About this Project

2016 – 2018

Based on coding household-level residential data in the 1427 and the 1480 (or perhaps 1495) tax censuses (catasti) of Renaissance Florence, this project proposed to develop a time-series of urban maps, which documented the changing spatial, social, and economic ecology of that city over one hundred years. These maps of nearest neighbors were anchored in spatial infrastructure—streets, walls, major buildings, churches, administrative boundaries, etc.—but because they were reconstructed through tax-census data, they also documented, at a fine-grained household level of granularity, changing spatial distributions of wealth, occupation, and family size. In addition to their personal residences, Florentine households in their catasti also declared other properties they owned—economic shops (botteghe), urban rental properties, and agricultural farms (poderi). These enabled spatial geographies of connected properties.

This new spatial data, once assembled, was linked to University of Chicago Professor John Padgett’s existing (and ongoing) large relational dataset (a) on Florentine social networks—e.g., genealogies and intermarriage, economic partnership and credit, political factions and speeches—and (b) on Florentine organizations—e.g., guilds, elected political offices, parishes. Through such linkage, changing social, economic, and political networks and organizations became capable of visualization in space. One particular architectural research focus of this project is investigating the social-network embedding and determinants of the rise of the Renaissance palace. But, this is also a service for the public good of many other future research foci.

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