Mapping Health in Ghent

Ghent was one of the largest cities in late medieval Northwestern Europe, comprising 60,000 inhabitants during the early fourteenth century. Located in the county of Flanders, this city developed from the tenth century onwards between the marshy banks of two intersecting rivers: the Leie and the Schelde. Later, these rivers were complemented by an elaborate networks of man-made canals. Since 1301, there were two colleges of thirteen aldermen who were responsible for the city’s daily management and administration. Ghent’s urban officials dealt with a broad range of matters related to public health and sanitation. Ordinances (Voorgeboden) on these issues were communicated often, while the city’s financial accounts (stadsrekeningen) contain investments in both enforcing officials and public works. Collectively this evidence shows that numerous stakeholders in Medieval Europe took steps to reduce risks and improve health incomes. Moreover, they contain a wealth of specific spatial information.  These sources have thus been explored and used here to map public health practices in this large and dynamic medieval city.

We set up an online viewer to display the results of our research on Ghent and offer the possibilty to use and explore the data gathered by the healthscaping project. Detailed information about each layers of this viewer are to be found here.