For an Urban History of Milan, Italy: The Role of GIScience
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The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the history of the city of Milan, Italy, employing Geographic Information Science (GIScience). Using historical maps and ancillary data, the spatiality of historical events that interested the city is analyzed, interpreted and explained by means of new geospatial technologies used to both corroborate and at the same time confute previous believes upon the history of the city. The body of this dissertation is divided into three main chapters that analyze the urban history of the city under different scales both temporal and spatial.
First I use an analytical methodology on historical maps to detect the changes that have occurred on the urban fabric at a city‐wide scale over a period of four centuries. Once detected, these are shown to be related with the major events that characterized the social and urban history of the city.
In the second chapter the main historical layers that comprise the formation of Milan are revealed. Compared with the analysis of the first chapter, here I increase the spatial scale (neighborhood/street‐wide scale) as well as deepen the temporal scale up to two millenniums. A hybrid approach trying to bridge qualitative and quantitative methods is used to analyze the toponymic patter of the downtown streetscape. Furthermore a cluster analysis is conducted to inquire into the more local identities that are part of the daily experience of the space.
In the third and final chapter I deal with the identification, classification and visualization of cases of positional accuracy and uncertainty in historical Landscape Pattern Analysis (LPA). Employing a sample of a map analyzed in the first chapter, my goal is to detect spurious changes in the context of a feature change map analysis, showing these are connected with the map generalization process operated by the map maker and how this process can affect the map reliability.
I finally conclude with important remarks on scale dependency of geographical events and how GIScience can be fruitfully used to discover the multiple spatial and temporal layers of the history of the city.