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Meaning and Experience: Urban History from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period Author(s): Diane Favro Source:

The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 58, No. 3, Architectural History 1999/2000 (Sep., 1999), pp. 364-373 Published by: Society of Architectural Historians Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/991530 Accessed: 20/12/2009 10:33
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Urban History from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period


FAVRO University of California, Los Angeles

History is contested territory.Architectural historians, sociologists, historians, geographers, economists,and archaeologists, among others, lay claim to this field. While interdisciplinarityis generally touted and praised,the realitiesof Americanuniversityevaluationsystems,the confininggraspof historicalperiodicity, and the focused mission statementsof many journalshave often hindered crossoverwork. The traditionaldistinction has been betweenurbanhistorianstrainedin the broaddiscipline of historywho take the human aspect of the city as their central focus, and architectural historianswho begin with the physicalaspects.'Only ten yearsago M. J. Daunton into challengedhistorians"tobringarchitecture their analysis: it is too importantto be left to architectural historians who tear it from its context and treat it as a self-contained the discipline."2 Fortunately, bastionsof isolationismwithin variousfields are noticeablycrumbling,sparkedin part by calls for diversity, inclusionism,and a globalviewpoint.The resultis an enlightening even exchangeandacknowledgment, if sometimes grudgingly made, of research and methods between differentdisciplinesand, in fact, an outright blurring of territorialdistinctions.Overall,studies of historical cities now reveala predilectionfor treatingdisciplinary and boundaries permeable. as Architectural histochronological rianspreoccupiedwith the physicalityof cities increasingly considerurbanenvironments a holistically, trendthathasled to a reinvigorated interestin the meaningand experienceof cities. U;jrban

Following the lead of studies examining the modern city, broad surveys of urban history display a heightened self-introspectionaboutthe disciplineand experimentation with diverse methods and positions.3 For example, Mark Girouard skillfully blends the methods of humanists and social scientists in Citiesand People,subtitled A Socialand Architectural History(1985). The two masterfulmetahistories of Spiro Kostof's, The CityShaped The CityAssemand bled(1991, 1992),aremodels of comparative culturalstudies and thematictypologies. Boastfullyaffirminghis role as an urbanhistorian,Kostof announceshis intention to consider "form as a receptacle of meaning."Yet these are not formalist tracts. Kostof persuasivelyargues, "We 'read'form correctly only to the extent that we are familiarwith the preciseculturalconditionsthat generatedit." Stressingthat culture is constructedrather than fixed, he explores commonaltiesin urbanform, meaning,and processacrosstime, Kostof assumes space, and civilizations.In TheCityShaped, a bird's-eye view, examiningcomprehensiveurbanconfigurations,includingthe grid, "organic" patterns,skylines,and he diagrams(Figure 1). In TheCityAssembled, examinesthe between the primacyof built form and conceptualoverlap the city as a containerof urbanactivity, the unraveling broad patternsexaminedin the firstvolume. Throughout, Kostof deploresabsolutetaxonomiesand abstractedtheories, premakeshift ferringto highlight the messiness of haphazard, urbanprocesses.Thus, he analyzesboth the originalintentions behind Romanurbangridsand the Islamicand Chris-

of Topogray as a determinant urban 61 Riiveine settleent 63 Naturalharbor 64 Defensivesite 6 Linearridge 66 Hiltop town 67 Slopedterrain



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Figure 1 Analyticaldrawings representing topographyas a determinantof urbanform; figures 62-67 in Spiro Kostof, The CityShaped (Boston, Tobias 1991), courtesy Richard

tian medievalmotivationsfor subsequentdistortions.The focus on processand reception,ratherthan the often idealized moment of creation, has percolated to architectural history from other disciplines, including art history and urban geography.The conception of cities as nonstatic is hardlynew; Plutarchearlyin our millenniumdescribedthe 559). What sets these books city as "aliving thing"(Moralia hisapartis the clear,unifyingmessagethat cities transcend tory, constantly redefining themselves and only rarely becoming obsolete. Kostof ends the last volume with the truth is in the flow." words, "urban Concernwith the broadflow of urbanhistorycompels the inclusion of cities from diverse cultures,as evident in Kostof'sbooks. In many other urban-history surveys,howThe expanremaininadequate. multicultural ever, gestures
sive Cities and Civilizations (thirty chapters and over 1,000

urbanages,"with little discussionof less popularor liminal fit periodsthat do not comfortably withinperiodcategories. the lastfifteenyears,threeclearparadigm shifts During have emerged in books concentratingon cities before the twentieth century. First is the acknowledgmentthat the belief in a unilinearmarchtowardmodernization comhas Second is the inclusion of small promised interpretation. and relativelyunfamiliar cities. Third is a growingdissatisfactionwith the confiningrestrictionsof periodicityand an acknowledgmentof the permeabilityof temporalboundaries. Christopher R. Friedrichs aptly represents these
realignments in The Early Modern City 1450-1750 (1995).4

pages)by PeterHall (1998)includesonly one chapterfocusing on a non-Western example.No comparableextensive surveysof non-Westerncities standas counterpoints.Similarly, a preference for privileged periods also remains focuseson "golden stronglyin evidence.Hall conventionally

He convincinglyarguesthat historians'preconceptionof a systematic,unrelentingevolutionfrompremodernto modern conditionshas minimizedconsiderationof some localized eventsanddevelopments the prescribed off progressive path, and also fostered a distortedview of progressitself. Friedrichs examines cities ranging in size from 1,000 to 500,000 and includesnumerousexamplesfrom outside the standardcanon (e.g., Zell am Harmersbach,Germany). With equallyexpansivechronologicalparameters, conhe

casestudduree. sidersthe longue Moving beyondindividual charies in specificperiods,Friedrichsidentifiesan "urban acter" shared by European cities over three centuries, the probacknowledging methodological thoughcautiously lems of synthetic comparison.In the first chapter,readers accompany a woman on a meticulously researchedwalk through Munich in 1574; in the last they trace the documented wanderings of a young girl through London in 1631. By focusing on urban experience, these narrative revealthe enduringcommonaltiesexhibitedby "bookends" to modernEuropeancities, in contradistinction more early Thus Friedrichs, obviousstylisticandformaldissimilarities. like Kostof, directsattentionto the flow,findingmeaningin the life of cities.5 In the 1980s, a perceivedlack of meaning in contemporarycityscapeswas heightened by the inability of postmodernismto fill this gap despiteits historicalpretensions. Reacting to this situation, architecturalhistorians joined how culturalconurbandesignersin a searchto understand tent was embeddedin urbanform.This path of inquiryhas now become a superhighwayapproachedfrom on ramps originatingin semiotics,criticaltheory,culturalgeography, Urbanforms,especially patronagestudies,andnarratology. are obvious conveyors of meanin diagrammatic layouts, ing, a topic explored by Kostof, among others. Recent research has expandedthe quest for abstractmeaning to encompassin-depth analysisof urbanrepresentationsand the sense of a place. Depictions of urbanenvironmentsin maps, art, texts, ideasaboutcities. Durand exhibitionsdistillcontemporary the periods before expanded communications these ing images frequently reached larger audiences than did the themselves.Undeterred physicalenvironments place-bound by Baxandall'ssecond thoughts about transgressing the histoarchitectural boundarybetween "art"and "society," a riansin recentyearshaveundertaken freshcombinationof art and cultural,social, and intellectualhistory when conapproachis sidering urban images. This interdisciplinary researchersdown new paths of inquiry,each with leading and unique researchadvantages liabilities. Like the universalizing approachof Kostof, consideration of two-dimensionalmaps and vedutifocuses attention on cities as a whole, ratherthan on components.Such representations,however,offer far more than the opportunity to glimpsethe city as a whole. Filteredthroughthe eye and mind of the image-maker,patron, and viewer, they reveal contemporaryinterpretationsas well as ideological biases. the W. PlanninghistorianJohn Repshas championed use of urbanviews and city plans for understanding topographic earlyAmericancities. Displayingminutedetail,these urban
366 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

Figure 2 Representationof a great city by InigoJones, in M. Christine Boyer, The Cityof Collective Memory (Cambridge,Mass., 1994), p. 89, courtesy MITPress

imagesprovidevaluabledataon buildingsof everysize and stature, yet initially researchersused them primarilyto studyurbanpatternmakingand technicalaspectsof urban observation.More recently, Reps and others have moved of beyondthe seductiveness the printsto explorethe potent connections among urban form, culture, and image.6 In Views (1998), Reps considersthe authorialpose, Bird's-Eye of and background, commercialaspirations the printmakers andclients,aswell as the impactof the viewson the residents a of the cities depicted.M. ChristineBoyeranalyzes broader
Memory(1994). Takrange of images in The City of Collective

of presentist interpretation collectivememing Halbwachs's ory, she investigates how different eras conveyed contemporary ideologiesthroughurbanimages,fromItalian Renaissance urbantableaux eighteenth-century to vistas(Figure 2). These premodernexamplessupportBoyer'slengthy of travelliterature, and examination panoramas, photographs, museum villages from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Conversely, investigation modernurbanviews the of to disclosesissuesandmethodologiesapplicable the studyof of earlierimagery.Boyer considershow the pictorialization most cities revealsthe biasesof the commissioning patrons, of whom preferredcontrivedhistoricalnarratives saniand tizedurban viewsundefiled the dirtiness political, of social, by and economic realities.The popularityof city views promoted the commodification the city as an objectof mass of entertainment. traceshow this phenomenonresulted Boyer on the one handin orderly,aestheticized visions of the city programmedwith purifiedhistorical content, and on the environments. other,in contrivedtheme-park-like A counterpoiseto authorial intentionis foundin books buildexaminingimages of urbanlife and nonmonumental

ings in order to presenthistory from the bottom up. As an outgrowthof the "new"social historyof the 1980s, anthropologists, sociologists,social historians,and especiallygeoviews of urbanspace in terms of graphersreconceptualized socialrelations.7 Again,the best examplesdealwith the early modern city. Thus, in Silver Cities(1984) Peter B. Hales exploreshow urbanphotographssimultaneouslyadvanced socialand architectural values(asin the idealizing prevailing C. D. Arnoldof the World'sColumbianExposiimages by tion in Chicago),andpresentedcontrasting critiques(aswith the grittyrealistphotographsby social activistJacob Riis). For earliercenturies,dissectionof textualand pictorial urbanrepresentations not yet attainedthe sophistication has or sheerquantityof those centeredon the modem city.Most work in this area remains entrenchedin other disciplines, with limitedsuccessfulinterdisciplinary crossover.In A DistantCity(1991), arthistorianChiaraFrugoniconsiderswhy andhow literaryand pictorialrepresentations from the Italian Middle Ages reflected contemporaryattitudes toward the secularcity. She championsthe familiarbelief in a progression from conventions (medieval)to realism (Renaissance) in both verbal and pictorial representations,yet broadensthe discourseto evaluateurbanexperienceas well as built form in such worksas the Sienese pictorialcycle of cities by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Unfortunately the maxim "She who practicesinterdisciplinarity pleases no one" still rings true. Navigating the disputedterritorybetween textual dissection,art analyses,and examinations the physiof cal realm, Frugoni found many land mines, especially regardingher interpretationof the masterworkby Lorenzetti.8Hilary Ballon'sTheParisofHenriIV(1991) is a more successful exampleof integration. Drawinguponvariousdisto conducta carefulanalysisof Parisian ciplines maps,views, and panegyrics,she demonstrateshow the graphiclayout, renderingconventions,and text of cartographic representations conveyedboth the monarchical idealsof Henry IV and his growingawareness the city as a comprehensive of whole that could be submittedto a unified design.As a result, the reader comes to understandboth the human aspirations behind city making,and the advantages the architectural to historianof exploitingculturalhistory. In contrastto the interdisciplinarity FrugoniandBalof lon standpersistentexamplesof scholarlyterritoriality. The well-researched worksby classicistsCatherineEdwardsand MaryJaegerably considerthe structureand meaningof literarytextsreferringto the ancientcity,yet displaya disciplithe narymyopiaregarding builtrealm(see Edwards,Writing Rome: Textual to Approaches the City [Cambridge,1996], and Written Rome[AnnArbor,1997]).The authors Jaeger,Livy' rarelyconsiderthe physicalform, to which the ancienttexts

withlittleunderstanding the actual of refer,leavingthe reader environments.9 do not incorporate methFurthermore, they ods or issues from other disciplines,includingarchitecture, where the influence of narratologyand critical theory has resultedin the interpretation urbanenvironments legiof as ble texts. Earlysemioticreadingsof modem urbanenvironments in the 1970s have been followed by analyses of In premoderncities.10 FromSignsto Design(1990), Charles revealsthe readabletext embeddedin the built Burroughs environment of Early Renaissance Rome, articulating a model of cultural mediationandproductiondistinctfromthe standard notion of patronageas a unilateral transaction.1I different from pictorial and literarydepicDistinctly tions, three-dimensional(often temporary)re-creationsof historicurbanenvironments offerthe appealandimmediacy of tangibility.In addition, even more than conventional, durablebuildings,they were generallycreatedspecifically to disseminateculturalideas.The full-scaleenvironments createdfor earlymodem international havegarnered expositions the attention of researchersin the last two decades. Outthe standingamongthese is Zeynep Qelik's Displaying Orient her analysis upon rich photographic and (1992). Basing archival sources,she showshow the "oriental" villagescreated at expositionsconveyednot only the exoticismof "theother" but also the self-crafted identityfashionedby Muslim sponsors. Significantly,the atavisticenvironmentspresentedat fairsattemptedto replicatenot only the actualbuildingsand forms in the sponsoringcouncomposites of architectural but also the full-bodiedexperienceof visiting foreign tries, cities, repletewith nativesat work,indigenousanimals,and evocative sounds and smells. Such explorationsof threedimensionalurbanre-creationsin the moder period have stimulated renewedinterestin premodern urbanexamples.12 A number of researchersare exploring city models from antiquity, emphasizing the urban simulacra displayed in Roman triumphsand the famousre-creationsof cities displayed in Nero's Domus Aurea.13Others are analyzing Renaissance temporarydisplaysto determinetheir contemporarymeaningand subsequentimpacton urbandesign.'4 Study of the intensified perception of three-dimensional urban re-creations has refocused attention on the sensorial and social experience of past cities. Anthropologists and cultural geographersfirst pioneered researchin this area,seeking,as CliffordGeertz advocates, "authorthe of being there."15 Unable to conductinterviewswith the ity hisoriginalusers of historicalenvironments,architectural torianshave favoredvision over sensory,emotive, or social
experiential receptors. In The Architecture of the Roman Empire. II: An Urban Appraisal (1986), William L. Mac-

Donald examinesbuildingswithin the visual context of the


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ancient city. Eschewing a chronologicalor stylisticanalysis of building types or urbanplans, he considersthe nuances of visualperceptionand its impacton cognition. Such a formalisticapproachrevealspan-Empireurbancommonalties in the choreography majorstreets,characterized Macof by Donald as "urbanarmatures" 3). By allowing the (Figure architecture speakfor itself, apartfrom the cacophonyof to voices imposed by users, patrons, and regional traditions, MacDonald is able to emphasize the visual, theatrical framework of flowing spaces and moving surfaces that
enlivened and epitomized the Roman city.'6 Marvin Trach-

tenberg takes the art, or rather the science, of visual perception as the startingpoint for the urbananalysisof a late medieval city in his award-winning Dominionof the Eye (1997). He convincingly arguesthat trecento Italianurban designers, along with artists and sculptors, were familiar with optical theory. They created irregular piazzas not because they lacked training in Euclidean geometry, but because they sought to privilege certainviews by manipuvisualfield (Figure4).17 lating the spectators' Expandinghis argumentbeyond the formalisticapproachof MacDonald, Trachtenberg exploresthe intellectual,artistic,social,politand economic underpinningsfor such visual manipuical, lation. He undertakes what one reviewer has labeled "a neo-Marxist-Foucauldian" readingto arguethat the public served as an acknowledgedapparatus the spatiofor piazza visual production of power.'8Yet, despite the broad integration of sociopoliticalissues into the discourseon visual perception, the diachronic experience of the original observersand shapersof optimumurbanviews remainselusive. The reader longs to know how urban planners and patronsimplementedtheir opticallybaseddesignsover sev368 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

eral decades and how reactions differed among spectators from differentclasses. Throughout currentstudiesof the premoderncity,the voices of lower-class residents, women, and children are muted. While art historianshave extensivelyexaminedthe on historiimpact of social stratifications art, architectural ans dealing with early cities have only just begun to considerthe complexinterplayof urbanform and diversesocial classes. In part this lacuna is the result of limited source material documenting the perceptions of these groups. Scholarsare now criticallyreexaminingarchives,pictorial datato give voice to the sources,diaries,and archaeological unheard.19Initial investigations into the reactions of nonelite residentstend to considerproscribedsubjectssuch as specific building types; however, panurbanstudies are of beginning to appear,as seen with the narratives females walkingthrough the city presentedby Friedrichs.20 Optical studies of urban experiences, coupled with in recentdevelopments receptiontheoryandcultural anthropology, have renewedinterestin both dailyand exceptional ritualsin the premoderncity.In Roman (1994), Ray Pompeii Laurenceexploreshow the quotidian of processions elite residents and their clients impacted the distributionof residencesandcivicbuildingsthroughoutthe city.21 Research on Renaissance Baroquecivicfestivalsrevealshow complex and social factors shape architecturaldevelopment and imbue urbanspaceswith historicalmeanings.The expansive documentation and exhibition programof the Centro di Studi sullaCulturae l'Immagine Romahasgreatlyboostedstudy di in this field, as representedby the interpretive catalogueon Renaissancefestivalsedited by Marcello Fagiolo.22 this In anthology,the authorsconsiderhow festivalsintegratedthe

The site-specific associationsof meaning are also featuredin the burgeoninginterdisciplinary of placestudfield which distinguishes "place" as the setting in which ies, An society and spacearemutuallyconstituted.24 individual's sense of place is composedof both culturalimpositionsand A C B it sensorial,biological responsesto physicalenvironments; is this potent connection that imbues"place" with power as a receptacle of memory. In a multivolume publication on French constructionsof memory,Pierre Nora underscores the ability of physical sites and constructions, as well as moments and ideas, to establish themselves as lieux de memoire.25 historiansare now joining cultural Architectural in consideringthe memory of a city'slife to be geographers a manipulableconstructclosely tied to physicallocales. In The Antiquarianand the Myth of Antiquity(1993), Philip Jacks traces how humanistscrafteda revisionisthistory of Rome's ancient foundation based on polemics and the life powerof the place.The retextualized storyof Rome was in groundedin pastevents,civicinstitutions,and, especially, the potent power emitted by the geniuslociassociatedwith classical sites. Patricia Fortini Brown also explores the and potent nexus between place and historyin Venice Antiquity (1997). She revealshow the Venetians,lackinga classical past, were unable to build on ancient geniuses of place; insteadthey exploitedarchitectural styles and motifs, reinFigure 4 Analysis of viewing angles of Piazzadella Signoria,Florence, extant Byzantine buildings and elements, and terpreting crafted in the trecento; figure 94 in MarvinTrachtenberg,Dominionof commissioningclassical-styleprojectsto impose an approthe Eye (Cambridge,1997) priateheritageonto their city. The introspective posture of contemporary fin-deof Rome (represented both the audience and siecle researchhas promptedinterest not only in how past popular spirit by the spacesof dailyactivity)with the aimsof the wealthysec- cultures recontextualizedurban places in history, but also ularandpiouspatronsof the events.23 Overwhelmed hun- in how contemporaryresearcherscan use the past to influby dredsof festivitiesstaged each year,Rome'spiazzasbecame ence the design of today'scities. Current debates over the elite battlegroundsfor the affectionof the urbanpopulace construction of memory and the recentering of space in and of historyitself addressed highly exaggerated in written publicdiscoursehaveresultedin the envisioningof a history descriptions. The events also impacted urban design. driven by human agency to nurture social life and inspire environments collective change. In The Powerof Place (1995), Dolores Ephemeral spectaclearchitecture "redesigned" for a prescribed, while festivalissuesof vis- Hayden takes an activist position; she calls for the reinfleetingmoment, ibility and theatricalityinfluencedthe design of buildings, scription of urban sites with more inclusive histories spaces, and cities themselves. In Turin1564-1680 (1991), empoweringcontemporaryurbaninhabitantsthrough the Martha Pollock analyzes how the urban ceremonies in a articulation apantemporal of voice. Identicultural-political north Italiancity servedas interactive of fying a need in Los Angelesfor spacescounterto traditional politicalmetaphors the absolutistgovernment,while simultaneously exploiting public centers and memorials,she establisheda nonprofit and celebratingthe city'smilitaryform. In all these recent organization that sought ways to commemorate the past studies,the close connectionsamong events, meaning, and activitiesof women andother marginalized groupsandtheir the physical localeset them apartfromearlierresearch focus- places of action within the city (Figure 5). The book ing on the socialand culturalimplicationsof rituals.As with describeshow the organizationinvolved the communityin the of experiential analyses, next step is to expandthe examina- the consensualrecontextualization sites by creatingmaps, tion of dailyandexceptional ritualsto includenonelite input walkingtours, and communityart projects.Hayden'spuband reactions. lic history projectscould stand as the realizationthe "new

Figure 5 Map locating historic sites in downtown Los Angeles targeted for memorials by the Power of Place Project;figure 5.1 in Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place (Cambridge,Mass., 1995), courtesy MITPress

memory walks through the city" attuned to the chaos and social complexity of real life called for in Boyer's The City of Collective Memory. Like Hayden, Boyer emphasizes the need to recontextualize memory images from the past as a means to improve the future.26The exploitation of urban histories for the betterment of urban design and society at large is laudable, yet readers must be aware that in activist urban histories polemics may subsume inclusiveness and subjectivity. Caveats aside, the reengagement of history in the discourse on the practice of architecture is encouraging, especially after the negative reactions to the superficial historicism of postmodernism over the last decade.27 Developments in the profession itself are now also offering improved tools for the study and presentation of architectural history.28 Urban histories, especially those by
370 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

historiansbased in architectureschools, revealexperimenmedia.For example,in his two voltationwith presentation umes on urban history, Kostof made a leap forward in conveying visual information about the city by commissioning new types of analyticalplans and drawingsto present ideas about urban context, views, skylines, legal limitations,and evolution (see Figure 1). As we enter a new millennium, computer technologies offer urbanhistorians exciting new research and pedagogical tools. Historical informationcan now be firmlylinked to the context of past cities using compactdisks,videos, and Web sites. An excelNolli Projectunderthe direction lent exampleis Princeton's historianJohn Pinto, a sophisticatedInterof architectural that net application uses the famouseighteenth-century map and and of Rome to organizeresearch literary, bibliographic, visual informationabout the city'sphysicalenvironment.29 Especiallypromisingare developmentsin the four-dimensional modeling of historiccities. Virtualreality(VR) modin els allow researchers move throughpast environments to real time and literally to experience urban evolution. VR models also supportdiversesoftwareapplications, including and structuralanalyses. Few comprehensiveVR lighting models of entire historic cityscapes are yet available,and those for mass marketsare often overly simplified;nevertheless the greatpotentialof these tools is evidentin several pilot projects(Figure6).30In this pioneeringphase caution is necessary.The seductiveness of the computer models (muchlike the visualattractionof historicurbanprints)can easily override research considerations. Models should alwaysbe createdto servespecifichistoricalgoals,andnot to provide what the computer field characterizesas "eyeVR candy."In particular, modeling offers three distinctive advantagesfor the field of architecturalhistory. First, the creationof the models generatesnew findingsby requiring data and interpretationsdistinctlydifferentfrom those for and writtenhistories,includingextensivestructural contextual information. Second, the modeling itself compels researchersto view the city through a differentlens, especiallyrelatingto the kineticaspectsof historicenvironments. and Third, in contrastto books, electronicdatabases models arenot static,andcan be continually updatedandrefined. is the gradualdisseminationof archiEquallyexciting tectural history into precollege education. Inspired by changing curriculargoals and by the enormouspopularity of of DavidMacaulay's 1974 book City,publishers children's books have issued a number of works exploring historic In environmentsand urban evolution.31 addition, interacII areteachingthe next generation tive gamessuch as Caesar about the creationand four-dimensional experienceof past environments.The Internet has encouragedan explosion

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of material targeting K-12 students. For example, the Web site "AncientSites Cities" provides historical information, sightseeing tours of environments, an interactive game (S.PQ.R.), and a real-time community for those interested in classical cities; "HistoryCity" encourages children to "make history" by creating interactive dioramas in Singapore in the 1870s.32Inaccuracies are endemic to new undertakings, yet they should be quickly rectified. Many Web sites and educational products present misleading or inaccurate information; professional architectural historians must assume a leadership role in the creation and monitoring of such data. Reaching a broad audience at an early age, the interactive educational delivery systems are a positive addition to the discipline. Trained in seeing by MTV and nurtured on the Web, the upcoming generation of urban researchers is developing significantly different perceptual skills from those of the current generation and will have decidedly different expectations for the field of urban history. They promise an exciting future.

histories My chargefor this essaywas to considertrends in architectural assessdealingwith the premoderncity. Ratherthan attempta superficial ment of worksfrom each period organizedchronologically, took a theI matic approach,drawingmy examplesfrom works publishedduring the last fifteen years. I would like to thank Hilary Ballon, Zeynep Celik, ChristopherMead, and Fikret Yegiil for their helpful critiques of this manuscript. 1. This distinctionis often cloudedby terminological problems,since hisarchitectural and torians, historians, planning historians, amongothers,claim to practice"urban history." Attemptsto establishclarifying categories(such as "urban-design have not been suchistory"or "environmental history") cessful.For an overviewof recenttrendsandproposedfuturedirectionsfor urbanhistoryas practicedby historians, CharlesTilly, "WhatGood is see UrbanHistory?" 22/6 (September1996):702-719. Journalof Urban History 2. Statementmade by urbanhistorianM. J. Daunton in a reviewof Donald J. Olsen's The City as a Workof Art in The EnglishHistorical Review CIV/412 (July1989):754. A year later,anotherurbanhistorianexpressed admirationfor the works of two architectural historianswho, in "a brave act,"attemptedurbanhistory,though he assertedthat such invasive,interdisciplinaryacts "will not (and should not) transform [urbanhistory]"; Joseph L. Arnold, "Architectural History and Urban History.A Difficult

Marriage," Journalof Urban History17/1 (November 1990):77. Of course, territorialityis also evident in our own field as voiced by Cho Padamse: "The tendencyof historiansto ignore the planningandbuildingof cities in favourof social, economic, institutionaland political modes of analysisis Mimar 12/42 (1992): 85. deplorable." 3. See the articlesby Nancy Stieberon modem urbanhistory and Zeynep Celik on non-Westernurbanhistoriesin this issue. 4. Friedrichs's book inaugurates new seriesfrom LongmanPublishing:A a of Urban Society in Europe,under RobertTittler as generalediHistory tor. The series aimsto synthesizethe presentstate of scholarshipon cities by historians,yet, if the first exampleis indicative,it promisesample covhistorians. erage on the physicalaspectsof cities for architectural 5. Friedrichs describes the urban environment encountered by these but observers, does not re-createtheirsensorialreactions.Suchan approach is distinctlydifferentfrom both Michael Baxandall's "periodeye" associated with an era'sparticular visual taste, and from the optical and haptic historians.For an example reactionsanalyzedby architectural experiential of the latter,see the re-createdwalksin Diane Favro, The UrbanImageof Rome Augustan (Cambridge,1996). 6. For example, Reps pairs urban images with contemporary written accounts of the cityscapes in Citiesof the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century (Columbia,Mo., and London, 1994). of Images UrbanDevelopment of 7. Currentinterpretations the moderncity havebeen significantly influenced by Henri Lefebvrewho stressedhistoricalspecificityin his description of spaceas a socialproduct;his theoryhas less frequentlybeen applied to premodern urban analyses:Production Space,translatedby Donald of Nicholson-Smith(Oxford,1991);Writings Cities, on editedandtranslated by Eleonore Kofmanand ElizabethLebas(Oxford,1996). For a geographer's of interpretation socialspace,see the collected essaysof Doreen Masseyin Placeand Gender Space, (Minneapolis,1994). 8. Detractorscenteredin literarycriticismcontend that Frugoni does not fully considerthe intendedaudience.Those from arthistoryfind faultwith her definitionof realism.For example,RandolphStarnarguesthat Lorenzetti'simages should be read in terms of Roland Barthes's "realityeffect," ratherthan consideredto represent,as Frugoni proposes, a realisticportrait of a medievalcity state, or the passiveillustrationof ideas about government written down by ancient authorities:RandolphStarn,Ambrogio The Siena(New York,1994), 8, 30-31. Lorenzetti, PalazzoPublico, 9. In contrast,Ann Vasalyin her perceptiveanalysisof Ciceronianoratory portraysancient spacesand buildingsas vital componentsboth of Rome's urbantopographycreatedin physicalenvironmentandof the metaphysical the mindsof contemporary observers: in Representations. of Images the World Ciceronian Oratory (Berkeley,1993). 10. Beginningin the 1970s, researchers appliedsemioticsto the analysisof and de moder architecture cities:RaymondLedrut,Lesimages la ville(Paris, 1973);Geoffrey Broadbent,"APlain Man'sGuide to the Theory of Signs in Architecture," Architectural Design47:7-8 (uly/August 1978):474-482. For a more recent interpretation, Mario Gandelsonas,ed., The Urban see Text,with essaysby Joan Copjec, CatherineIngraham,andJohn Whiteman (Cambridge, Mass., 1991). 11. MichaelKoortbojian appliesa similarmethodologyin his analysisof an ancient city of the dead:"Incommemorationem mortuorum: and image text along the 'streetof tombs,' "in Ja Elsner,ed., Art and Textin RomanCulture(Cambridge,1996), 210-233. 12. The interestin premodernurbanmodels was furtherstimulatedby the scholarlyandpopularsuccessof exhibitionspresentinghistoricalmodels of buildings: Henry Millon and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani,eds., The Renaissance Brunelleschi Michelangelo: Representation to The from ofArchitecture (New York,1994).
372 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

13. Peter Holliday, "RomanTriumphalPainting;Its Function, DevelopArt 79 ment, andReception," Bulletin (March1997):130-147;Diane Favro, "Rome.The StreetTriumphant: The Urban Impactof RomanTriumphal in Parades," Zeynep Celik, Diane Favro,RichardIngersoll,eds., Streets of the World,CriticalPerspectives PublicSpace(Berkeley, 1994), 151-164; on MauraMedri,"Suet.,Nero31.1:elementie proposteper la ricostruzione del progetto della Domus Aurea,"in Clementina Panella, Un'areasacrain Palatino la valledel Colosseo e Nerone(forthcoming). primae dopo Wisch and SusanScott Munshower,eds., "All 14. See the essaysin Barbara the World'sa Stage,"Papers Art History in State Unifrom thePennsylvania 6 versity (1990). 15. In the last two decades,practitionersof the "new"culturalgeography havebegunto move awayfromartifactual studiesof material culture,chamCarl Sauerand the BerkeleySchool, towarda pioned by the inspirational more sociallyconstructed view as represented suchworksasJamesDunby can andDavidLey,eds.,place/culture/ (London, 1993).For an representation overviewof currenttrendsin culturalgeography, V Chouinard,"Reinsee and venting RadicalGeography:Is All That's Left Right?"Environment and PlanningD: Society Space12 (1994):2-6. 16. MacDonaldalso includesprovocativeessaysaboutbroadissuesof classicismandBaroquedesign.Sadly,such a nonlinear, highlyoriginalapproach still elicits complaintsfrom reviewerswho cannot easilyincorporateoverarchingurbanideas into concretizedhistoricalframeworks. 17. In her perceptive analysis of the Place Dauphine, Ballon similarly demonstrates how the urbandesignerssacrificed purityof form to optimize the experiential of the urbansquare. viewing 18. Reviewed by Michelle M. Fontaine, SixteenthCentury Journal 29/4 (1998): 1118. 19. For example,Penelope M. Allisonhas reevaluated earlyexcavation the notes from Pompeii to determine site distributionsof everydayobjects. From this data she re-created activity patternsfor urban residents of all classes, which in several instances contradicttraditionalinterpretations: "Artefactassemblages:not the 'Pompeii premise,' " in E. Herring, R. Whitehouse, and J. Wilkins, eds., Papersof the 4th Conference Italian of iii/1 Archaeology (London, 1992):49-56. 20. J. C. Edmondson,"DynamicArenas:Gladiatorial Presentationsin the City of Rome and the Construction of Roman Society during the Early and Empire,"in WilliamJ. Slater,ed., RomanTheater Society (Ann Arbor, 1996):69-112. 21. Though somewhat disjointed in presentation, Laurence'swork is notable for the applicationof approachesdrawnfrom urban geography, and anthropology, architecture (includingthe spatialtheories of B. Hillier andJ. Hanson) to the study of the ancientcity. 22. Among the volumeson festivalspublishedby the Centro are:Maurizio delle vol. 1 (Rome, Fagiolo dell'Arco,La FestaBarocca, Corpus Festea Roma, e delleFestea Roma, 1997);MarcelloFagiolo,II Settecentol'Ottocento, Corpus vol. 2 (Rome, 1997). 23. Manyworkson urbanritualsand eventstakethe form of anthologiesin orderto reflectthe inclusivenatureof spectaclesthemselves,andto present a broadtypologicaland methodologicalrange;e.g., Alexandra Johnston E andWim Hiisken,eds., CivicRitualandDrama(Amsterdam, 1997);Bettina and Kondoleon,eds., TheArt ofAncient Bergmann Christine (WashSpectacle ington, D.C., 1999).Book-lengthstudiesof how a single ritualimpactedthe form of an ancient city are rare;for a comprehensiveexample,see G. M. The Rogers,TheSacred Identity Ephesos: Foundation of Mythsofa Roman City (London, 1991). For a perceptivediscussionof methodsfor analyzingpremodem urbanrituals,see Glen W Bowersock,"Commentary," Anthony in and in Molho, KurtRaaflaub, JuliaEmlen,eds., CityStates ClassicalAntiquity andMedieval Italy(AnnArbor,1991), 549-553.

24. An insightfuloverviewof contemporary place studiesin culturalgeogis by John Agnew,"Representing Space.Space,Scale and Culturein raphy Social Science,"in Duncan and Ley, 261-271 (see n. 15). EdwardS. Casey gives an expansivephilosophicaloverviewof place studies,includingmuch on physical environments, in GettingBackinto Place:Toward Renewed a thePlaceWorld of (Bloomington,Ind.,1993). Understanding 25. Of particularinterest for architecturalhistoriansis the third volume dealing with physical sites and urban symbolism:Realmsof Memory.The Construction theFrench Past.Vol. III:Symbols, PierreNora, ed., Lawrence of D. Kritzman,English-languageeditor, trans.ArthurGoldhammer(New York,1998). 26. Hayden and Boyer carefullydistinguishbetween memories based on experienceand intellectualizedhistories.As early as 1972, urbanplanner Kevin Lynchhad proposedthe selection of a past to constructa futurefor moderncities: WhatTimeIs ThisPlace? Mass., 1972), 64. (Cambridge, 27. Previously,modern architectsoften minimizedthe role of history and memory in urbandesign. In contrast,today'spractitionershave incorporatedhistorywithin the architectural discourse;authorsspecificallytarget architectsin books emphasizingformalissues over historicalcontext;see, for example,AllanJacobs, GreatStreets Mass., 1993). (Cambridge, 28. The availability new tools should not minimize the importanceof of traditionalurbanhistorypublications.Especiallynotable are recent largescale documentationand researchprojectssuch as the monumentalfiveed. volume Lexicon Romae, Eva MargaretaSteinby (Rome, Topographicum 1993-) which presentscurrentinformationon all the known buildingsin ancientRome. 29. Www.princeton.edu:80/almagest/nollimap.html. Representative of larger Web applications is the Perseus project, including expansive information on texts, sites, and art from the ancient world:

Selected Texts
and New York Ballon, Hilary.TheParisof HenriIV Architecture Urbanism. and Cambridge,Mass.:MIT Press, 1991. Its and Memory: Historical Boyer,M. Christine.TheCityof Collective Imagery Architectural Entertainments. Mass.:MIT Press, 1994. Cambridge, and The Senseof thePast. Brown,PatriciaFortini. Venice Antiquity: Venetian New Haven:YaleUniversityPress, 1997. Process Reform and Burroughs,Charles.FromSignsto Design.Environmental in EarlyRenaissance Rome. Cambridge,Mass.:MIT Press, 1990. the Architecture Islamat Nineteenth-CenCelik, Zeynep.Displaying Orient: of World's Fairs.Berkeleyand Los Angeles:Universityof California tury Press, 1992. al Fagiolo, Marcello, ed. La Festaa Romadal Rinascimento 1870. 2 vols. Turin:U. AllemandiforJ. Sands,Rome, 1997. Friedrichs, Christopher R. The EarlyModernCity 1450-1750. London: Longman, 1995. in Frugoni, Chiara.A DistantCity:Images UrbanExperience theMedieval of World. Translatedby William McCuaig. Princeton, NJ.: Princeton UniversityPress, 1991. A Girouard,Mark. Citiesand People: SocialandArchitectural History.New Haven:YaleUniversityPress, 1985. Hales, Peter B. Silver Cities:The Photography AmericanUrbanization, of 1839-1915. Philadelphia: TempleUniversityPress, 1984. New York: PantheonBooks, 1998. Hall, Peter. Citiesin Civilization. as Hayden, Dolores. The Powerof Place:UrbanLandscapes PublicHistory. Cambridge,Mass.:MIT Press, 1995. and The Jacks,Philip. TheAntiquarian theMythofAntiquity. Origins ofRome in Renaissance Cambridgeand New York: Thought. CambridgeUniver-

www.perseus.tufts.edu. 30. For examples, see the Web sites for the Rome Reborn Project Abacus(www.strath.ac.uk/Depart(www.humnet.ucla.edu/rome-reborn); ments/Architecture/abacus/3d.htm); and LearningSites (www.learn-

sity Press, 1993). Urban Patterns Meanings and HisKostof,Spiro.TheCityShaped: Throughout London and Boston:BulfinchPress, 1991. tory. . TheCityAssembled: Elements Urban The FormThroughout of History. London and Boston:BulfinchPress, 1992. and London:Routledge,1994. Laurence,Ray.Roman Pompeii: ingsites.com). Space Society. 31. David Macaulay, City:A Story of RomanPlanningand Construction MacDonald,William L. TheArchitecture theRoman II: of Empire. An Urban New Haven:YaleUniversityPress, 1986. (Boston, 1974). Notable children'sbooks dealing with urban history are Appraisal. Anne Millard,A StreetThrough WalkThrough and Time,A 12,000-Year History Pollock, MarthaD. Turin1564-1680. UrbanDesign,MilitaryCulture, Creation theAbsolutist (New York,1998),andthe Sightseersseries,whichincludesRachelWright, of Capital. Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress, Paris: 1789 (London, 1999), and Sally Tagholm,AncientEgypt(London, 1991. Views: Historic Cities. 1999). Reps,John W Bird's-Eye of Lithographs NorthAmerican 32. Www.ancientsites.com; While the flexibilityof Princeton,NJ.: PrincetonUniversityPress, 1998. www.historycity.org.sg. Web sites allows for constant updating, this impermanenceoften means Art, and Powerin Trachtenberg,Marvin. Dominionof the Eye: Urbanism, sites do not endureas well as books. Florence. EarlyModern Cambridge: CambridgeUniversityPress, 1997.