In a time of rapid urbanization solid long-term perspectives on the many environmental, social, economic or political challenges of urbanity are urgently needed. Uniting urban history, sociology, environmental studies and digital humanities, GIStorical Antwerp II turns the historical city into a digital lab which provides an answer to this need. For seven snapshots between 1584 and 1984 it offers dynamic social maps including every household in the entire city of Antwerp. Construction combines innovative ways of spatial methodologies as Linear Referencing. The result is a GIS-environment which not only allows a micro-level view of 500 years of urban development, but more importantly allows an immediate spatial and social contextualization of a sheer unlimited number of other datasets, both those realized through 30 years of research on Antwerp and the mass of structured and unstructured digital 'big data'. For both the applicants and the international research community a completely new type of longitudinal research on urban inequalities – from income over housing quality to pollution – becomes feasible.
The GIStorical Antwerp-project has been developed at the Centre for Urban History of the University of Antwerp. Director of phase II of the project is Tim Soens. Supervisores are: Bruno Blondé, Greet De Block, Hilde Greefs, Mike Kestemont, Ilse Loots, Stijn Oosterlynck, Peter Stabel and Ilja Van Damme.
Iason Jongepier, Rogier van Kooten and Ric Janssens are responsible for the implementation of the project. All are exploring the uses of historical GIS in their research, contributing to the further development of GIStorical Antwerp as a cutting-edge tool for interdisciplinary historical research.