Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

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A Spatio-Temporal Analysis of the Urban Fabric of Nuremberg From the 1940s Onwards Using Historical Maps

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Abstract:  As one of the most heavily bomb-damaged cities in Germany, with around 90% of its historic city centre destroyed, Nuremberg (Nürnberg) provides an excellent example to investigate the urban transformation of a post-war city. In this article, we bring together heterogeneous and under-researched data sets and archival material from the post-war period and convert urban features depicted in historic maps and scanned documents into digital geospatial data that is analyzed with a geographical information system. We combine morphological variables of townscape analysis to present three different transformations over time. First, using a damage map of Nuremberg from the Second World War, we examine the varying extent of bomb damage across the city at the detailed district level. Secondly, we focus on land-use units, comparing the pre-war spatial land-use distribution from 1940 with historical maps of land use/cover from 1956 and more recent land uses in 1969. Finally, using selected characteristics of urban form, we categorize pre-war and present-day urban block typologies to examine urban morphological change. In doing so, we contribute methodologically and substantively towards a new framework for the analysis of post-war cities. We demonstrate how geographical information systems can be utilized for historical research and the study of change in urban environments, presenting a map-based interpretation of the planning strategies to have guided post-war urban development in Nuremberg. Providing an alternative appraisal of post-war city transformation, our diachronic research offers insight into Nuremberg’s under-researched past, which is also of interest to planners and policymakers seeking to improve future cities.

Keywords:  city transformation; damage maps; geographical information science; post-war planning; urban morphology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v8i1.6084


© Carol Ludwig, Seraphim Alvanides. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.