Urban planning after the Black Death: townscape transformations in later-medieval England (1350-1530)

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    Abstract

    This article offers a reconsideration of planning and development in
    English towns and cities after the Black Death (1348). Conventional historical
    accounts have stressed the occurrence of urban ‘decay’ in the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Here, instead, a case is made that after 1350 urban planning continued to influence towns and cities in England through the transformation of their townscapes. Using the conceptual approaches of urban morphologists in particular, the article demonstrates that not only did the foundation of new towns and creation of new suburbs characterize the period 1350–1530, but so too did the redevelopment of existing urban landscapes through civic improvements and public works. These reveal evidence for the particular ‘agents of change’ involved in the planning and development process, such as surveyors, officials, patrons and architects, and also the role played by maps and drawn surveys. In this reappraisal, England’s urban experiences can be seen to have been closely connected with those instances of urban planning after the Black Death occurring elsewhere in contemporary continental Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-42
    Number of pages21
    JournalUrban History
    Volume42
    Issue number1
    Early online date04 Sep 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

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