Project: PUblic REnaissance: Urban Cultures of Public Space between Early Modern Europe and the Present

Acronym PURE
Duration 31/05/2019 - 25/11/2022
Project Topic Numerous contemporary examples – from Zuccotti Park (New York) to Plaza del Sol (Madrid) - have proven that, no matter how instrumental social media technologies have become in spreading news and generating discussion these days, nothing replaces the power of physical public spaces. The past history of public places is a condition and often even a point of reference for public political events in the present. Public Renaissance recovers the agency of space in exceptional upheavals and revolutions, but also in everyday life – how did such spaces assume the importance they have today?Using historical city maps, archival research and museum material culture collections we will show how everyday human activity unfolded in the public places of the Renaissance past. Highlighting continuities and parallels of the social and political nature of these historic spaces, our project challenges a view that politics and citizenship have now retreated from the public realm, examining instead the long European tradition of active public spaces. Using traditional research methods and sources as well as innovative tools developed through digital humanities (GIS mapping, locative apps) the project creates direct and tangible links between researchers and the general public to recover and deliver connections linking the European urban past to the present. The historic urban fabric is the vehicle through which we connect to major contemporary issues of integration, identity-construction and citizenship, making the past central to our interpretation and understanding of the present.
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Call HERA Joint Research Programme “Public Spaces: Culture and Intergration in Europe”

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Exeter Coordinator United Kingdom
2 Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) Partner Germany
3 Universitat de València Partner Spain
4 University of Groningen Partner Netherlands
5 Italian-German Historical Institute Partner Italy