Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-5-2010

Abstract

The development and growth of a town is influenced by its geographic surroundings, local and global political, historical, and social events, and urban growth dynamics. Although these important factors appear in a variety of sources, such as maps of a town, vital information can be observed from trends in the evolution of the town plan where the written record is deficient. The prosperity of a town becomes apparent with the rate of growth, and its functions and those of its citizens can be inferred from land use. Historical and natural events change the course of development, and as ownership changes, each culture leaves its mark. Technological innovations alter the dynamics of a town and are reflected in sudden changes in the growth pattern. A town's self-awareness and the influence of town planning appear in the form of geometric patterns, but actual success of the design becomes evident over the years. Using Krakow, Poland as an example, in this project I will show that the systematic comparison of normalized, georeferenced town plans and other documents can draw attention to changes not seen before or found in other sources. The significance of these observations calls for better organization and availability of maps, town plans, archaeological site sketches, and other historical documents for use by researchers in the fields of history and urban studies and for the interest of the public in general.

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