Spatial Analysis and Geovisualization to Reveal Urban Changes: Milan, Italy, 1737-2005

Rocco Walter Ronza

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

21 Citazioni (Scopus)


The Italian city of Milan provides a fascinating laboratory for disentangling the historical layers that structure the spatial layout of a European city. In the last 250 years, the temporal span of this study, Milan has played a key role in Italy’s industrialization and as its gateway to the centres of economic and cultural modernization in Western Europe. This article proposes a spatial analytical methodology that incorporates geovisualization techniques to discover and map urban change in Milan. Using historical maps dating back to the eighteenth century and a 2005 official city map, we applied methods of spatial analysis and geovisualization techniques to determine which parts of the city changed the most in the time interval considered. We then drew parallels between urban changes and political changes in the history of the city. Urban change is defined here as a change in the form and structure of the city (new buildings, new or widened roads, new squares, etc.). Results indicate that morphological changes at the intra-urban scale in Milan appear to be spatially oriented to reflect national and international political events from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. Although this result was not unexpected, the extent to which changes in the built-up environment reflect historical events was somewhat surprising.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)47-63
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2010
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Historical Cartography
  • Historical GIS
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Urban Change


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