Transforming space: Visible and invisible changes in premodern European Cities

Heidi Deneweth (Editor), Jaap Evert Abrahamse (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book is about the often-ignored spatial dynamism of pre-modern towns: the interaction between city life and urban space, as it was adapted to new conditions, slowly or more radically.
The spatial development within cities is the response to social-economic processes and political decisions, but is at the same time determining these processes. In this volume the morphology of cities is analyzed on different levels of scale: from the individual cadastral plot, to the urban block, the neighbourhood, and the city as a whole.
The chapters in this book analyze the development and management of urban space from a long-term comparative perspective, combining case studies and insights from a range of cities from all over Europe. Several contributions deal with the impact of major events on the urban tissue: disasters such as fires or wars; expropriation or redevelopment projects directed by urban governments; religious change such as the Dissolution in the UK, the secularisation of religious complexes during the Reformation, and the expansion of convents during the Counter-Reformation. Other chapters focus on slow transformations that are visible on neighbourhood and plot level. This book is written from a comparative perspective that takes into account path-dependency: pre-existing power relations, ideology and mentality, the resilience of property structures, the impact of building regulations, subsidies or the working of the real estate market had different outcomes for different social groups and determined the evolution of neighbourhoods.
Although this volume focuses on pre-modern towns, the analyses of past processes offer important insights to evaluate urban planning today and its possible effects in the future.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages250
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-57984-9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in European Urban History (1100-1800)
ISSN (Print)1780-3241
ISSN (Electronic)2294-8368


  • Urban development
  • Urban change
  • Europe
  • Pre-industrial Europe


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