-anarchists', contextualizing their involvement within the broader socio-political tapestry of Sweden during the Social Democratic era, when even the far-left groups engaged inside the common structures of the society. It also asks questions about relations between a social movement and the local municipality, which in TWP's case differed greatly from the hectic scene in Copenhagen.

In sum, my main focus is to investigate why the Swedish autonomous scene in Malmö took a different path than their friends in other European cities and how urban relations played out. Additionally, it investigates the relatively under-researched dimensions of the activists' class and gender backgrounds.

Asma Mehan: Urban Dynamics in Tehran's Digital Dissent

Situated at the heart of Tehran, Azadi and Enqelab squares not only function as epicenters for social mobilizations but also encapsulate Tehran's intricate amalgamation of political history and urban-social dynamics. This proposed research aims to critically examine the role and influence of digital platforms, specifically Twitter and Instagram, in shaping the protest paradigms within these historically charged urban spaces. Key areas of inquiry include the evolving interrelation between Tehran's physical urban infrastructure and emergent digital narratives of resistance, the inherent challenges faced by digital activists navigating Tehran's unique socio-political topography, and the implications of exogenous variables, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, on this digital-urban interface.

The methodological framework for this research integrates a mixed-methods approach. Qualitative data will be extracted from in-depth interviews with activists, specialists in digital communication, and urban historians, providing a nuanced understanding of lived experiences and perceptions. Simultaneously, a rigorous content analysis of protest-related social media posts will furnish quantitative insights, further enhanced by geospatial analyses, enabling a comprehensive mapping of digital activism's intersectionality with urban locales. The overarching objective is to contribute an academically robust perspective on the dialogic relationship between Tehran's historical urban spaces and the cutting-edge tools of digital activism, offering a deeper understanding of resistance in an increasingly interconnected world.

Bart Tritsmans: The city through emerald glasses: conflicting discourses on liveability in 1970s Antwerp

The premise of this session, that municipalities often draw on social movement rhetoric to reinvent and promote cities, will be examined in the decade after 1968, when in the wake of international protest, social movements in Antwerp addressed the liveability and the urban dwellers' right to the city. I will closely examine city council meetings, city magazines and the publications of the emerging social movements to unravel how discourses from action groups infiltrated policy language, public opinion and local media and vice versa. By means of this case study, I aim to contribute to the understanding of the complex interplay between urban authorities and social movements.

Pal Brunnström – Matilda Svensson – Devin Baaring: Claiming space by making a fuss – Malmö's LGBTQ-movement 1971-1981

After a slow start in the 1950s and 1960s, the Swedish LGBTQ-movement took of in the 1970s. In doing so, it also changed its practices. Up till then, the LGBTQ-movement had been secretive, protecting the integrity and privacy of its members. In the 1970s, the movement was to a high degree focusing on claiming its place in the urban space, in media, and in political debate.

With the example of Malmö, we will explore the early organisational efforts made, the clubs and meeting places organised, as well as the influence and interconnectedness with LGBTQ-organisations and venues in nearby Copenhagen. We also explore how the emerging movement negotiated and co-existed with other organisations in the city. The LGBTQ-movement was closely connected to other political and social movements of the era, many of them radical leftist, and struggled to be included in the activities and spaces created by these movements. Many of these activities by the LGBTQ movement focused on visibility and normalisation of the presence of LGBTQ persons. Also prominent in the activities by the LGBTQ-movement is the struggle to be included in the political debate and in media coverage, especially demanding police protection from violence and harassment. These efforts were in many cases was met by ignorance and hostility by official representatives.

The end of the period is defined by the beginning of the AIDS-pandemic, radically changing the conditions for both LGBTQ-life and organisations.

Eline Inghelbrecht – Koenraad Danneels: Mediating socio-ecological struggles: citizen organizations and their journals as arenas for spatial and environmental discussions

Brussels of the 1970s was characterized by large-scale 'modernist' redevelopment projects that fundamentally reshaped the urban landscape, inducing a wave of citizen mobilisation aimed at protecting the historical urban fabric as well as its green infrastructure. In historiography, this mobilisation has been framed as an aesthetic debate in which alternative design proposals were introduced to criticise modernist urbanism, ignoring the arenas in which these debates took place, while also sidestepping questions on environmental justice. However, at a time when public participation in urban planning was still absent, citizen organisations -such as Inter-Environnement Bruxelles (IEB), who were specifically concerned with environmental questions- served as intermediaries between urban residents and the local government in developing new notions of the 'liveable' urban environment.

This paper explores the strategies employed by IEB as mediator in the urban debate on environmental questions, facilitating participatory approaches that enabled urban residents to articulate their demands through alternative design proposals, and giving politicians a forum to react to these proposals. Specifically, this paper will look at how publications of IEB, the bi-weekly journal 'la Ville et l'Habitant', provided a platform for imagining urban alternatives and fostering dialogue between urban residents and the government. By including the journal as a mediating forum in between government and citizen in the historiography, this paper reevaluates the urban debate in 1970s Brussels and introduces notions of ecology and environmental justice in discussions on modernist urbanism. Bridging the domains of planning history, social movement history, and environmental justice, this paper moreover contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the role of citizens' organisations in constructing an image of the liveable city in alliance with governmental actors.

Jovana Janinovic: Multiple temporalities of heritage activism: Post-socialist city between performance and performativity

The paper explores the role of urban grassroot movements in production and recuperation of (previously unacknowledged) heritage and different temporalities and political articulations of heritage defence activism. Using the case study method, the paper particularly addresses the evolution of the urban movement in defence of socialist modernist heritage in contemporary Montenegro and the slow heritagisation as opposed to the wide and rampant repertoire of urban contention. Focusing on the events following the announcement of the construction of the 12-floor glass office tower in the immediate proximity of the iconic modernist hotel "Podgorica", degenerating the riverbank landscape, the paper theorizes capacity of urban activism in contemporary post-socialist city to activate heritage dynamics and leverage urban memories as a tool of cultural control. By tracing the genealogy of the movement and its political, cultural, and social repercussions, the paper provides ample evidence of both the emancipatory potential of social activism and the use of political performativity as a tool for settling heritage debates and urban conflicts. The aim is to go beyond purely tracing the repertoire of contention and interpreting frames of urban conflict, and question changing social, cultural, and political artculations and visions of heritage and landscape. It interrogates how heritage discourse has been used as a political mobilization device and, in turn, how urban activism symbolically revalues previously marginalised architectural sites and memories. In that sense, it aims to unravel multiple temporalities of civic-led heritagization projects – on the one hand slow and untimely political decisionmaking, where official inscription in heritage register occurrs at a point where it was no longer possible to mitigate the degradation of the site, and on the other rampant cultural instrumentalization of place, symbolically re-activating mnemonic and architectural values of the building. Taken together, the results of this study contribute not only to better understanding of contemporary Montenegrin urbanity and cultural re-appropriations of modernist architecture, but also to the advancement of critical urban reflections on post-socialist societies, shedding light on youth urban movements, performative governance, and heritage-from-bellow as framing elements of contemporary urban processes in post-socialist city.

Johan Pries – Erik Jönsson: From grassroots commons in crisis to urban, public places? The Swedish People's parks in the long downturn of organized labor

Seemingly neglected post-industrial spaces have often become crucial assets for movements seeking to inscribe new commons and public places in the urban fabric. Appropriating abandoned "Brachen" landscape or older factory complexes has allowed movements a foothold to build an urban world that is theirs. However, also movements clearly connected to industrialization, most notably the labor movement, crafted urban, public geographies that have often been left in disarray by post-industrial abandonment. Scrutinizing the partial demise and current life of the many hundreds of People's Parks built by organized labor throughout Sweden during the 20th century, we in this presentation ask how an increasingly weaker labor movement's public infrastructure has been re-interpreted in the last four decades. In particularly we want to consider how ever-weaker grassroots geographies of commoning are today reinterpreted as public in new ways, but also how they fare as local articulations of public heritage and the ways in which political memories at these sites can resurface in contentious manners.

M41 Challenges of Urban Recovery: Ukrainian Cities

Main chair: Dr Tetiana Vodotyka, Kyiv School of Economics

1st Co-chair: Dr Markian Prokopovych, Durham University

Short abstract

This session will consider the challenges of urban recovery of cities most affected by the war in Ukraine situated on both sides of the war front. Ultimately, broader issues, such as the need for a redefinition of urban recovery and the meaning of the city and a home will also be addressed.

Keywords: urban planning, sites of memory, war zones, city as home, emotional contexts of recovery, refugees.


Ukraine's recovery; comparative urban studies; definitions in urban history; memory; migration.

Session content

This session aims to bring together expertise on Ukrainian cities of historians and others working in urban studies. In particular, it will consider prospects and challenges of urban recovery of cities most affected by armed conflict as part of the war. What historical lessons from Ukraine's past and from cities that survived wars in other geographical regions might be useful for urban planners as they think ahead about urban recovery of cities of eastern and southern Ukraine? Asking this question inevitably leads to thinking about cities on both sides of the war front and the artificial and changing boundary that currently divides them. However, this also leads to broader issues, such as the need for a redefinition of what constitutes urban recovery and, ultimately, what constitutes a city and a home. While many cities were profoundly damaged by Russia's unprovoked and indiscriminate strikes on their civilian infrastructure, residential districts, and key cultural landmarks – and were also subject to massive population flows of refugees and temporarily displaced persons - there are also cities that were so destroyed that they can be considered as no longer existing, except perhaps for the remaining street grid. If anything, they are sites of mourning and grief, rather than sites of life. Nevertheless, they persist as memories, both as sites of their populations' resistance and resilience, and much less heroic ones, of fractured lives, lost homes and of their denizens' complex, conflicting, and changing attitudes towards their homeland and the aggressor. Such cases, unique as they are in twenty-first century Europe, are by no means unusual in history. What is a city, what is the limit beyond which its very existence is no more than memory, and what exactly is the meaning of recovery in such cases? Furthermore, survivors often speak of their cities as 'lost homes' and some among them have also found 'new homes' in other cities; what is the meaning of 'home' and where are its physical and psychological boundaries? Is home where one's historic homeland, is it rather where the immediate family and closest friends are, or is it where one recognises one's cultural markers, such as sites, smells or cultural practices? If the answer is the latter, should planners not begin to incorporate these aspects in their visions for future Ukrainian cities?


Oksana Barsynova: The Role of Museums in Urban Recovery

Like cities in a more general sense, museums are at risk of destruction, damage, and (partial) loss of collections during wartime. To save their collections and staff from these risks, museums evacuate collections, sometimes disperse their teams, and sometimes lose professionals permanently. The recovery of a museum involves many different factors from people, works, buildings to values that bring the physical and the ideological together. These values in a museum are usually formed in dialogue with the urban community. The wartime experience, the losses and traumas suffered by people, institutions and cities require a rethinking and a new ethics of these practices.

Usually, the main platform where the dialogue between the audience and the institution takes place is the exhibition space. The museum's collection and the meanings and messages it conveys to the community become the subject of discussion. The recovery of the museum is to some extent connected with a new approach of the collection, which emerges in connection with the changes that the city and its people have experienced. In this context, museums face the following challenges: the need to (re-)define criteria for cultural heritage, as well as to address decolonization, the representations of memory(s) and the multiplicity of experiences and national identities, and the issue of museums' accessibility for different groups. To address these challenges, the museum organizes scientific interdisciplinary seminars and roundtables that problematize issues of identity, memory and heritage, encourages ethnic communities (e.g. Crimean Tatars) to research the collection, holds meetings with broader audiences to discuss controversial phenomena or works of art, and organizes mini-exhibitions, artist talks, and presentations on gender and inclusivity. These activities bring the museum and its collection into the public discourse, helping society to recognize the changes it is undergoing.

Oleksandr Okhrimenko: Emotional heritage of Ukrainian cities and towns

The paper is built around the concept of emotional heritage as a live city experience(s) that is shaped by its inhabitants as well as visitors who reflect on Ukraine at the time of war. Evocative city space in the aftermath of the war will be the main challenge for the authorities, communities, museum professionals, and tourists. As shown on the examples of interviews and social media commentary, the idea of changing a home is frustrating both for people who stayed in the city during the war and for those who became migrants. As demonstrated by the historical evidence of previous epochs, as well as by research on Ukrainian migrants in contemporary Istanbul, feeling 'at home' abroad for Ukrainian refugees has traditionally been their way of integrating into a new society.

On the other hand, emotional tourism is a way Chornobyl has attracted many visitors in recent years. In the same vein, the international media has already formed images of the small towns around Kyiv that were subject to particularly gruesome war crimes, which may become tourist places after the war. The challenge for the local communities is not to become victims in the eyes of visitors and to avoid the situation when the successful story of recovery would be confusing and contradictory. This is why evoking strong negative emotions in museums and in museified city areas damaged by the war also needs to involve the best world's practices. It is necessary to be aware of the challenges that simplistic narratives of recovery may pose to Ukrainians' self-understanding as a post-war nation and its international position.

Natalia Otrishchenko: Professional Autonomy during and after the War: Assembling Expertise for Recovery

On November 16, 2021, architects gathered in Lviv, Ukraine, for a peaceful protest against the adoption of the draft of law No. 5655, "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Reforming the Sphere of Urban Development." The head of the Lviv Regional Union of Architects, Mykola Sheremeta, stated that this document was "an attempt to destroy the architect's role in the society because it transfers too great powers from the society to the largest (oligarchic, monopolistic) developers of the state". According to publicly circulated comments from architects and planners, the draft law had two significant problems: it did not provide a space for public participation in urban development, and it gave too much power to developers. The third, most crucial concern, which forced architects to the streets of many Ukrainian cities in mid-November 2021 was a challenge to their professional autonomy.

The full-scale Russian aggression caused massive destruction in the social lives and materialities of the Ukrainian cities and villages, and the discussions about post-war recovery started almost immediately after February 24, 2022. The issue of public participation, the controversies around urban planning reform and the growing role of developers forced architectural professionals to rethink the sources of their expertise and the community they were implicitly referencing in their practice. The paper reflects on the "Problem of Legitimacy" versus the "Problem of Extension" dilemma in urban planning (Collins, Evans 2007) in the context of post-war recovery of Ukrainian cities. It explores the idea of the production of ignorance (Slater 2021) in urban research and the implicit assumptions that guide our thinking about the good life in the city.

Hryhoriy Seleshchuk: Restoring the urban environment in the context of humanitarian crises

The military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has caused large-scale destruction of residential buildings and infrastructure in many cities. The process of restoring the urban environment began immediately after the liberation of some of the occupied territories. It involved a variety of stakeholders, including the Ministry of Reconstruction, local governments, UN agencies, international NGOs, and civil society institutions in Ukraine. In total, 506 foreign and Ukrainian organisations are involved in the UN-coordinated response to date.

Caritas Ukraine has become one of the most important actors in the restoration of private housing and urban infrastructure. This type of assistance to war victims has become a component of a broader programme to overcome the humanitarian crisis, including food security, access to water and sanitation, psychosocial support for victims and general efforts towards the stabilisation of their situation. The impact of Caritas' work on the development of local communities should be noted separately. The key approach has been to develop the community's capacity for self-sufficiency through strengthening social cohesion. Caritas designs its assistance programmes in such a way that, over time, the community could independently address a wide range of issues of its existence.

Tetiana Vodotyka: Reconstructing Ukraine: The Role of Academic Community

Urban history as a research field is in the process of change in Ukraine: institutions and their leaders, projects, and other initiatives are experiencing challenges caused by the war, such as the loss of staff, staff burn-outs, the loss of physical space, and the lack of resources. They are trying to adapt to the needs of the reconstruction. However, the expectations from them are also incredibly, almost impossibly high.

Hardly any expertise brought from the outside would take root without taking into consideration the local context. This is where academic institutions step in and help to adapt and\or contextualise cases, to educate, and to lead in the way of urban reconstruction. Their main role is to envision the ideas and values of reconstruction that would grow in the Ukrainian context and would help Ukrainians in gaining subjectivity and sovereignty – in the sense of being able to envision, decide, plan, and implement the plans. The academic community is the one to learn from others, to bring in knowledge, and to help reconstruction plans develop and live. The subjectivity and agency of the academic community is particularly powerful in education. While the community is only beginning to take its first proactive steps with respect to urban reconstruction, many more researchers who are outside of Ukraine could contribute in the future through returning and bringing back new contacts, practices, experiences and skills – and by consequence by creating a new quality of Ukrainian research.

Myroslava Savisko: Agency of local self-governments: potential challenges for recovery

The decentralization reform in Ukraine is widely regarded as one of the most successful initiatives implemented since 2014. It has also emerged as a pivotal factor contributing to the nation's resilience in the face of Russia's invasion (Keudel and Huss, 2023, Rabinoych et al, 2023).

Conversely, there is a growing chorus of concerns voiced by various stakeholders regarding the potential hazards associated with centralization (Burkovskiy and Umland, 2023). This raises pertinent questions regarding the involvement and influence of local governmental bodies. To what extent do local self-governments actively participate and wield influence in the planning of recovery processes and other relevant matters? Are there established mechanisms and platforms through which local self-governments ensure that their perspectives are not only heard but also given due consideration? Furthermore, is there a sufficient capacity at the local level to effectively strategize and execute post-conflict recovery efforts?

The Center of Sociological Research, Decentralization, and Regional Development of Kyiv School of Economics Institute is presently engaged in research aimed at elucidating the effects of full-scale warfare on the collaborative and communicative practices between local self-governments and such stakeholders as oblast military administrations, various entities responsible for recovery processes at the central level, international donors etc. The current research findings indicate that the level of "agency" exhibited by local self-governments is contingent upon various factors including socio-economic, geographical and political.

It is worth noting that the issue of limited capacities is a common thread across all regions, thereby underscoring the imperative need for comprehensive policies at the national level aimed at fostering cohesion specifically between rural and urban communities.

M42 Urban HGIS and beyond. Exploring the possibilities and limitations of Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) for research in urban history

Main chair: Iason Jongepier, Prof. Dr., University of Antwerp / State Archives in Belgium

1st Co-chair: Rogier van Kooten, Dr., Utrecht University (N.W. Posthumus Institute) / University of Antwerp

Short abstract

This session will explore urban HGIS infrastructures and their application as a „historical laboratory"; in which researchers can analyse, experiment, ask new questions and test hypotheses using „Big Data of the Past".

Keywords: HGIS, Big Data, Spatial Analysis, Computational Methods


Digital Humanities, Spatial Humanities, Urban History

Session content

In 2010, the leading book „The Spatial Humanities. GIS and the future of humanities scholarship"; highlighted the potential of digital spatial techniques - Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - for historical research [1]. Large amounts of data of various kinds and origins can become comparable and analysable through location. This would result in new research questions and perspectives, as well as a new interpretation of spatial data. More generally, large amounts of historical data (spatial or otherwise), also known as "Big Data of the Past" can make it possible to revive historiography using computational techniques. Partly prompted by these debates about the greatest potential of digital techniques, but also driven by smaller-scale projects based on smaller data sets, digital (spatial) techniques have seeped into the world of urban history. Within this, Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) have played an important, formative role. Through this technology, maps are digitally accessed and enriched with additional data, such as tax information or population registers allowing for a wide range of spatial analyses. In recent years, much time and energy has been spent on digitising and enriching huge amounts of historical map material, not in the least inspired by e.g. Time Machine Europe [2]. This has given scientists (as well as the wider public) access to this rich historical material, creating a historical laboratory in which the researcher can analyse, experiment, ask new questions and test hypotheses in a much faster way than before, in order to arrive at new scientific insights [3].

This specialist session will explore urban HGIS infrastructures and the (innovative) new research in urban history that they have facilitated. The session welcomes papers on any urban HGIS and on any topic in (spatial) urban history but asks explicitly to reflect on questions as:
To what extent have the promises and possibilities surrounding these digital (often spatial) methods actually been realised? Have new research methods and scenarios presented themselves according to the (newly) available technology and „Big Data"?
Has urban HGIS been able to present results that would not have been found without turning to (large) spatial datasets?

When envisioning a well-filled and diverse session we hope to inspire researchers and highlight new potentialresearch avenues, to reflect critically on what has (or has not) been enabled by the time consuming task of building HGIS infrastructures and to sketch a way forward towards an urban history that embraces the possibilities of a high-tech exploration of the "Big Data of the Past".

[1] D.J. Bodenhamer, J. Corrigan en T.M. Harris (red.), The Spatial Humanities. GIS and the future of humanities scholarship (Bloomington, 2010); [2] [3] Dossier: „Digitale stadsgeschiedenis, de belofte ingelost"; (Stadsgeschiedenis 17/2, 2022)


Mirella Izzo: H-GIS for Digital Urban History: The Case of CIRICE

This proposal represents the initial outcome of my doctoral thesis work, which aims to develop a computerized system. Starting from the historical and iconographic analysis of parks commissioned during the Bourbon reign in Campania, it employs GIS software to analyze and monitor the delicate historic green heritage using the established methodology of Digital Urban History. The projects developed by the Interdepartmental Research Center on the Iconography of the European City at the Federico II University, in conjunction with the growing bibliography in the field, have contributed to shaping an innovative approach that enables the management of bibliographic, archival, and cartographic data through the application of information technologies to historical contexts.

Beginning with the historical study of the Royal Site of Portici, and comparing it to other Bourbon commissions in Campania and Spain, overlaying data from written and iconographic sources with geospatial data allows for the visual representation of changes over time experienced by such a fragile heritage. This generates a comprehensive database containing bibliographic, historical, botanical, and architectural information about these parks, both in the past and the present.

Grigor Boykov: Pre-cadastral spatiotemporal model of urban tissue, architectural landmarks, and population distribution of Ottoman Plovdiv (Central Bulgaria)

Deriving inspiration from Benjamin Fraser's approach to urban geo-humanities, this paper perceives the city of Plovdiv in the Ottoman period as an entry point into a variety of human activities that take place within a build-in environment. The study attempts to compensate for some of the disciplinary limitations of traditional historical approaches by bringing into closer interaction spatial, architectural, and population data in a uniform georeferenced digital model of the city, thus allowing an in-depth analysis of changes across time and space. Moreover, with the larger context of urbanism in Southeastern Europe in mind, the paper seeks to demonstrate a model that allows precise geospatial analysis in GIS environment for the majority of the cities in the region in spite of the lack of contemporary cadastral data.

The study rests on four major groups of sources: i) pre-cadastral detailed historical plans of the city (1:4000) from the Ottoman and early post-Ottoman periods; ii) standing and vanished architectural monuments from the Ottoman period; iii) visual sources, primarily historical urban landscape photographs from the second half of the 19th c.; iv) a large variety of Ottoman documentary and narrative sources. The backbone of the spatial model originates from a detailed feature extraction and georeferencing of visual data. The geodatabase is supplemented with information about non-extant architectural landmarks and population data from a series of Ottoman tax registers stretching from the 15th to the 17th c. Thanks to the conservative microtoponymy of the city that persisted throughout the Ottoman period, the polygons of the urban quarters' areas are drawn up with satisfactory precision, thus allowing observations over the development of urban tissue, the changing population densities across time and space, and the relative size of urban plots.

Léa Hermenault: Small is beautiful. Insights from a small-scale HGIS experience conducted on public health policies in late medieval Ghent

The ERC-Project "Healthscaping Urban Europe: Bio-Power, Space and Society, 1200-1500" (n°724114), aimed to document, analyse and disseminate knowledge about preventative public healthcare between 1200-1500 in European cities. In the framework of this project, we built a HGIS in order to document public health strategies in the medieval city of Ghent.

We opted for a light and agile process which consists of mapping one source after the other according to the needs of our research questions (paving expenses, public health related ordinances, etc.), and thus only progressively developed the reconstituted topographical grid of the city. Despite its artisanal character, this smaller-scale process has a lot of advantages we would like to introduce through this paper.

We will show that besides providing the research team with rapid results (new perspectives about (old) historical questions or new research questions), this kind of process enables the researcher to stay as close to the original document as possible: the mapping model is adapted to the source and not constrained by a pre-existing topographical framework, which helps both to preserve the emic experience of space and to avoid condensing the source to its content. We will demonstrate that, thanks to its flexibility, this process is not simply a pragmatic solution to research but also to investigate urban historical dynamics.

Janna Aerts: Letting Lives Live On: Integrating Life Narratives into a Bigger Web of Linked Urban GIS Data

In this paper, we will illustrate how an interdisciplinary approach combining urban history with life narrative studies can add valuable insight in how people use and experience the city. Recent decades have seen an increasing focus on not only the city itself, but also on its citizens: urban studies and urban history are paying more and more attention to how ordinary people 'use' the city and are affected by it. Our goal is to explore the lived experiences of the city of Amsterdam through the use of first-hand life narratives written by local inhabitants, which enables us to add an extra layer of personal reflections and representations of the city to the already existing urban research. This will offer further insight in what historical Amsterdam meant to people's lives and how it was experienced by the people living in, with and through the city.

"Any event in your life can be geo-and time-located [...]. Everyone's life story intersects with countless others at every moment, creating ever denser webs that document the complexity of the human experience.".1 With the help of digital tools such as GIS (Geographic Information Systems) we aim to apply these ideas in a digital interactive map of Amsterdam life narratives. We have carefully collected, digitized and transcribed historical ego documents written in and on Amsterdam. Additionally, all references to people, organizations, dates and places have been annotated and, where possible, linked through Linked Open Data (LOD) to an entity in the geo-infrastructure of the Amsterdam Time Machine.2 The use of GIS allows for an appealing visualization of the Amsterdam life narratives, making it easier to discern patterns and clusters of these 'denser webs' within and across people's stories. It enables us to visually illustrate how the city figures in people's life and which role urban space takes in their daily experiences.

Moreover, due to GIS, this personal layer of the city can be combined with layers of already existing statistical and cultural data on historical Amsterdam, making it possible to switch between the individual level and the historical context by bringing everything together in one interdisciplinary map. Incorporating the life narratives into the Amsterdam geo-infrastructure through LOD gives us the benefit to easily enrich our data with existing connected research within the same geographical area and enriching those in turn. From a sustainability point of view, we argue that this geo-infrastructure gives us a space to preserve our research data, connecting it for future use and making it more valuable for interdisciplinary research. The biggest limitation so far is that the infrastructure is still in development and there is no streamlined process of integrating new data yet, which might ask for a lot of curation. Nevertheless, we wish to demonstrate how small research projects also benefit from incorporation within larger digital geo-infrastructures to provide new perspectives on the complexity of human experience in the historical urban context.

Kalliop Amygdalou - Valia Gialia - Athanasia Antonatou: Mapping the 1923 Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey: Data generation, data analysis and the contribution of HGIS in challenging national historiographies

The ERC StG HOMEACROSS ('Space, memory and the legacy of the 1923 Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey') records and studies the spatial footprint of a massive mutual displacement that took place a hundred years ago between Greece and Turkey. As dictated and enforced by the Lausanne Treaty, between 1922-1924, 1,2 million Greek Orthodox and 400,000 Muslims had to cross the Greco-Turkish border in order to help 'homogenise' the respective nation-states. On both sides, the refugees were housed in the homes of outgoing populations or in new housing. This project has generated large datasets regarding the built remains of this mutual displacement, both by extracting spatial information from historical archival material (oral history accounts of the refugees describing the villages they left behind, historical maps, mass housing diagrams etc) and through extensive surveying on the field. It is therefore creating a large register of built heritage relating to this displacement, through the generation, mapping and analysis of smart (structured, clean and complex) data. This presentation starts by briefly evaluating the complex process of data generation, which entailed a long and collective process of engagement with  questions of ontology, knowledge structures, representativity, reliability etc. It discusses how digital data can reinforce existing inequalities or, in contrast, challenge current historiographies by undoing silences. Moving to data analysis, the paper will present unforeseen connections and patterns emerging from the spatial datasets, and representations that allow new interpretations. Last but not least, based on our research findings, the paper will address the limitations of HGIS and the necessity of constant critical rethinking and reformulation of its potentials and goals.

Anneleen Arnout: Mapping emotions. Exploring the integration of subjective experiences in HGIS (Amsterdam, 1850-1930)

In recent years, the investments in large HGIS-environments have proven their value, especially for the socio-economic histories of cities. The first data to be integrated in these environments did after all come from sources that tend to be used mostly by socio-economic historians, such as census records, tax records and commercial directories. More recent projects have tried to widen the scope by including more qualitative data such as building plans or images, but also, under the umbrella of deep mapping, discursive and imaginative geographies. Scholars have, however, only just begun to explore the potential of HGIS for studying subjective experiences.

In this paper I want to build on these first experiments by exploring the possibilities and pitfalls of trying to map historical emotions. It makes sense to try and integrate this type of data into HGIS environments: if we are to study emotions and experiences in a fundamentally historical way, taking into account the spatial context is necessary. However, such a task is easier said than done. Much has been written about the historicity of experiences, emotions and senses and about the danger of applying contemporary categorization systems to the analysis of affective phenomena in the past (Boddice & Smith 2020). What is more, cities were home to a myriad of feelings, emotions and experiences that are not only difficult to analyse but also to classify. Using the emotional experiences related to asphalt paving in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Amsterdam as my case study, I aim to explore

  1. How subjective experiences can be mapped using GIS.
  2. Whether my insight into the emotional history of asphalt paving changes by (a) mapping it and (b) layering it on top of other spatialized data
  3. Whether adding this type of data as a new layer fundamentally alters the (potential of) HGIS for scholarly research.

Anna-Lena Schumacher, B.A: Extension of historical GIS-research through geosemantic contextualisation. Combining GIS and Semantic Web technologies in comparative urban history

The introduction of geoinformation systems into historical urban research has opened up a whole new range of possibilities in recent years. In addition to new visualisation possibilities, there are also new data-driven analysis methods. Alongside the change in media that has taken place, there is also the possibility of a change in methods. In many cases, however, the full potential of these possibilities is not used. HGIS is often used primarily for visualisation, and the data behind it is sometimes not used at all and also not made available.

One of the great potentials of geoinformation systems is spatial analysis. Yet the latter does not meet all the requirements of urban history, especially when it concerns comparative analyses, because contextualization, functions of places and dynamics cannot be represented.

In the HiSMaComp project, 6 casestudies of different town types are being analysed comparatively. The methodological research question is: How can the topography and morphology of historical urban spaces be recorded and compared?

As part of the project, an ontology will be created (which is based on the HOUSe ontology), to record topographic objects in urban space, their function, associated geometries, etc. over time in a structured manner.

The direct integration of this ontology into the GIS results in a geosemantic contextualisation, through which geodata on the one hand and complex historical contextual information (semanticised historical location data) on the other hand can be queried and analysed together. By combining GIS and semantic web technologies, the complexity of the information to be processed can be increased so that deeper, multidimensional, and standardized comparative analyses become possible.


paper shows an exemplary analysis using a concrete example from the project, the case study Ochsenfurt. As part of this, the geodata infrastructure of the project is also briefly introduced. On the one hand, this includes the PostGres database used and its connection with the graph database, query options and the publication of the data and visualisations. On the other hand, the function of the event-based ontology is explained.

Ahmet Erdem Tozoglu: Spatial Analysis of Anatolian Travelogues: Unveiling Insights Through Digital Tools

Travelogues serve as invaluable resources for historical research, offering firsthand accounts of events, cultures, and societies, and providing valuable insights into the past. Unlike many official archival materials, they offer an unfiltered view of history, enabling historians to access insights that may not be available through other sources.

Anatolia, due to its strategic location, has been a destination for travelers since middle ages. These accounts offer researchers vivid and dynamic observations of daily life, a subject often left unexplored by traditional archival materials. Several years ago, the "Travelogues Travelers' Views" scientific project ( amassed a substantial corpus of visual and textual data related to travel culture in the Mediterranean basin. However, it lacked spatial analysis of the textual content.

A group of researchers, including myself, has undertaken a study on the spatial analysis of premodern travel and accommodation culture in Anatolia. Our research draws from travelogues and other archival resources to construct a narrative about travel culture. To achieve this, we employ many digital humanities tools, including content analysis, textual tagging, geographical and thematic mapping.

Within this context, our research raises critical questions about the role of Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) in spatial history: How can the representation of travelogues in digital environments extend beyond text search and simple route mapping? In what ways can textual examination of travelogues yield meaningful data for understanding historical accommodation methods, and more importantly, how can we create interactive spatial data that is accessible to web users?

In this paper, we will delve into the thematic and geospatial mapping techniques we employed in our research. We believe that the outcomes of our study will stimulate further investigations into travelogues within the field of digital humanities.

M43 Pre-Modern Cities: Inequality and the Urban Economy

Main chair: Dr Justin Colson, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

1st Co-chair: Professor Miri Rubin, School of History, Queen Mary University of London

2nd Co-chair: Professor Jan Dumolyn, University of Ghent

Short abstract

This session is designed to encompass the state of the art in social and economic scholarship of late medieval and early modern European cities. The incredibly rich urban archives of this period offer rich possibilities, but also methodological challenges. Papers in this session will showcase innovative methods and frameworks to explore economic lives and inequality.

Keywords: Medieval; Early Modern; Economic History; Social History; Inequality; Trade; Poverty; Merchants; Charity; Real estate


Late medieval and early modern cities; social and economic history; North Sea region; merchants and trade

Session content

The cities of Europe offer incredibly rich sources for the lives of a broad range of late medieval and early modern people, and have long been fertile territory for social and economic historians studying inequality and economic lives. Characteristic sources such as the records of citizenship, apprenticeship, urban taxation, property deeds and registers, urban courts and records of conflict, and testaments give historians the opportunity to investigate the economically diverse lives of urban dwellers in ways that are seldom possible for other sectors of pre-modern society. The major benefit of these sources – their often vast extent and relatively broad social range – can also create challenges for the historian.

New approaches both in terms of theoretical frameworks, and new digital techniques, have helped this field to prosper in recent years. Historians are conceiving of urban inequality in new ways – not only through axes of wealth and status, but in terms of gender, nationality, race, housing, literacy, and space. New access to digitised sources, and techniques from Geographical Information Systems to Social Network Analysis, have unlocked new perspectives on urban economies. Significant recent studies just within the last year have, for example, used digital approaches to examine the interrelationship of economic and spatial marginality (Berry, 2022); micro- and cultural examination of individual merchant careers (Soly, 2022); and the social mechanisms of industrial production (Stabel, 2022). Ongoing work continues to examine economic lives from ever more diverse and broadly framed perspectives, from inequality & social mobility, to social dimensions of artistic patronage, and the interplay of urban growth and gentrification.

This session is designed to encompass the state of the art in social and economic scholarship of late medieval and early modern cities. Drawing upon the success of the online Belgian-British Late Medieval seminar series, we are particularly keen to consider the cities of North Western Europe and the North Sea World, as well as broader comparisons across the continent. These seminars have been convened by experts at Queen Mary University of London and Ghent University to offer a supportive and inclusive online space to discuss the latest research in medieval urban history. We are particularly keen to receive papers addressing novel social and economic themes, or bringing new perspectives to established questions. We are also particularly keen to receive papers from early career researchers.


Wouter Ryckbosch: All at work? Tracing patterns of irregular labour in pre-industrial Belgium (1700-1800)

This paper aims to study the role of irregular or casual labour in the expansion of industrial production in the 18th-century Southern Low Countries (Belgium). Important questions in economic history crucially hinge on understanding changes in the supply and nature of work during the process of industrialisation. Anachronistic conceptions of male breadwinners and a reliance on quantifiable census data, have long led historians to focus primarily on adult male occupational titles and wages. In recent decades newer research has shown how important changes occurred also in the informal sphere of unpaid, domestic work, as well as in the area of irregular, casual and informal labour carried out by men, women and children alike. Although most historians would now recognize this insight, quantifying the contribution and effect of changes in irregular labour before and during the industrial revolution has proven largely elusive. Drawing on an extensive dataset of thousands of witness depositions recorded between 1700 and 1800, this article seeks to trace a) the gendered division of different types of labour activities before the industrial revolution, and b) document how it evolved in relation to expanding commerce and industrial output. Understanding the dynamics of irregular labour in a region where most urban labour remained strongly regulated by guilds will provide insight into the relationship between industrialisation and the transformation of work, as well as more specifically in the history of the relationship between patriarchal social relations and the development of capitalism in the early modern city.

Lennert Lapeere: Living in the suburbia of medieval Ypres. The urban fabric of the disappeared outer parishes of an industrial centre during the 13th and 14th centuries

During the 13th and early 14th centuries Ypres was one of the leading industrial centres in the production and selling of cloth. Its 40000 inhabitants lived not only in, but also well beyond the early 13th century fortifications, preferably along waterways and access routes. These suburban settlements consisting of four outer parishes were incorporated into urban jurisdiction by the end of the 13th century. The high diversity in population density, function and land use of the urban space such as industrial quarters, farmland, elite residences, hospitals, monasteries, parish churches, and public infrastructure reflects the economic vitality on the edge of the urban territory. This supports recent studies that proved the crucial role of subaltern space and suburbia in the economics of premodern towns (Clark & Menjot 2019).

This paper will address the unique infrastructure, economic role, and social relations of the suburban area of Ypres. Despite the destruction of the city archives in 1914, historical sources give an insight into the urban layout and social status of its inhabitants. Combined with the archaeological excavation of a substantial part of Saint Michael's outer parish and early modern cartographic sources the urban topography of the completely disappeared suburbs can be reconstructed and contributes to the understanding of urban suburbia in medieval Europe.

Arie van Steensel: Inequality, Mobility and Housing in Leiden, c. 1550-1599

One of the challenges to grasp the causes and effects of economic inequality in premodern European cities is its intersection with other forms of (social) disparities. Accounts of economic inequality in late medieval and early modern cities and towns generally rely on socio-topographical research or on a (spatial) analysis of fiscal records that provide information on the distribution of wealth and income. They demonstrate the structural socio-economic inequalities but not so much the social dynamics and spatial mobility behind them. This paper also takes the structural inequalities in the Dutch city of Leiden in the second half of the sixteenth century, but will tie this information to data on residential mobility which can be derived from census records. This raises two questions: first, to what extent can spatial mobility be taken as a proxy for social mobility and, second, what factors conditioned spatial mobility? The latter was at least strongly determined by housing market conditions, but probably also by migration and economic circumstances. In sum, this paper aims to integrate different aspects of late medieval urban society and economy in order to shed light on the impact of economic inequality on the life chances of individual urbanites. It aligns with recent efforts to develop micro-economic approaches to measure human well-being past and present.

Patryk Kuc: Between agriculture and trade. Small towns of Lesser Poland in the 16th century

The 16th century was one of the last stages of intensive development of the urban network in Lesser Poland, when the number of cities and towns grew rapidly. At that time, many small centres were established, often by noble families striving to increase their own prestige. In such towns, agriculture remained the dominant economic activity, stimulated by the granting of large areas of arable land and an increase in demand for grain on external markets. Polish historians have assessed in the past that such centres actually remained outside the wider market processes, differing from ordinary villages only in the possession of a foundation document. The aim of my presentation is to verify this judgement and attempt to demonstrate that small Polish towns in the 16th century could have developed craft activities and been active participants in trade - albeit, of course, to a limited extent. I will focus on the area of historical Lesser Poland, comprising the provinces of Kraków, Sandomierz and Lublin. I will base my analyses on various types of source materials: lustrations of royal estates, bills, tax registers and municipal records. I will seek to determine the size and vitality of urban trade and manufacturing. I will also seek to highlight the spatial aspect of the processes I observe, which I will do using spatial analysis methods and GIS technology.

Rachael Harkes: Debt practices and inequality in the Welsh Marches

Debt in the pre-modern urban sphere was not solely an economic venture: it reflected social, political, and legal norms, often particular to distinct regions. The area under examination here, the Welsh Marches, was distinct in each of those categories: an expansive region running from the north and south along the current border between Wales and England, and from east to west along the south coast of Wales. In the Marches, the social status of Welsh and English populations varied, depending on ever-changing political contexts (national and local), and the level to which enforcement of legal subjugation of Welsh inhabitants in towns was followed. It is in this fluctuating and politically complex situation that this paper will investigate the experience of inequality in Welsh-English debt transactions through the court records of market towns. Prior to the Act of Union in 1536, the Welsh did not have the same rights as the English. But in 1536, equality in law for both Welsh and English individuals was established. Did this legislation have a noticeable influence on Welsh-English debt cases in towns on the Welsh Marches? The plethora of surviving court records for 1518 to 1545 for Marcher market towns offers an opportunity to answer that question. Through a study of the practices of pledging, the frequency of Welsh-English debt cases, and the repayment of debt through goods (rather than coin), this paper will interrogate the assumed inequality of the Welsh population in the Marches during the late medieval and early modern period.

Jakub Wysmułek: Boundaries of Ethno-Religious Districts in Early Modern Lviv. The Study of Their Rigidity and Permeability

This presentation delves into the issue of ethno-religious district boundaries in the space of an early modern city. While city quarters inhibited by minorities were not always physically demarcated by walls or other visible markers, historical sources attest to their well-defined topographical boundaries. They served to ensure the personal, social and economic security of inhabitants and maintain the cultural "purity" of different ethno-religious groups coexisting within the city. Simultaneously, urban authorities incorporated these boundaries into their 'imagined cartographies' of a city for administrative and fiscal purposes. On the basis of municipal registers we are often able to reconstruct their confines, however, our knowledge regarding the actual flexibility and permeability of these boundaries remains limited.

The aim of my research is to analyze fluctuation of ethno-religious district boundaries within the context of early modern Lviv. To achieve this, a comprehensive examination of city tax registers spanning 55 years (1569-1624) was conducted. The remarkably well-preserved tax registers of the city allow us to track changes in property ownership and tenant families residing in these properties on an annual basis. While a meticulous mapping of individual houses listed in the registers on the city plan enables us to plot and analyze ongoing transformations in the landscape of multi-ethnic Lviv.

The persistence of multi-ethnicity was a defining characteristic of early modern Europe, notably manifesting at cultural frontiers subjected to colonization and within significant trade centers situated at the crossroads of extensive trade routes. Early modern Lviv, a thriving and diverse city located on the borderlands of Latin Europe, stands as an exemplary illustration of this socio-cultural phenomenon. It was home to four distinct ethno-religious communities: Roman Catholics, Orthodox Ruthenians, Armenians, and Jews. Each of these groups maintained a substantial presence within the city. They had their own separate districts within the city walls, where they established their temples and other communal institutions, such as hospitals, schools, and print houses. Their rights were protected by royal privileges and upheld through their respective communal representatives and autonomous legal systems. This makes social-spatial relationships in Lviv a valuable source of information about the rigidity and permeability of ethno-religious district boundaries in early modern city.

Leen Bervoets: The Social Life of Early Netherlandish Painting (1400-1550)

From the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the economic focus of the cities of the Low Countries shifted towards luxury goods industries. Concurrently, urban elites amassed increasing wealth, equalising the nobility in terms of affluence and social standing. This trend sparked a need for distinction, expressed, amongst other things, trough the acquisition of art objects. At the same time, a burgeoning middle class emerged, turning to the same consumption patterns as the elites. These specific social dynamics formed the basis of the efflorescence of the production of panel paintings by the Flemish Primitives. With this theory, formulated in the 1990s, Wim Blockmans reacted to the longstanding debate on the social context of Early Netherlandish Painting as its nature to be mainly noble or bourgeois. Almost thirty years later, this theory remains largely untested. "The Social Life of Early Netherlandish Painting" project aims to provide a comprehensive quantitative analysis of the social background of the individuals, families and institutions that were interested in investing in panel paintings in the Burgundian-Habsburg Low Countries between 1400 and 1550. The analysis assesses paintings as social aspects, examining how commissioning and ownership of panel paintings contributed to the processes of social mobility and distinction. To adress this multidimensional inquiry, the project employs quantitative analyses like Principal Component Analysis and Network Analysis. Within this paper, I will show the outcomes of this quantitative analysis considering the social background of the commissioners of Early Netherlandish Painting, by going into detail on axes like gender, social status, wealth and geographical location.

Laurentiu Radvan: Border towns and people on the social border: the Roma in Moldavian towns

The towns of the principality of Moldavia were on the border of Europe, developing in late Middle Ages a pattern of Central European influence. As in many urban centres in this part of the continent, the population was heterogeneous, made up of several social and ethnic categories. In addition to nobles (boyars), clergy, merchants and craftsmen, Romanians, Armenians, Greeks, Hungarians, Germans and Serbs, the population of the cities in Moldavia also included a fairly large group of Roma. The major difference between them and the Roma in other parts of Europe is that they were slaves, having this status from the 14th century until their liberation from slavery in the 1840s and 1850s. The Roma in late medieval Moldavian towns have certain particularities. Some were slaves of the prince and were mainly present in the capital, others depended on monasteries or boyars. The former lived on the outskirts and had occupations at the prince's court, the latter were scattered throughout the city, near their owners' residences. Given the situation of the sources, which neglect them, we propose to bring to light the situation of this category of people. In this paper we want to answer a few questions: how peripheral were the Roma in the cities? What occupations did they have, and were they only low-level occupations? What were their relations with other city inhabitants, were they tolerated and were there cases of discrimination? Were there only enslaved Roma or were there also free Roma? The research we have recently carried out in local archives allows us to provide an answer to these dilemmas, offering a new perspective on this frontier world for urban society.

Updated: 13. 05. 2024