Mapping long-term urban space structures: Barcelona as a case study

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The spatial dimension of demographic, economic and political processes is commonly disregarded or else it may happen that space is only considered when major urban projects or transformations of great morphological impact are involved. The systematic mapping of the data offered by available documents is much less common. Such mapping entails a laborious effort, but it is of great help in revealing the deep dynamics of a city that would otherwise remain concealed. Mapping is also useful to broaden one’s capacity of observation and to pose new questions. Similarly, it provides a way of deducing how a method to ascertain how the people inhabiting the city in the past perceived their world. It should not be forgotten that our relation to space is fundamental to the construction of our individual and collective memory and, consequently, to the organization of our experience (Halbwachs 1952/1925; Pfeiffer and Foster 2013). The systematic application of manual mapping to the Barcelona of the 15th to the 19th centuries shows that, in the long term, space-society relations may be of explanatory value in the study of the form, the social and functional structure and, in short, the lived experience of the city.




Guàrdia Bassols, M., & Garriga, S. (2014). Mapping long-term urban space structures: Barcelona as a case study. In Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography (Vol. 0, pp. 119–135). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH.

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