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Europe’s urban typologies are firmly rooted in antiquity, and it is against this background that Dutch urban planner Ton Hinse discusses the theme of his book The Morphology of the Times: European Cities and their Historical Growth. In the new volume in DOM publishers’ Basics series, the Delft-based author analyzes social upheavals in their historical context and describes their impact on urban planning from Ancient Rome to modern Central Europe.
The book begins with the Ancient Roman colonies established as a means of securing the empire’s expanding territories and goes on to explore a geographically balanced sample of eight European cities: Seville, Lisbon, Turin, Rome, Barcelona, Pessac, Dresden, and Utrecht. Each chapter highlights an important social transformation in the city under discussion and examines its effect on the urban space. A wide range of social dynamics and urban transitions is discussed in fascinating detail, from medieval fragmentation to the expansionist policies of the Renaissance, from Baroque splendour to the development of public space in the nineteenth century and to the present day. Hinse explains how the Moors first transformed the Roman grid structure into intricate labyrinths and how the Lisbon aristocrats’ escape from the cramped, densely populated city to the botânico gave rise to new urban structures. In late nineteenth-century Rome the middle classes conquered the Esquilin, while in today’s Utrecht the historical fabric serves as a backdrop for leisure activities and shopping. Although the book describes and analyzes European cities in all their diversity, it also highlights the similarities arising from shared historical roots. Explanatory photographs, standardized maps, and plans illustrate the changing morphology of the cities through the ages and make it easy for readers to compare different developments.
A journey through the history of the European city, this book makes compelling reading for architects, urban planners, art historians, urban sociologists, and anyone interested in European history and architecture. It is also an homage to the European city, its aesthetic and typology.
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