By the end of the seventeenth century the exceptional urbanization process in the province of Holland slowed down. Between 1670 and 1830 many towns in Holland had to contend with economic and demographic stagnation or decline that also had wide-ranging spatial consequences. The need for urban extensions and densification diminished, while renovation, re-use and demolition became the central building activities. Redesign, ruralisation and the development of a prospering demolition economy constituted an essential part of this make-over of private property within the towns.
The research project will focus on this still scarcely researched transformation and demolition of the private building stock in the long eighteenth century, based on a comparative analysis of the seven most important shrinking towns in the urban network of Holland: Leiden, Haarlem, Delft, Gouda, Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Alkmaar. By uncovering the spatial strategies governing renovation, re-use and demolition and identifying the various actors involved it becomes apparent shrinkage was perceived both as opportunity and defacement, stimulating interventions aimed at keeping up appearances.
Individual grant, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO)
Dr. F.H. Schmidt
Project dates: beginning – end
October 1, 2017-October 1, 2022