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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Traces of a public policy for energy-saving in social housing at the French National Archives (1974 – 1982)

Anaïs Parmentier, Université Gustave Eiffel

Access to data :


The 1970s were marked by two oil crises. Rising oil prices and the threat of oil shortages forced the French government to quickly establish an energy-saving policy. This policy took different approaches over the course of the decade, depending on the sectors targeted. This data paper looks back at the archival corpus assembled and used for a master’s degree study, which sought to establish how social housing stakeholders approached and managed these energy crises, as well as how they acted alongside the public authorities to establish an energy-saving policy in the HLM sector. Focusing on the records selected at the French National Archives, this data paper explains the archival process and choices made in order to build up a corpus for a study specifically focused on social housing. Nevertheless, this corpus may also be of interest to historians working on the history of construction, or on the history of alternative energies and their use in the residential sector.

Keywords: Social Housing, HLM, Renewable energies, Oil crisis, Energy-saving policies

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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:

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.

This is a limited historiographical study that attempts to contribute to a broader discussion on the configuration of the state, secularisation and the shaping of security and biopolitics. What we have set out to show in this study is the place of congregations such as the Good Shepherd in the governmentalisation of the state in the Andes, taking Ecuador in the last third of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century as the context. This is measured both in macro-political terms of population administration and in anatomo-political terms of the control of bodies[1].

The study constitutes a step forward in a research programme aimed at understanding the mechanisms that connected spaces such as boarding schools, prisons, missions and institutions of ambiguous affiliation such as the Good Shepherd, with the organisational projects of the state and society in those years.

In terms of the debate opened by Maiguashca (2005) and Williams (2005), we would like to make visible other aspects of what has been called Catholic modernity, as well as what is presented as its counterpart, liberal modernity. In the case of Catholic modernity, it is not so much its openness to progress and nation-building, including the expansion of citizenship through the literacy of women and indigenous people[2], as its points of closure and the constitution of spaces of exception[3] that are dealt with.

Catholic modernity constitutes one of the forms of development of modernity in the nineteenth century, related to the changes that took place within the Church in response to the modernisation and secularisation of society in Europe, and at the same time it was one of the forms assumed by states in their constitution. In post-colonial situations, the intervention of the Church in social life not only had a modernising but also a missionary and civilising intention, or rather this intention was modernising, bringing the interests of the Church to coincide with those of the state. Moreover, modernity was linked to racism, something that gave a particular nuance to the disciplinary projects themselves.

About the Religious of the Good Shepherd in Ecuador

The Order of the Religious of the Good Shepherd was founded in Angers, France, in 1835, by St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier; in view to re-educating women, this work was directly related to the social problems that were being experienced due to the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation in Europe, France and the Catholic world as a whole[4]. Early modernity brought about substantial economic, scientific, technological and cultural changes that altered the balance of power within which religious practices and Church action developed.

By 1868, the Good Shepherd Order had a recognised track record of work in several countries where they had established their work, including Latin America. In 1870, there were approximately 110 monasteries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America[5].

The conditions of the arrival of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Ecuador are detailed in the official register of Ecuador of 24 August 1870. The Archbishop of Quito, Monsignor Ignacio Checa i Barba, signed the agreement with the superior of the Good Shepherd Sisters of Angers, France, in response to the request and authorisation of President García Moreno. It was decided that “in the month of November 1870, eight Sisters of the Good Shepherd should leave for Ecuador to take charge of the house for the confinement of women and the refuge of repentant women”[6].  This request reflects the problem of population administration that the government had to deal with, as well as the need to modernise and moralise these institutions based on the experience accumulated by the order in Europe.

In Ecuador, the presence of women’s religious orders such as the Good Shepherd was favoured by the Concordat, aimed at strengthening relations with the Vatican and obtaining the collaboration of the Church in the construction of a “Catholic Nation”[7]. For García Moreno, all this was part of a comprehensive project of societal modernisation and nation-building promoted by the state. An important part of this process was the reform of the clergy and the renewal of the Church, as a basis for improving the social environment.

Garcianism promoted the arrival of other orders in addition to the Good Shepherd, aimed at the education of young people (including poor boys and girls), such as the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Providence and the Sacred Hearts, and the attention and care of the sick, such as the Sisters of Charity[8].  The Good Shepherd nuns were concerned with the control and rehabilitation of women, in a moral and disciplinary sense, although they also fulfilled other functions such as the education of girls.

For Garcianism, in particular, it was not possible to think of progress without setting the moral precedents on which society should be based, namely the family and within it, women as the custodians and reproducers of its principles. Maiguashca (2005) saw this as a way of “feminising Christianity”. However, this feminisation occurred as a form of affirmation of patriarchy and as the reproduction of the opposition between the masculine public sphere and the feminin private one. The work of the nuns of the Good Shepherd, while forming part of the actions of the state, constituted a strategy of patriarchy, aimed at both repressing public contraventions in moral matters and guaranteeing the control of fathers over daughters, husbands over wives, employers over servants, public orphanages over orphans. While much of their action related to the so-called private sphere, it must be seen as part of a broader project aimed at governmentalising  the state. At the same time, this governmentalisation was also intertwined with patriarchy. 

What we cannot lose sight of is the specialised character of the order, its existence as a fully developed device before its adoption by García Moreno. Indeed, the order was being installed in other parts of South America, such as Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, as something that did not obey the initiative of governments alone, but was the result of crossed internal and external efforts.

The perception that the BP fulfilled a useful function for the prison system initially took place in the European context and had to be adapted to other contexts, such as Ecuador. This was made possible in part thanks to the action of visionaries such as García Moreno, who made his action part of the action of the state. It can be said that these are the subtle (but little studied) ways in which Catholic modernity functioned: they established new notions regarding the administration of populations and the mechanisms that make it possible.

An oeuvre of women for women

Another aspect that should not be lost sight of is that this was an institution formed by women and administered by women: their active participation in a field such as rehabilitation helped to break the conventional image of women’s orders at the time. We are talking about non-contemplative orders engaged in the administration of a type of women, which, without being state-run, acted on behalf of the state. As Sol Serrano (2011) recorded, in the case of Chile, congregations such as the GS “knew what to do with the poor”, which explains why they were welcomed by the liberal governments themselves. The state’s strategy was precisely to seek specialised personnel to manage the education and re-education of women, something that responded to its own administrative weakness. It can be said that part of this modernity was the change in the mentalities of these religious orders, which specialised in the management and administration of a certain type of population.

In the Ecuadorian case, the relations between the Church and the State were affected by the Concordat of 1869. In this context, the Order of the Good Shepherd maintained a certain autonomy in the management and administration of the house, but it had to respond to the State not only because of the economic contributions it received, but also because it was anchored in an apparatus that administered the issue of women, as well as the police, the school and the family. It can also be seen that there was a subordination to other religious orders, in this case to the Society of Jesus, which was in charge of providing them with spiritual service, as well as being co-participants in the Napo mission. At the same time, the work of the house in Ecuador was always in relation with the Mother House in France.

About the documents

The documents on which we are working in this investigation go from 1870 to 1960 approximately. They were located in the Museum of the Good Shepherd, in the House of the Recoleta of the Good Shepherd, in the City of Quito. This is on Benigno Vela Street and Pedro Vicente Maldonado Avenue, a sector known as the “Recoleta”. A series of documents were found in a boot, which formed part of the museum’s museography. These documents have not been classified, codified or inventoried, that is to say that they have not been assumed as an institutional or historical archive within the order. It is not known why these documents have not been catalogued or assumed as an institutional archive.

Among the documents are a series of letters of correspondence between the different houses of the Good Shepherd in the city of Quito and provinces of the country, that is, the Province of Napo, and the Province of Bolivar, Quito being the main house of the Order,  as well as with the Mother House in France and other Latin American countries where the religious had established themselves. These documents deal with house regulations, requests and authorisations for administrative and operational processes within the different houses of the Order. They also consist of greetings and letters of encouragement from GS houses in other countries, in which testimonies and anecdotes from the different “works” are also told in order to encourage each other and share knowledge of how to administer the houses, such as the documents referring to the foundation of a school in Guaranda. There are also regulations and correspondence with the government and the Junta de Beneficencia during the liberal period, a list of the scholarship girls at the Colegio Angel de la Guarda in Quito, and documents of the founding of the BP house in Archidona and Napo.

Other documents are correspondences with the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, concerning the request for the reception and confinement of orphan girls, spiritual exercises and internal regulations.

This type of correspondence gives an account of the order inside the houses, the layout of the rooms and the place occupied by the women in each of them. 

In some of the letters we find subjects related to the daily life of the houses, inventories of the kitchen and utensils.  Theer are books recording the women’s entries into the different sections of the house, with dates of entry and exit, belongings and dowries, and internal regulations, both for the order and for individual houses. Among the correspondence there are letters of request and authorisation for taking the vows of the Magdalenes.

Other documentation corresponds to official documents from the Ecclesiastical Government of the Archdiocese, the Archbishop’s Secretariat, addressed to the Reverend Mother of the GS, requesting the confinement and release of women, for various reasons. It is not possible o specify if each and every one of the requests for confinement were dealt with or executed. It is understood that being a confinement ticket, this implies that the order to deprive the person mentioned in the document was carried out.  The documents are signed by different persons who held a position of power, which enabled them to execute such requests.

Other documents are requests for confinement and administrative documents issued by different religious authorities, parish priests, priests and prelates inside and outside the order. These documents reveal the relations of the religious order with the clergy, bishops, archbishops, priests, parish priests, and the ways in which power was organised in terms of the administration of these populations.

Another series of documents are official documents of the General Intendancy of Police, the Police Commissariat, and the Director of Prisons. These are transfer slips for judicial procedures, confinement slips, release slips, prison orders, and sentences. These were state institutions that formed part of the corpus of the police, which operated in parallel and in coordination with and subject to the ecclesiastical authorities, who also carried out these police functions.

Among the documents mentioned, there is also a series of correspondence between the Camarote de Santa Marta, a women’s prison, and the Buen Pastor, regarding the transfer of women for the enforcement of sentences.

On the other hand, there is a series of letters from women requesting to be accepted as religious to join the order, letters sent from different provinces and various countries, including Panama and Colombia, as well as a series of petitions drawn up by priests and parish priests interceding for certain women to be accepted as novices.

As mentioned above, the total corpus of documents has not been classified or codified. The documents presented here for Archival City are a random sample, representative of the entire corpus of documents of the institution in question. These documents give an account of their characteristics, dates and typology. The sample of documents described here starts from 1872 and continues to 1890. The coding given to them is simply an alphanumeric number to order them in the Excel table and locate them with the number of the image corresponding to each document; it is not technical cataloguing: EB-PB1-1 EB (Erika Bedón), BP (Buen Pastor), Folder No., Image No. 

In relation to the general cataloguing of all the documents, we have been able to identify that there are several themes that are intertwined and therefore it is not easy to classify them thematically, as approaching the notions conceptually is complex. For example, the notion of police, can be understood as a police institution, but also in a broader sense where police actions correspond more to a patriarchal order than to an institutional order in itself. It is for this reason that the documents have not yet been classified either; technical work is planned at a later date.

While still being conceived as a detention centre, the BP was also a place of welcome. Sometimes the nuns took in these women, but sometimes they locked them up at the request of their families, thus blurring the boundaries between confinement and reception. Its mission was not only disciplinary. The way it worked was (or ‘pretended to work’) was as a rational system, even when it operated with violence (for example, the isolation of the girls in order to make them think again). What was sought, above all, was social reintegration through the cultivation of morality, penance and work, offering various options for this inside and outside the order. Under the liberal administration, the social action of the G.P. came under the control of the Junta de Beneficencia and, in other respects, of the Dirección de Estudios and the Dirección de Estadística. They were part of the state’s population policies. Regarding liberalism, the GS Sisters, like the Sisters of Charity in the hospital field, remained the most qualified in the country for the rehabilitating and re-educating women. The country had begun to urbanise, with the incorporation of many former villages into the cities, and there was also a perception that modernisation was leading to a relaxation of customs, which increased demands for control over contraventions[9].

The documents described here and the other documents belonging to the Casa Madre del Buen Pastor in the city of Quito have allowed us to approach the re-education of women in the Garciano and liberal period, while at the same time leaving a series of questions open for further studies on the history of women in Ecuador, charitable institutions and the forms of control and government of populations in the Andean countries. The material presented here is part of research in progress, as mentioned above, and therefore does not seek to provide definitive answers to the problems posed; on the contrary, it is an approximation and notions that are being constructed in the research process.




Agamben, Giorgio (2004) “Estado de excepción: Homo sacer, II, I”.  Filosofía e Historia. Adriana Hidalgo Editora.

Foucault, Michael (2008) Seguridad, Territorio y Población, Madrid, Akal.

Herrera, Gioconda, (2001) “Los estudios de género en el Ecuador: entre el conocimiento y el reconocimiento” En Antología. Género. Quito: FLACSO – Sede Ecuador: Junta de Andalucía. 2001. 379 p. Serie Antología. Ciencias Sociales.

Kingman, Garcés, Eduardo (2006) La ciudad y los otros, Quito 1860-1940: higienismo, hornato y policía. FLACSO-Ecuador, Universidad Rovira i Virgili.

Maiguashca, Juan (2005) “El proyecto garciano de modernidad católica-republicana en Ecuador, 1830-1875”. In Martha Irurozqui (ed.), La mirada esquiva: reflexiones históricas sobre la interacción del estado y la ciudadanía en los Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador y Perú) siglo XIX, Madrid, CSIC, pp. 233-260.

Serrano, Sol (2001) “Vírgenes Viajeras”. Diarios de religiosas francesas en su ruta a Chile. 1837-1874. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Williams, Derek, (2005) “The Making of Ecuador’s Pueblo Católico, 1861-1875”, in Cristóbal Aljovin and Nils Jacobsen (eds.), Political Cultures in the Andes, 1750-1950. Durham, Duke University Press, pp. 207-229.



[1] Foucault, Michel, (2008) Seguridad, Territorio y Población, Madrid, Akal.

[2] This would lay the foundations for the formation of spaces of opinion such as that of Catholic women, as Gioconda Herrera shows (For the case of Argentine, see the study by Marta Bounando).

[3] Agamben, Giorgio (2004) “Estado de excepción: Homo sacer, II, I”.  Filosofía e Historia. Adriana Hidalgo Editora.

[4] What is a Religious of the Good Shepherd? Paula Hoesl. Translated by María Magdalena Maglioni. S/f. Good Shepherd Novitiate Brochure. Quito-Ecuador. No printed data.

[5] Idem.

[6] Diario Oficial El Nacional 24 August 1870. N| 442. Epoch II. Interior Section.

[7] The Ecuadorian Concordat. Antonio Flores. Paris. Bookshop of Garnier Brothers. 1894. National Library of Ecuador “Eugenio Espejo”.

[8] Idem.

[9] Kingman Garcés, Eduardo. La ciudad y los otros, Quito 1860-1940: higienismo, hornato y policía. FLACSO-Ecuador.

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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Videos of “Living Archives for Sustainable Cities” closing conference


The “Living Archives for Sustainable Cities” closing conference took place on 9 and 10 November at the Université Gustave Eiffel.

Videos of the various panels and round tables are available below, as well as on the project’s Facebook page.


Video 1-First Day. 9 November 2023

00:12:11 – Welcoming remarks
00:18:33 – Introductory round table – Reflecting on city archives on an international scale: Archival City’s issues and methods
2:54:00 – Dispersed archives, competing memories: unveiling Quito
5:29:15 – Virtual reconstruction of archive collections: what medieval Bologna can teach us
7:30:41 – Documenting the ordinary city in transformation: reflections from Chiang Mai


Video 2-Morning session, 10 November 2023.

00:01:10 – Welcoming remarks

00:08:37 – Scattered archives, dislocated archives: Algiers between two shores

2:12:40 – From an archive portal to a 3D reconstruction of a disappeared neighbourhood: Jerusalem’s North African quarter


Video 3-Afternoon session, 10 November 2023.

00:03:20 – Administering the metropolis: thinking Greater Paris through archives
2:02:10 – Concluding panel – From fields to tools: past data for a resilient and inclusive city


Quito’s Urban Development and Indigenous Labor Force: The Case of the Llano Grande Commune ( First Half of the 20th Century)

Gabriela Arguello, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito

Data access on Nakala*:

*This data set contains personal data. Users wishing to view the images must make a formal request to the author.


The indigenous communities that remained settled within the perimeter of the city of Quito, or in its hinterland, have played a crucial role in the construction and maintenance of the city in the first half of twentieth century. During the process of urban development, these organizations were absorbed and overlooked in the public sphere. They represent a significant contingent of indigenous labor that built public works and provided the conditions necessary for the urban space to exist. In the case of Llano Grande, a community located in the northeastern part of Quito, a substantial portion of its population specialized in the city’s sanitation service. Using the case study of this community in the first half of the 20th century, this article provides an insight into the primary source research on municipal sanitation workers in Quito and how the labor force was provided to the city.

Keywords: Quito, Llano Grande, indigenous communities, public works, sanitation service.

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Archival Data About the Ethiopian Orthodox Community in Jerusalem (1840-1948)

Stéphane Ancel, CNRS

Open access: Archival descriptions on the Ethiopian Orthodox community archives  on the Open Jerusalem platform


The presence of the Ethiopian Orthodox community in Jerusalem is attested as early as the 12th century. Since then, the community has had its ups and downs, and by the early 19th century it was in a very difficult situation, with only a few members living in the monastery of Dayr al-Sultan, located on the roof of the Chapel of St. Helena, adjacent to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. While some of the archives concerning the Ethiopian Orthodox community in Jerusalem are still in Holy City, a very large proportion of the archival documents relating to this community can be found in Ethiopia today, as well as in Turkey, Italy, France and England. The reason for this dispersion lies in the relations that members of the community maintained with various political and diplomatic players in the city during this period.The aim of this article is to report on the information-gathering work carried out by the Open Jerusalem project about the archives of Jerusalem’s Ethiopian Orthodox community. In addition this research paper  offers an overview of the archival collections concerning this community, while explaining the reasons for their location.

Keywords: Jerusalem, Archives, Ethiopian Orthodox Community

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Closing session of the Archival City masterclass-10 October 2023

On October 10, 2023 the closing session of the Archival City masterclass took place in the presence of some twenty M1 and M2 students and several ACP laboratory professors (Corinne Maitte, Frédéric Saly Giocanti, Giuliano Milani and Vincent Lemire).

The masterclass ran from March to September 2023. Over the course of seven sessions, it brought together three M1 and M2 students and three supervisors (Loic Vadelorge, Carole Lamoureux and Annalaura Turiano) members of the Archival City research project), as well as several speakers from the different study fields covered by the Archival City research program. The aim of the masterclass was to provide an introduction to research work in modern and contemporary history. Methodology of archival description, presentation of the method for writing data and research papers alternated with the presentation of students’ dissertations.

During the closing session, the supervisors gave a brief presentation of the master class’s objectives and program. This was followed by a presentation of the students’ work. Vincent Kuntz presented his dissertation on Parisian urban disasters in the press and literary accounts from 1764 to 1780.  Anaïs Parmentier presented the archival corpus of her M2 dissertation “Economiser et maîtriser l’énergie : les HLM face aux crises énergétiques (1974- 1982)”. Finally, Wilfried Pingault presented the construction of his M2 dissertation on hydro-history based on the archives of a new conurbation (Grand Paris Sud). M1 and M2 students took part in the discussion that followed each presentation, asking questions about research methodology or specific repositories.


Despite the diversity of their subjects and research questions, the three students presented the constitution of their archival corpus, underlining the need to start with the history of archive producers. They highlighted the method used to select sources and the difficulties encountered, as well as the data extraction and spatialization tools used, as in the case of the maps created by Vincent Kuntz to visualise the fires in the French capital.

Vicent Lemire, director of Archival City, gave the closing address and invited students to attend the Archival City closing conference on November 9 and 10.

Paul Lesieur -A database for studying the public roads departement of the Préfecture de la Seine(19th-20th centuries)

Paul Lesieur, Université Gustave Eiffel


Data access on Nakala:



The database presented here provides an account of the internal organisation of the Service de la Voie publique (SVP) of the Préfecture de la Seine between 1850 and 1980. It is a potentially useful tool for any researcher interested in the transformation and management of public space in the capital in the 19th and 20th century, making it easier to navigate through the catalogues of archive collections relating to roads. On the other hand, any urban worksite, street furniture and occupation of public space required the approval and supervision of the engineers from the SVP. Consequently, any researcher working on the history of Paris may come into contact with the staff of this technical service in its archives. The database is thus helpful to find out about an agent’s specific unit and his function within it.

Key-words: Paris, 19th-20th century, urban management,  technical services, public roads

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Paul Lesieur- The management of public roads in Paris by the Préfecture de la Seine (19th-20th centuries)

Paul Lesieur is PhD candidate at Gustave Eiffel University ACP laboratory. His thesis is on the management of public roads in Paris by the Préfecture de la Seine, from the mid-nineteenth century, with the appointment of Haussmann and the start of major works, to the early twentieth century and the arrival of the motor car. During this period, the challenge of ensuring good traffic flow went hand-in-hand with that of hygiene as one of the main concerns in the management of public roads, and this had a direct impact on the materiality of urban space, justifying changes to the road surface.

What is your thesis about? What are the main scientific goals?

My thesis is on the management of public roads in Paris by the Préfecture de la Seine, from the mid-nineteenth century, with the appointment of Haussmann and the start of major works, to the early twentieth century and the arrival of the motor car, but using an original approach. Rather than studying streets and avenues as a medium of daily life whose uses must be regulated, I see them as an infrastructure that is worn down by traffic and that must be constantly cared for to ensure its longevity. In this way, I adopt the point of view of the engineers of the Parisian technical services, whose number and role increased in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period, the challenge of ensuring good traffic flow went hand-in-hand with that of hygiene as one of the main concerns in the management of public roads, and this had a direct impact on the materiality of urban space, justifying changes to the road surface

My aim is therefore to report on all the conditions necessary for the proper conservation of this infrastructure. Maintenance appears to be primarily a financial problem. However, it also requires an entire organisation to monitor the condition of the road, prevent wear and tear and repair any damage. This mobilises several hundred workers on a daily basis on the Parisian roads. Finally, maintenance requires a regular supply of materials to compensate for wear and tear, as well as reprocessing of worn materials. These exchanges make up a veritable metabolism, essential for keeping the network in good condition.

The scientific  goals of this research project are threefold. For the history of transport, it aims to show the importance of studying the development of infrastructure, which necessarily runs parallel to that of mobility, but which sometimes comes into conflict with it. It is also an original approach to the history of technology, focusing on the routine nature of maintenance rather than on major inventions and constructions. This work offers a more concrete look at how societies relate to technology. Finally, this project highlights a new way of approaching urban history, by questioning what makes up its materiality and ensures its durability. It reminds us that the quest for urban resilience is not just a preoccupation of the 21st century.

What corpus of archives are you drawing on and what methods are you using?

In the mid-nineteenth century, the development of technical services was essential to the implementation of the major Haussmann projects. They were brought together under the Works Departement, which gained in staff and resources and centralised decisions on the management of technical networks. These departments included the Public Highways Department. This department was made up of the offices of the chief engineer, and territorial sections that divided the Paris territory into different zones (Figure 1). Each of the sections operated almost independently of the others, being responsible for road maintenance and the coordination of all works affecting the public space.

Fig. 1- Map of the territorial sections of the engineer and the district of the Paris drivers, 1893

I am therefore primarily interested in the archives of the technical departments responsible for managing public roads. My corpus of sources brings together the archives of the offices of the Direction des Travaux, the Service de la Voie Publique, and the engineers of each of the sections. To understand how the department operated on a regular basis, I cross-referenced instructions from the directorate with reports drawn up by the territorial sections. The engineer’s reports provide an overview of the prefect’s requests and the technical departments’ responses, giving an idea of the latter’s decision-making powers.

I have paid particular attention to the specifications, notes and registers relating to cobblestone deposits, which allow me to quantify the volumes of materials required for the maintenance of Parisian roads. Finally, by cross-referencing my corpus with the budgets of the City of Paris, it is possible to take account of the way in which funding is voted and allocated. On this point, the deliberations of bodies such as the City Council and the Conseil National des Ponts et Chaussées show that these choices are also of interest to the State, which contributes to the financing of the maintenance of Parisian public roads.

How does your work contribute to the history of Greater Paris and to urban history in general?

The Works Department is an institution that is well known to contemporary historians. It is mentioned on numerous occasions to highlight its growing importance. However, few recent studies have focused specifically on its workings, apart from the recent work of Chiara Santini[1]. Nevertheless, the Department of Public Works played a prominent role in the government of the capital in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At a time when the needs of the city’s inhabitants were increasingly being met by technological solutions, leading to the deployment of urban networks, both underground and above ground, the technical services were given a say in prefectoral decisions (to such an extent that Adolphe Alphand, its director, was sometimes referred to as the city’s real mayor in the early days of the Third Republic). What’s more, as most of its engineers were recruited from the civil engineering corps, they occupied a unique position between the city and the State. As the capital grew and expanded, they became recognised experts in the management of road networks in general.

By delving into the inner workings of the Préfecture de la Seine, this research firstly highlights the heterogeneity of what contemporaries call the Administration. Behind this term, lie various departments, whose relationships cannot be reduced to simple subordination. The director called on the enlightened advice of his engineers, who did not hesitate to contradict him. Although they carry out the work, they are also involved in political debates.

I would also like to emphasise the need to take maintenance conditions into account when studying urban infrastructures. This is far from being reduced to a line item in the city’s budget. Maintenance involves a large number of workers, from engineers to temporary labourers. In addition, the problem of maintenance justifies, or even imposes, a large number of changes to urban space. For example, the first criterion in choosing a road surface, which has a very strong symbolic value in Paris, is usually the lowest cost of maintenance. However, this does not necessarily mean using more resistant materials. The decision has to take into account transport costs and the availability of resources.

What is your contribution to Archival City?

Within Archival City, I’m working on the Greater Paris Directory project. This involves extracting all the data contained in administrative directories. This document, intended for citizens and administrators, presents the departments and staff that make up the Préfecture de la Seine. Paris enjoys a special status. Until 1975, the capital was administered not by an elected mayor but by a prefect appointed by the national government. His remit covered the whole of the Seine department, including Paris and its inner suburbs. The quasi-annual publication of this document therefore allows regular monitoring of the organisation of Greater Paris.

At the start of my thesis, in order to gain a better understanding of the structure of the Public Highways Department and its place within the Department of Public Works, I systematically went through the administrative directories, focusing on these two departments. This work helped me considerably to find my way around the archive catalogues. The resulting database is a tremendous help in understanding the internal correspondence of the technical departments. It has enabled me to appreciate the value of this source for researchers interested in the administration of metropolitan areas.

Could you tell us about the data paper you are currently finalising?

The database I  have created for my initial research (Figure 2) will soon be freely accessible. The data paper, which describes it,  sets out how the directory is presented, the data that has been extracted and different ways of putting it to good use. This is only a small part of what the directory contains, but the data may already be of interest to any researcher working on the development or use of public space. In fact, the remit of public highway engineers is not limited to maintaining the road network. They are involved in all aspects of urban space.

Fig. 2- Screenshot of the database for the year 1885

The orange lines represent departments and the green lines agents. The top left-hand corner shows the source of the information and the year.

Above all, as previously stated, Archival City’s Greater Paris sub-project will shortly be putting the data needed to reconstruct the whole of the Préfecture de la Seine in open access. In these circumstances, the data paper I am currently writing acts as an introduction. It shows how the future database can be applied to a specific subject, the administration of public roads.


[1] Chiara Santini, Adolphe Alphand et la construction du paysage de Paris, Paris, Hermann, 2020.

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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Tamara Estupiñán Viteri -A Cultural and Economic History of Quito through Notarial Protocol books (16th-19th Century)

Tamara Estupiñán Viteri is a professional historian with a degree in History from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. She was the first woman graduate in the country in a career that only began in the 1980s. She also holds a master’s degree in history, with a specialisation in Andean history, from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences of Ecuador (FLACSO). For more than 20 years, she was head of the Historical Research Department, covering cultural and economic history, at the Museum and Cultural Programmes of the Central Bank of Ecuador. In addition to this expertise, she has more than 40 years of research experience in archives, libraries and in the field, both in Ecuador and abroad. Her scientific work has been recognised with major awards and prestigious national and international scholarships. In 2012, she was incorporated as a corresponding member of the National Academy of History of Ecuador and currently works as a research associate with Archival City-Quito in collaboration with the University of San Francisco de Quito.

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Quito 1532: 3D modeling of Quito in the Inca era

Carlos Espinosa, USFQ

Data Access on Nakala:



Archival City Quito-USFQ encompasses three pillars: the digitalization of urban archives, GIS mapping of the uses of urban space and Unity based 3D modelling of historical cityscapes.  All three of these features place the project squarely in the field of the digital humanities, which lies at the intersection of digital technologies and the humanities, including history (Gardiner and Musto, 2015).  This data paper focuses on the third pillar, the 3 D construction of Quito in the Inca era, entitled Quito 1532. Technologically, the 3 D model combines NASA relief maps, Google Earth, aerial drone-based photography, the Unity 3D gaming engine, Maya graphics and Render-Blender architectural apps. The panoramic environment generated is interactive, permitting an exploratory tour of Quito on the eve of the Spanish conquest.

Keywords: Ecuador, Quito, Inca era,  archives, archeology, 3D modelling

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The National Archive of Communes and the issue of urban development in the city of Quito (1937-1973)

Gabriela Arguello, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito


Data access on Nakala*:

*This data set contains personal data. Users wishing to view the images must make a formal request to the author.


The Law on Commune Organization and Regime was passed in Ecuador in 1937. This Law gave rise to the legal incorporation of civil society organizations, regularly linked to indigenous and peasant communities, under the label of comunas (communes). This legal framework fostered a series of administrative procedures between the communes and the State, which resulted in the creation of documents and the formation of the National Archive of Communes. These organizations and their documentary collection were under the administration of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor between 1937 and 1973, the period in which this research is framed. Thereafter, responsibility for this subject fell to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, which is where the archive is currently held. This article offers an approach to this repository in order to trace a thread of its history and to analyze its documents and the role that the indigenous communes had in the context of the urban development of the city of Quito.

Keywords : Ecuador, Quito, Archives, Communes, Urban development

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