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Town Planning

~ Lecture 1 ~

Ancient Towns Middle Age Towns Renaissance and Early Baroque Town Planning

he Ancient city of Ur - Mesopotamia

The city of Ur, one of the oldest archeological sites of a great ancient city. The city had streets between the walls of houses, and in the centre there was a citadel which accommodated the most important buildings: the sanctuary and the market, the royal palace and the elite army headquarters. The whole city was surrounded with high defense walls.

Agora was the city square in ancient Greek cities. Although it was not literally square, in some cases the design was quite geometric or based on straight lines. The Greek agora consisted on several long buildings named Stoa which accommodated stores, shops, deposits and a long covered corridor which allowed the citizens to walk from one side to the other of the square under the roof cover and to enjoy the agora social life. Agoras also facilitated a special building for the city council, called bouleterion.

Agora din Assos

Ancient city of Lindos

Greek houses are built using walls toward the street. The streets result in small, narrow corridors between the houses. The only breach into the walls are the doors and rarely, several small barred windows.

Arhitectura public - Forumul

Forum roman

Diocletian's Palace (Dioklecijanova palaa) is a building in Split, Croatia that was built by the emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD. At the time it was built, there was no such city of Split, and the original town was built around the palace

The Middle Age City

Middle Age city of Dubrovnic (actual Croatia, ex Republic of Venice) During Middle Age, following the fall of power of the Roman Empire, cities had to build their own strong defenses in order to survive the dangers of Barbarians and later the dangers of Otoman Empire. In some cases, population moved to better defended locations like small isles, high hills or other natural defensive location. Space inside the city walls became very precious and cities grew in density.

Sienna Italy
One preserved example of chaotic middle age city development.
Citizens were used to take advantage of every little precious space in the defended city. Middle age city streets were dark, narrow, random, curved, like a a corridor, like a maze.

San Giminiano
The city of towers Italy Is a typical middle age city with a unique feature of having more than a few separate towers. City towers were not uncommon in the middle age and were used to watch the land and signal any attack.

Generally every city had at least 1 or 2 such high towers.

Nordlingen German middle age city in Bavaria

The city was first mentioned in the 11th century. The layout is typical for central European german late middle age city. This particular city is built upon a meteor crater. The crater borders gave a favorable natural defense.

Baroque Town Planning

The renaissance heritage

Florence, the city that gave birth to renaissance was basically a middle age city. In Florence, there are numerous Renaissance buildings among and into the chaotic middle age streets. While the city is considered a Renaissance city, its shaped by a typical Middle Age chaotic layout.

Baroque Town Planning

The renaissance heritage
In early renaissance, Rome was a plain middle age city with two special locations: - The ancient Roman Forum which was in ruin yet no middle age buildings were build upon - On the other side of the river, there was the Vatican with its ancient basilica (now replaced)

Roma Piazza di Campidoglio Michelangelo

One of the first successful attempts to create new, geometric town spaces in renaissance

Wikipedia on Palmanova, Italy: On October 7, 1593, the superintendent of the Republic of Venice founded a revolutionary new kind of settlement: Palmanova. The citys founding date commemorated the victory of European forces (supplied primarily by the Venetian republic) over Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto. October 7 also celebrated Saint Justina, chosen as the citys patron saint. Using all the latest military innovations of the 16th century, this tiny town was a fortress in the shape of a nine-pointed star, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In between the points of the star, ramparts protruded so that the points could defend each other. A moat surrounded the town, and three large, guarded gates allowed entry.