Contrary to popular thought, medieval governments invested significant amounts of time and resources to keep their cities safe, healthy, and functioning. We can see this in the documents that they left behind – for example in the statutes, regulations, and writings of officials, and also in the physical remains of the cities themselves, namely in the urban infrastructure (such roads, bridges, canals, sewers, and wells), along with the houses and workshops in which people lived and worked.
Healthscaping is the result and the sum of these actions; in other words “the physical, social, legal, administrative and political process of regulating and managing the built and natural environment to promote wellbeing” (Geltner 2013: 396). This project examines these actions and their consequences in Bologna and Ghent by integrating historical and published archaeological data in a GIS environment.
Mapping allows us to integrate large amounts of data from multiple sources. From there we can cross-check these various perspectives and provide a more complex and complete image of medieval life in Bologna and Ghent. More importantly we can identify variation and patterns among the different neighborhoods, zones, and streets of each city. Therefore the map is not only a tool for visualization but it allows us to ask and answer new kinds of questions.