|Abstract: ||Cadastres and the history of places: a still open research project
The study of historical Cadastres has been a long-established working tool for the
physical, social and economic reconstruction of urban and territorial contexts.
In the past cadastres constituted eminent documentary evidence at the time of data
collection; today they have proven to be useful bases for further research. Traced
on georeferenced maps, they enable researchers to study a city’s or region’s structural
aspects in historical periods and the evolutions of the different settlements over
time. In this case, local topography and urban organization are starting points for
their reconstruction, supported by historical documentation and mapping.
Computer technologies facilitate the construction of tools for the stratification of
data from different sources and archival materials, sometimes able to express not
only the plan dimensions of historic transformation processes but their volumetric
dimensions as well. The permanence of the cartographic sign recorded over time
can, in fact, refer to the physical recognition of wall structures and building lots
in their original places and forms.
In other contexts, the preservation and restoration of historic centers require
further study, aimed at the analysis of historic heritage in relation to the design of
detailed recovery plans. Historical topography works alongside direct building
surveys, with greater utility in places subject to recent transformation processes
with the modification of their original structures.
In this continuous search for new technologies for the representation and communication
of data, it is necessary not to lose sight of the basic concepts that move architects,
archaeologists and historians to study historical registers: the need to
construct – using proven methods – a reliable and immediate narrative of the historical
dimension of places, at least in their essential features that can then be retraced
by anyone who studies or intervenes in design, knowledge-building and
preservation processes. Only the conscious exploration of cadastral, plan and material
forms understood over time can result in design expressions that are coherent
with our landscape, historic centers, monuments and architectural heritage.|