In particular, an enormous wealth of visual records of cities and towns – views as well as maps – has accumulated since the time when late medieval settlements evolved into early modern ones. Conzen from Chicago, states in a recently (2008) published, extremely interesting paper on the production of historical towns’ atlases in Europe: The pictorial record of that interest is astonishingly rich and varied.
After the Renaissance, urban cartography emerged to capture the dimensions and spatial compositions of urban environments with increasing scientific accuracy and social purpose.» Johannes Fritz, a school teacher from Strasbourg, published the first comparative study based on German city and town maps in 1894, which stimulated geographical and later also historical research in the early 20), published in 1922 by archaeologist Paul Jonas Meier (1857-1946), who was director of the Herzogliches Museum Braunschweig, now the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum.
Clearly recognising the historical value of early map series, which were produced as a result of land surveys – i.e., not for scholarly research, but for economic and administrative purposes – but which were drawn to identical, standardised scales, Meier in more than one sense laid the foundation for the development treated here: the emergence, after the end of World War Two, of a project to create a «European Atlas of Historic Towns».
This laid the ground for fresh efforts in comparative urban history studies.
As the European nations sought to create a new, peaceful order and to establish political, economic and academic cooperation across national borders, a fresh start became possible in many areas.
In the sphere of international relations, examples include the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 and the «European Coal and Steel Community», founded in Paris in 1951.
The Comité Internationale des Sciences Historiques/CISH (see: org) had already been in existence since 1926, but by 1955, the time had come for an initiative to establish an independent international forum for urban history studies.
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Text is available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license; additional terms may apply.Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.This contribution is based on a paper which the author gave during the 5th International Workshop on Digital Approaches in Cartographic Heritage, which took place at the Technical University of Vienna on February 22-24, 2010 (see: The first urban settlements emerged in the early civilisations and developed distinct features at the time of the ancient Greek and Roman empires.Medieval towns were modelled not only on the structural and design patterns handed down from antiquity, they were also characterised by a large number of what may be termed autochthonous developments.These include primarily the urban constitutional development with its focus on citizen participation, as well as a number of topographical features, such as town walls, open squares and others. While some 70% of the world’s population still lived in rural areas around 1950, more than half had become city dwellers by 2006 – a fact which in itself lends importance to urban settlements.But there are a number of other factors to consider as well.