Hilde Greefs (Centre for Urban History, University of Antwerp) and Anne Winter (HOST, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Mobility, Transient Residents, Transit Infrastructure
Throughout history cities have been characterized by intense migration. While in older historiography urban migration was often considered a one-directional move, characteristic for the 19th-century transition to ‘modernity’, research in the past decades has emphasized more complex mobile trajectories, and observed many continuities between ‘premodern’ and ‘modern’ patterns of urban migration. Many of the migrants moving to cities in the past centuries, stayed there only temporarily, moving back and forth or passing through – whether intentionally or unintentionally. This so-called floating or transit population contained many different groups, from pilgrims and tourists over transatlantic migrants and sailors to international merchants, tramping artisans, fairground workers, seasonal labourers or mobile prostitutes. All of them were influenced by and themselves influenced the urban fabric as they arrived, moved through the city, and came into contact with urban infrastructure, residents and authorities.
This session focuses on this so-called floating population of transient residents and their interactions with the urban fabric. We invite authors to reflect on one or more of the following dimensions of these interactions:
- Urban regulation: how were transient groups registered and controlled by urban authorities? To what extent was their presence welcomed, hindered and/or channelled by these regulative measures?
- Mobile trajectories: how did cities function in the broader mobile trajectories of these groups? How did this function relate to the positions of cities in networks of transport and communication?
- Transit infrastructure: how did their patterns of arrival, residence and departure interact with urban infrastructures of arrival and transit, such as lodging houses, hotels, quaysides, postal services and train stations?
We are interested in contributions that shed light on the ways city dwellers and authorities interacted with various kinds of mobile group, and how these interactions stimulated or hindered the trajectories of transient residents, and contributed to changes in the urban fabric. We welcome papers that adopt a comparative and/or longitudinal perspective by comparing different kinds of mobile groups, different cities and/or different time periods, dealing not only with cities in Europe but around the globe.
The Pilgrim and the City. Regulation and Networks of Foreign Pilgrims in Early Modern Venice
Sandra Toffolo (Istituto Storico Italo-Germanico)
Pilgrims, Venice, Early Modern Period
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Venice was the main place of departure for most Western European pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. These travellers were not in Venice to settle, but they also did not just spend a few days there: they generally had to wait several weeks before the departure of their galley. This meant that they moved beyond the practicalities of relatively short-term visitors: for example, some pilgrims decided to move out of the inns in which they were lodged originally and instead rent a room in the house of a local resident. This paper focuses in particular on the regulation and networks of foreign pilgrims during their stay in Venice. The Venetian government tried to regulate in detail both the pilgrims’ sea voyage and their stay in the city. For instance, Venetian magistrates laid down regulations on who could carry pilgrims to the Holy Land, while licensed guides, called ""tolomazi"", helped pilgrims with all sorts of practical matters during their stay in Venice. Nevertheless, this influence of the Venetian government was not the only factor affecting the pilgrims’ stay in the city. There could be large differences in how different groups of pilgrims organised their stay, and to understand the reasons for this, it is crucial to look also at the pilgrims’ networks while they were in the city. Local networks, consisting for example of innkeepers, pilgrims’ guides, and salesmen, had a significant impact on the organisation of the pilgrims’ sojourn. National networks proved equally important. Many pilgrims chose to socialise mainly with people from their own geographical region, even if they had not travelled together from the start and even if this did not correspond with linguistic boundaries. Transnational networks also played a significant role, as Venice was often the first place where pilgrims from very different parts of Europe gathered before continuing their journey to Jerusalem. This paper argues that it was both the Venetian government’s regulations and the pilgrims’ contacts with various networks in Venice that defined the practicalities of the pilgrims’ stay in the city.
Foreigners, Migrants and Transients. Floating population in Late Medieval Valencia (13th-15th Centuries)
Antoni Furio (University of Valencia) and Juan Vicente Garcilla Marsilla (University of Valencia)
Floating Population, Late Medieval Period, Valencia
The aim of this study is to analyse the floating population of one of the largest towns of the Iberian Peninsula during the late Middle Ages, Valencia. Valencia was a mercantile city, a Mediterranean and an important financial centre, capital of a small kingdom that was part of the Crown of Aragon, and whose population would fluctuate between 40,000 and 80,000 inhabitants in these centuries. These figures do not usually consider the floating population, so we do not know neither its relative importance nor the economic and social relevance of this sector.
The study will be based on four distinct groups of this type of population, which will be: primarily foreign merchants, mainly Italian, but also Flemish, Germans, etc., who settled for a time as factors of large companies to leave Valencia once their missions were accomplished. Secondly skilled craftsmen, the tendency of many of whom will instead settle in the city. These include groups such as Genoese silk weavers, Basque stonecutters and German printers, followed by a third group, that of unskilled workers, mostly construction or agricultural labourers, who volunteered for any work that required more strength than skill. And finally, the prostitutes of the important urban brothel, that can be traced through judicial sources.
The first effort will be to quantify these groups and assess their numerical importance to the settled population. The strategies and behaviours of these different groups will be distinguished: if they arrived in the city alone or with their families, how long they remained, what ties they established with the local population, whether they brought cultural novelties from their places of origin, etc. Finally, it will be interesting to analyse the attitude of the local authorities towards these different categories of people newly arrived or passing through the city. In short, it is a question of making a first approach to a subject of which virtually everything is unknown, and which may be of fundamental importance, not only from the point of view of demographic studies, but also economic, social and cultural.
Grison Pastry Makers as Migratory Agents of Change in Copenhagen's Public Sphere - app 1780-1880
Jakob Ingemann (Parby Museum of Copenhagen)
Migration, Grison Pastry Makers, Copenhagen
In the 18th and 19th centuries individuals from Grison in present-day Switzerland migrated as pastry makers and cafettiers to many European and transatlantic metropolises and provincial town. During the years their flair for creating semipublic spaces for elite and upperclass citizens to consume coffee, chocolate, liquors, news and gossip were refined into a businessmodel and migratory system that spread throughout most European and even transatlantic cities. The migration system behind this business model was unusual compared to other Early Modern migratory phenomenons because it included a significant remigration and circular migration along with retributions to the homeregion of the migrants in the Alps. My paper will adress the larger migratory history behind the phenomenon, but also look into the peculiar reception and of the Grison pastry makers in Copenhagen in the early 1800s, which included specific legislation directed at foreigners involved in the trade.
Closed Gates and Dark Streets: Urban Spaces of Arrival at Night in Early Nineteenth-century Leiden
Marjolein Schepers (HOST, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Spaces of Arrival, Night Time, Leiden
Every night, the city of Leiden underwent a transformation upon dawn. City guards closed the gates every night, picking up and dropping of the keys at another location, making it difficult for people to arrive in the city at night. Barges arriving after sundown had to pay a higher entry fee per passenger. And as darkness fell, city officials made their rounds to light the city lamps, with another round to ensure the lights would burn until dusk. Frequented sites like inns and lodging houses moreover had to keep candles or lamps in the window sill, ensuring that they were visible and easily identifiable for travellers and local police alike. Local authorities paid extra attention to spaces of arrival. In times of crisis, like epidemics, several cities in the Low Countries would forbid citizens and inns to host aliens overnight. Many cities held lodging registers to monitor who stayed overnight in cities. Migrant experiences, and the policing of spaces of migration in the city, were different during the day and during the night. This paper contributes to the debates on spaces of arrival in cities and urban mobility infrastructures by analysing their entanglements with the daily rhythm of light and dark. Since the spatial turn, migration historians have started to analyse the places in cities that are characterised by migration and mobility, and the infrastructures structuring and guiding these mobilities. However, changes during different seasons, or even daily rhythms of darkness and sunlight, have to yet received less attention, whereas indications exist that notions of visibility, controllability and safety, important for migration regulation, were different during the day than at night. The paper departs from the hypothesis that spaces of arrival were particularly regulated at night time and focuses on the notions of safety and danger regarding mobility and the city at night. Focusing on the intersections of the nocturnal rhythm with urban spaces of transit and arrival, the paper analyses spatial patterns of city lighting and of locations of accommodation and entry routes for migrants in early nineteenth-century Leiden. This is combined with information on city policies of night patrouilles and the daily rhythms of lighting lamps and closing gates, amongst others. Combining spatial, infrastructural and social approaches to the city at night provides more insights into the social fabric of the city and the nature of and attitudes towards spaces of arrival. The focus on migrants and spaces of arrival broadens our understanding of safety, visibility and danger in the city at night from a static to a more dynamic view of a city and its passers-through, as well as the experiences of the city at night for people who do not form part of the resident community.
Commercial Mobility Beyond the Metropolis: British Coastal Towns as Hubs for Transient Traders (1870s-1930s)
Léa Leboissetier (Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon)
Transient Traders, Coastal Areas, East Sussex
The role of street trading and commercial micro-mobility in large nineteenth-century cities has recently been reassessed in the historiography of modern Britain. Various scholars have shown how street traders and informal markets were an integral part of late-nineteenth century and twentieth century metropolises, such as London. There were, however, other types of mobile traders: while costermongers stayed within the confines of a single city, pedlars and hawkers were individuals going from town-to-town or from door-to-door to sell their goods. While it is difficult to trace the geographical mobility of these transient traders, archival material shows that they did not confine themselves to industrial and commercial metropolises. When analysing inter-district and international mobility, we can indeed notice that coastal towns also attracted “comers and goers” who made use of their transport or migrant networks, their material resources or their touristic appeal. Local authorities and municipalities, in turn, tried to monitor the influx of itinerant traders in their streets. This paper contributes to a body of works that underlines the crucial role retained by street and itinerant trading for the urban poor in cities such as London or Manchester by looking beyond metropolises. On the basis of police reports, administrative sources, the press and charity associations records from late nineteenth and twentieth century East Sussex, I show the importance of these transient traders in coastal areas.
Investigating the Impact of Refugee Camps on the Development of its Hosting Cities, a Comparative Investigation. The Case of Jordan.
Dina Dahood (Dabash KULeuven)
Transient Spaces, Refugee Camps, Jordan
Refugee camps are habitually defined as receptive sites, transient spaces of exile and nondescript depoliticized places of exception. Refugee camps and refugees, in general, are even discussed as sources of a burden on the economy of its hosting geographies and as forms of draining its infrastructure. While such discussion might be valid; this paper aims to challenge adopting such perspective as the only frame of discourse. Consequently, this paper argues that increasing the permeability of a refugee camp at multiple levels will contribute to the development of its hosting city. In order to investigate this assumption this paper compares the level of development of three cities in Jordan, one hosting a Palestine refugee camp, another hosting a Syrian refugee camp, while the third city does not host any.
The study is based on quantifiable indicators such as urban growth of city’s fabric, expansion of transportation network and emergence of services infrastructure (e.g., Education, health) utilizing available data such as aerial photos, census and technical drawings and representations such GIS.
The paper compares two different modalities of refugee camp management held by the same governing regime. In the case of the ten official Palestine refugee camps, that were established in the early fifties and mid-sixties, the camps enjoy porous boundaries that allow (and to a certain extent catalyzes) free accessibility of people and goods. On the contrary, and fifty years later, the two Syrian refugee camps established in Jordan are managed in a more confined manner. With the physical and non-physical barriers established in those two gated camps, the flow of the refugee population inside and outside the camps to the lowest level.
By comparing the mere level of development amongst the selected cities, this inquiry aims to excerpt lessons that may inform relevant stakeholders in tackling the refugee camps questions by highlighting the developmental impact of such settings on its overall surroundings.
The study compares the camp management modalities of (1) Marka camp, a Palestine refugee camp established in 1968, and (2) Zaatari camp, Syrian refugee camps established in 2012. On the other level, the study also compares the development extent of Russeifa city, Mafraq city that host Marka and Zaatari refugee camps respectively. The comparison is extended by including Ajloun city, a Jordanian city that is proximate to the aforementioned cities, yet not hosting any refugee camps.