Skip to main content

Elements of Historical Knowledge About Urban Spaces: Reflections on the Requirements for a Dynamic Map

  • 1010 Accesses

Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)

Abstract

Various interpretations of Barcelona’s urban space are presented in this paper in connection with the city’s key structural changes during the early modern period. In line with certain utilitarian perspectives, the contemporary actors at various points in time came up with diverse models of spatial structurisation. In addition to the apparently natural division of Barcelona into two parts, an administrative division into four quarters had been established since the Middle Ages. However, this division was not directly linked to the pre-dominant, binary interpretation. Both in descriptions of the city by German speaking authors and in artistic depictions, binary structurisations of the city remained in the forefront. However, alongside the dominant perception of the city as being divided along the inner city wall and the Ramblas, alternative interpretations made their appearance, based on the old Roman city wall or the city’s later extensions. Modern maps of historical space should not depict merely established and pre-dominant interpretations, but their task is also to present alternative and minority structurisations. In addition, there is an indication in this process of the danger which is inherent in the mapping of urban spaces: complete mapping of the historical city often gives the impression that the whole of the city space is covered by our knowledge. We are, however, confronted with huge informational gaps as far as the historical general image of the city is concerned. This is because generally only a select number of building types are depicted or described, or, alternatively, these depictions and descriptions refer only to a narrowly defined area. This information gap should also be recognized in maps portraying the historical city. Just as the representation of our knowledge is essential, it is also equally important to represent our information gaps.

Keywords

  • Urban Space
  • Partial View
  • City Wall
  • Historical City
  • Minority Structurisations

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-00993-3_10
  • Chapter length: 15 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-00993-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11

Notes

  1. 1.

    In addition, the demographic trends analysed by Manel Guàrdia Bassols (see his contribution in the present volume), demonstrate the vitality of what had been assumed to be a stagnating city.

  2. 2.

    Examples are: “It [Barcelona] is situated by the Mediterranean Sea and seems to be divided into two cities, one of which forms the inner city, which has high walls and four gates lead through these four walls corresponding to the four areas of the heavens and this part is called the Old Town. The other city is built around the Old Town and, likewise, has strong walls and solid towers and can be called the New Town.” (M. 1704: 461); “Actually, it [Barcelona] consists of three cities: the Old Town and the New Town, and the Barceloneta with its harbour. The New Town almost comprises the whole city as it encompasses the Old Town, whose walls are still completely intact in many places. The building of these walls is often attributed to the Romans because the Spaniards, who know very little about architecture and the Ancient World, ascribe everything to the Romans” (Loning 1844: 21).

  3. 3.

    The references to various 19th century copies of 18th century military maps in this article are based on my own work at the AHCB—Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona, (the city’s administrative archives) to which the copies have been bequeathed. In addition, this also refers to Barcelona’s interest in its own history in the context of the Catalonian Renaixença, which was crucial for the production of these copies.

References

  • All maps by The Cartographic Institute of Catalonia (ICC—Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya), Historic Archive of the City of Barcelona (AHCB—Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona) except Fig. 9 (by Wikimedia)

    Google Scholar 

  • Brotons i Segarra R (2008) La ciutat captiva. Barcelona 1714–1860. Albertí, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Busquets J (2004) Barcelona. La construcción urbanística de una ciudad compacta. Ediciones del Serbal, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Institut Municipal d’història de Barcelona (eds) (1995) Retrat de Barcelona. Barcelona, (cit.: CCCB/IMhB 1995)

    Google Scholar 

  • Galera M, Roca F, Tarragó S (1982) Atlas de Barcelona. Segles XVI–XX. La Gaya Ciencia, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia i Espuche A, Guàrdia i Bassols M (1986) Espai i societat a la Barcelona pre-industrial. Edicions de la Magrana, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • García Espuche A (1998) Un siglo decisivo. Barcelona y Cataluña 1550–1640. Alianza, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Guàrdia M, Monclús FJ, Oyón JL (1994) Atlas histórico de ciudades europeas. Salvat, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Loning A (1844) Das spanische Volk in seinen Ständen, Sitten und Gebräuchen mit Episoden aus dem carlistischen Erbfolge Kriege. Hahn, Hannover

    Google Scholar 

  • M. J (1704) Der Schau-Platz von Spanien und Portugall, auf welchem Zweyen Absätzen bey einem jeden vorläufig die Staats- und Kriegs-Geschichte und dann die Beschreibung fast aller darinnen befindlichen Festungen und Plätze aufgeführt, mit Contrefaiten und wahren Grund-Rissen annehmlicher gemacht werden: Dem curieusen Leser zur Beurtheilung der Affairen dieser Zeit sehr dienlich. Leuther, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Montaner C, Nadal F (eds) (2010) Aproximacions a la història de la cartografia de Barcelona. Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Perelló Ferrer AM (1996) L’arquitectura civil del segle XVII a Barcelona. Publicacions de l’ Abadia de Montserrat, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  • Vilar P (1973) Un moment critic en el creixement de Barcelona: 1774–1787. In: Vilar, Pierre. Assaigs sobre le Cataluña del segle XVIII, Curial, Barcelona, pp 43–55

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ekkehard Schönherr .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Schönherr, E. (2014). Elements of Historical Knowledge About Urban Spaces: Reflections on the Requirements for a Dynamic Map. In: Rau, S., Schönherr, E. (eds) Mapping Spatial Relations, Their Perceptions and Dynamics. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-00993-3_10

Download citation