Archives de catégorie : Research progress

Database of 1960 Maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand

Prin Jhearmaneechotechai, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok

Published in Academic Journal of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, 2016

Translated for Archival City by Pijika Pumketkao,  École nationale supérieure architecture de Paris-Belleville


This article describes the creation of a cartographic database based upon the 1960 maps of 70 Mueang districts of Thailand that were recently discovered and studied. The database-creation process includes the search and compilation of the maps, the improvement of the maps’ condition, the creation of index of place names and other cartographic features on the maps which can be categorized in topographic context, types of buildings, archaeological sites and monuments and the road network. This database can be used for future study and research on Thai cities during the 1960s.

Keywords: database, City map, Cities in Thailand, 1960.

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On the archives of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Quito

Women’s Re-education Work and urban space in Ecuador (1870-1942)

Erika Bedon, FLACSO-Ecuador

Archival description on AtoM
Archival City, “EC-NSCBP. Fonds of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd – Ecuador”, ArchivalCity_RG_0002:

This approach to the historical documents of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Ecuador is part of a broader work that we are developing with Eduardo Kingman and Ana María Goetschel, from the Department of Anthropology, History and Humanities of FLACSO-Ecuador. This work is aimed at showing the functioning of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Ecuador, during Garcianism and liberalism, as a system of disciplining and moral control, between the actions of the state and the Church.

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Recensements et cartographie de Quito et de son aire métropolitaine (1573-2022) 

Henry Godard, chercheur indépendant


Cet article a pour objet la collecte des données et l’analyse de la base de données des plans historique de Quito et de celle de l’Institut national de statistique et recensements (INEC). Après avoir replacé cette collecte dans son contexte historique et son environnement scientifique (la réalisation du programme Atlas informatisé de Quito entre 1984 et 1992), nous aborderons : la base de données des plans historiques en cours de construction et qui comprend près de 200 documents ; les données issues des cinq derniers recensements (1982, 1990, 2001, 2010 et 2022) ; les cartes composées de nombreuses couches et réalisées avec le programme Illustrator ; les possibilités de réutilisation de ces données par les enseignants, chercheurs, professionnels et étudiants.



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The Administrative Directories of the Préfecture de la Seine and the City of Paris: encoding and visualisation tool

Interview with Carole Lamoureux, Cassandre Maubert and Jeanne Fras


The Archival City programme team has undertaken the scanning and the encoding of a collection of administrative directories from the Préfecture de la Seine and the City of Paris spanning the period from 1883 to 1970. These directories list the “personnel and responsibilities of the departments of the Seine and the City of Paris” (1885-1911), later renamed “organisation and responsibilities of the departments” (1920-1966) and “administrative directory” (from 1970). This work makes it possible to navigate quickly and reliably through 38 directories. We spoke with Carole Lamoureux, Cassandre Maubert and Jeanne Fras, integral contributors to the transcription and encoding of these directories, about their methodologies and the outcomes they achieved.

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Updates from the Jerusalem study field

The 3 modelling of the Maghrebi Quarter: a project underway

The Jerusalem research team focuses on history of the Maghrebi quarter, which dates to the late twelfth century, shortly after Salah al-Din (Saladin) conquered Jerusalem (1187). The founder of the Ayyubid dynasty launched an ambitious plan to repopulate the Holy City after the crusades. Many religious endowments were established whose purpose was to welcome, house and care for pilgrims of Maghrebi origins on their way to Mecca. Over eight centuries, these endowments continued to perform their function until the 1960s when the quarter was razed during the night of 10 to 11 June 1967 by Israeli bulldozers to make way for an expansive plaza in front of the Western Wall. The work of Vincent Lemire and the rest of the team aims to retrace the social and urban history of the quarter, which is both a local and a Mediterranean history.

Fig. 1-View of the Maghrebi quarter, early 1930s

Source: © Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

Fig. 2- The empty plaza and the rubble of the Maghrebi quarter (southern and eastern part) in 1967

source: © Gilles Caron

One of the ambitions (and deliverables) of the project is the 3D modelling of the buildings of the Maghrebi quarter. This project pursues a twofold aim: firstly, it is a tool aiming at helping visually restoring the erased past of the quarter and transforming it into the historical memory of the urban space and the global heritage of Jerusalem, by linking this 3d model with the archives gathered. Secondly, the three-dimensional modelling project in Jerusalem has also potential in developing strategies and tools for taking up similar projects in other places in the future and in other contexts.

The project is being carried by a team of historians, architects, and digital developers. It is based on the archives and historical sources collected by the team (and described on AToM) during the Open Jerusalem project (2014-2019) and the first phase of the Archival City Project (2019-2022).

The modelling work is realised by an Italian agency, 3D research Experience Technology, specialised in modelling, in collaboration with the Center for Research on Digital Humanities of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2023. Thus, it will be possible to show an overview of the work done during the Archival City mission to Jerusalem in June (13-18 June).

Fig. 3-The cadastral 1936 map in 2D vertical, then in 2D at 45°


Fig. 4-The cubes of the Maghrebi quarter that rise on the 1936 cadastral map

The team met recently to tackle different methodological issues related to the 3D modelling. A list of buildings to be modelled (the most and best documented ones, for which the team has multiples surveys and sources) was agreed upon : eleven buildings including the Dar Abu Saud (fig. 5) a housing complex where Yasser Arafat lived for some years during his childhood in the 1930s.

Fig. 5- Maghrebi Quarter, Dar Abu Saud, and the restoration site of the Dome of the Rock, January 1964

Source: © EBAF

Several other methodological issues were addressed, for instance the question of the type of textures to be chosen for the modelling of the building’s facades, as it is closely related to the type of stones that adorned the facades (the objective being to be as faithful as possible with the architectural characteristics of the neighbourhood).

The question of the representation of the vegetation was also addressed, both in its strict reconstruction and in the location of the known and  visible vegetation in the district according to photographic sources and aerial views taken from a zeppelin.

More specific details were also tackled, such as the appearance of the windows and the colour of the roofs, which is supposed to be lighter than the colour of the walls due to frequent restoration by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood (these latter points will be discussed again during the next meetings).     

Fig. 6- Screenshots of the 3D modelling underway

Other methodological choices concern the levels of the buildings: while several sources, whether written or visual, do not indicate the number of floors of the buildings, we know thanks to a list of the waqf drawn up in 1959[1] that a third of the houses in the district had one floor(or, rarely, two), while two thirds consisted of a ground floor and sometimes a terrace (the elevation of the street above certain buildings complicates the understanding).

This is particularly true for the Madrasa al-Afdaliyya, which was probably constituted of a single level, itself composed of several superimposed floors (all dated to the late 12th -early 13th century) according to Benjamin Z. Kedar, Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah and Tawfiq Da’ādli in their article on the Madrasa[2]. The hundreds of pictures we gathered helped a lot for this decisive point  (fig. 7).

Fig. 7- The dome of the Madrasa Afdaliyya, lower right, ca. 1910

Source: © EBAF

Finally, a major issue that is being discussed with the technical team is the production of a “street view” option and a VR (virtual reality) in the reconstruction, which are closely linked to the project’s ambition to target a wide audience. Several options are currently under evaluation by the team.The implementation of these functionalities will have an impact on the kind of platform chosen for the dissemination of the reconstruction (web viewer on a website, free downloadable application, full immersive 3d glasses etc.).

Moreover, short descriptive texts will serve as textual support for each of the modelled building. They will provide historical, archaeological, and architectural details on the buildings, while informing readers on their social and/or religious function over time.  The texts will also include links to the archival descriptions on AToM and the Archival City Open Data platform (currently under construction on Nakala) as well as to other transmedia contents.

The purpose is twofold: first, to make the sources on which the modelling work was based more visible and accessible, second, to connect and bridge the Archival City project with other existing digital archives projects on the Maghrebi Quarter which have been launched both by the international scientific community and grassroot organizations.

In January 2023, Raphaël Banc-Lévêque joined the team. He collaborates on the preparation of the textual material for the 3D modelling and is engaged in the writing of a data paper on the 3D modelling.


Annalaura Turiano & Raphaël Banc-Lévêque


[1] Islamic Research and Heritage Revival Institute, Abu-Dis, call no. 0/1959/1.19/2.

[2] Kedar, B. Z., S. Weksler-Bdolah, and T. Daʾadli. 2012. “The Madrasa Afdaliyya / Maqâm Al-Shaykh ʾId: An Example of Ayyubid Architecture in Jerusalem.” Revue Biblique, 119, no. 2: 271–87.

Conference in Quito 15-16 march 2023

On March 15 and 16, 2023 will be held at the University of San Francisco de Quito a two days conference devoted to the Inca Quito and organized by Carlos Ramiro Espinosa Fernandez de Cordova professor at USFQ and member of the Quito Archival City’s Team.

The first day will be devoted to the presentation of the 3D modelling of Quito 1532. On the second day, the presentations will revolve around the documentation and data covering 100 years of history of the city, a transition period characterized by the Inca occupation and the Spanish conquest.

Programme of the first day

Programme of the second day

The Philibert collection at the municipal library of Toulon: understanding the value of a heterogenous body of items

Since 1973, the city of Toulon has held a collection of documents and other items of exceptional richness for historians writing about the history of Algiers and, to a lesser extent, Algeria itself and even other parts of the Maghreb1. The purchase of these documents by Marcel Philibert, the last chairman of the Comité du Vieil Alger (Committee for Old Algiers, or CVA), involved more than 21,000 items of all kinds. This committee, which was very active from its foundation in 1905 to the independence of Algeria and which feverishly maintains itself as a European social network in Algeria thereafter, is better known thanks to the work of historians of heritage and architecture2.

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  1. See a very synthetic presentation on the Toulon municipal library website ( I would like to thank all the workers of the Lagoubran annex and especially Véronique Gillain for the reception and the presentation of Philibert papers []
  2. OULEBSIR Nabila, Les usages du patrimoine. Monuments, musées et politique coloniale en Algérie (1830 – 1930), Paris, Éditions de la MSH, 2004, 411 p., p. 240 – 247 ; HUEBER Juliette, « Documenter le patrimoine et l’architecture d’Alger : les Feuillets d’El-Djezaïr », Architecture Beyond Europe, 13, 2018 [online] ; on the erosion of the CVA activities after independance, have a look to BRACCO Hélène, L’autre face des « Européens » en Algérie indépendante, Paris, Éditions Paris-Méditerranée, « Documents et témoignages », 1999, 223 p., p. 115 : « Même après l’indépendance, au cercle des amis du vieil Alger, on aurait aimé avoir des familles algériennes. Il y en a qui viennent à nos réunions, nos conférences, mais à peine une ou deux » (testimony of Miss Ch., borned in 1933). On the intellectual environment of Algiers university, see L’orientalisme en train de se faire. Une enquête collective dans les archives de René Basset, forthcoming at the EHESS Editions at spring 2021 (coordinated by M. Bossaert, A. Jomier and E. Szurek, with contributions from students, archivists and a librarian) and Margo Stemmelin current PhD (« Alger, capitale orientaliste ? Vie intellectuelle et culturelle en Algérie coloniale (1880 – 1930) », started in 2018). []

Algiers’ banking institutions: the example of the BNP Paribas archives

            Banking centres in cities, and especially colonial cities, have only very recently and tentatively been the subject of in-depth historical research[1]. In terms of the importance of both banks and the companies in which they are shareholders in the urban space, the field of historiographic possibilities is vast. Moreover, clearly re-situating and measuring urban investment in banks and their relationships with other figures (elected officials, owners and other, diverse notables) in colonial cities has been made possible by a recent crop of monographs on a range of institutions and figures[2].

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Progress in archival descriptions

The Croissance growth phase, into which the Archival City project moved in late 2020, will allow the archival inventory coordination site to continue the work of identifying pertinent archives for each of the seven areas of study, their description according to current standards, publication and recognition for the next two years.

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The Importance of Administrative Directories as a Guide to Sources for the History of Grand Paris: The Example of 1885

Digitised, but not yet available online, the administrative directories of Paris and the département of the Seine held at the Archives de Paris, cover the period 1883-1980. As Elsa Camus’ research for Archival City has shown, using the complementary funds of the Library of the Hôtel de Ville we can go back to the days before, the Third Republic as two directories are referenced there for the years 1844 and 1850, plus a third for the year 1880. The first directory in the digitised collection, for 1883, is of limited interest for research into the history of Grand Paris (greater Paris). It contains only 83 pages and merely lists the main workers at the prefecture, without mentioning names, remits or addresses. The first truly useful directory for our research is the one published in 1885 by the Préfecture de la Seine and printed at the municipal printworks (document 1). The publication should be closely associated with the development of the Paris administration, under the auspices of prefect Eugène Poubelle (1883-1896). In fact, under his mandate the administrative directory was published regularly, under the title Personnel et attributions des services de la préfecture du département de la Seine et de la Ville de Paris (Personnel and their Remits of the Departments of the Prefecture of the Département of the Seine and the City of Paris).

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Archives and the history of urban pollution: framework elements

Why choose this subject? There is barely anything original in holding a workshop around the theme of pollution in 2020, the subject has been on the environmental history agenda for several decades now. In France, the publication in 2002 of the outcome of the Clermont-Ferrand symposium on pollution in urban and industrial societies[1], followed by the defence of Geneviève Massard-Guilbaud[2]‘s research, is a good indicator of historians’ interest in a social history of pollution in the industrial age, an interest which had already produced isolated initiatives here and there, mainly focused on city-dwellers’ sensitivity to disturbance expressed through petitions, letters and 19th century investigation files[3]. In the English-speaking world, the work of historians Martin Melosi[4] and Joel Tarr[5] on pollution goes back to the 1990s, the time of classic works such as [6] The Search for the Ultimate Sink and The Sanitary City[7]

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The Great Paris in the Past

This video is taken from a presentation by Emile Blettery and Paul Lecat at Futures Days in November 2019. It presents the research work of the Seine 54 project, which aims at aggregating census data from the Seine department with the IGN’s aerial photography collection.
The presentation focuses in particular on the digitisation of data, the construction of a database and geographic information system, the georeferencing of aerial photographs and the development of the data covisualisation tool.
These data are then used in a case study on the shantytowns of Nanterre.

Report of the survey in wua Lai neighbourhood

Ordinary city mapping and architectural survey in Wua Lai neighbourhood, Chiang Mai

In the framework of Archival City project, our approach to documenting the ordinary city of Chiang Mai relies on the pedagogical trainings, notably on the Studio of Master’s degree “Heritage/Tourism, Contemporaneity/Development” which associates ENSA Paris-Belleville, Faculty of architecture of University of Chiang Mai, Faculty of architecture of Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok). The field workshop of this studio, organised each year on December in Chiang Mai since 2011, is an opportunity to produce the documents on Wua Lai neighbourhood, our case study. The archive of Wua Lai is an integral part of our corpus of study.

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Explanatory note for the future digital tools

The first year Emergence revealed the great diversity of situations and types of archives according to the projects. This observation was the starting point for a reflection on the convergence of problematics in a context of profound transformation of the uses and practices of the public: in the age of the Internet, access to information is supposed to be available and immediate. We asked ourselves about the method of data processing and description to meet the scientific needs of the projects as well as how to make them accessible to the public through different tools and representations. Our objective was therefore to define how to implement cultural and technical interoperability.

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