EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS19. Micro-Geographies of the City, c.1600-1900: Spaces and Places, Practices and Representations

Coordinators: Alida Clemente (, Dag Lindström (, Jon Stobart (

Cities can be conceived at a grand scale: mapped on a single sheet, planned by a central authority and transformed by grandiose schemes of expansion or renewal. Alternatively, and arguably more productively, they can be viewed as a collage of smaller units, including communities, blocks, streets and buildings. Large-scale transformation then becomes the product of myriad many smaller changes driven by the everyday routines of city life that, in de Certeau’s, words ‘give their shape to spaces. They weave places together’. This mutual inter-relationship between the actions of individuals and the form and structure of city spaces lies at the heart of the spatial turn in urban history – a shift in thinking which recognises the agency of space.
We seek to build on and critically engage with these ideas to explore the small-scale processes and practices that shaped the city, c.1600-1900, and the ways in which it was conceived and represented. The session will bring together studies from across Europe which seek to examine the following, with comparative analyses being especially welcome:
• the ways in which the routines of everyday life were moulded by the mirco-geographies of house, street and neighbourhood, and how these routines shaped such spaces
• changing spatialities of the house and its relationship with other activities, including workshops and shops
• the importance of boundaries, for example plot disposition and ownership, in the changing spatiality of the city
• the street as an interface between the public/civic and the private/domestic, and the ways in which this shaped its appearance and use
• representations of buildings, streets and neighbourhoods on plans, engravings, photographs, and the role of these in their renewal or resilience
• the role of inertia, for example of existing buildings, in shaping the pace, scale and geography of urban renewal
• how these processes and practices were shaped by conflict: between actors, representations, uses of space, etc.
Keywords: urban transformation; renewal; space; representation; conflict; inertia; buildings