The Institut d’Estudis Catalans has been promoting research projects to support present project:
1.- Les ciutats mediterrànies. Els factors de desenvolupament i de progrés: ciutats i articulació territorial (2015-2017)
2.- Les ciutats mediterrànies. Mobilitat idesplaçament de persones (2018-2020)
[enllaçar amb web Recerca IEC]
Throughout the history of mankind, towns and cities have always been dynamic centres for developing and improving different civilizations and cultures. The energy to articulate people, improve economic activities, formulate cultural ideas and impose a specific power has usually come from the towns and cities. Thus, urban society articulates its own space while at the same time transforming the landscape and imposing economic, social and political control over the region. Towns and regions became an inseparable combination with transcendental consequences: regions depending on urban interests and the incidence of urban elites over the power and the government. The Mediterranean region is an excellent paradigm of these social and historical facts. Towns and cities have articulated Mediterranean societies from prehistory to the present. During the prehistory, the economic diversification and hierarchical social organization facilitated a first collective, which stood out for its social complexity. Antiquity was characterised by the articulation of the first real cities in Europe and in the rest of the Mediterranean area (Cadiz, Jericho). Some cities then rose to prosperity and power, articulating complex thalasocracies (Tyre, Sidon, Athens, Corinth, Carthage) and finally an imperial centre: Rome. The cities of the Classic Mediterranean had the leading role in a common “Mare Nostrum”, a space with huge social, political and economical projection, joining some symbolic cities linked to knowledge (Pergamum, Athens, Alexandria) or spirituality (Olympia, Jerusalem). The contraction of the towns and cities in the Early Middle Ages should be nuanced according to the different evolution of the two parts of the former Roman Empire and, especially the new urban vigour of the emerging Islamic society. An important new urban network arose (Cairo, Tunis, Kairouan, Bougie, Algiers, Fez, Cordoba). On the other shore, the European Medieval development was, to a great extent, based on the improvement of the Mediterranean trading cities (Amalfi, Genoa, Venice, Barcelona), which strengthened the social and economical relations among Mediterranean societies. In this context, some cities stood out for their religious significance (Rome, Jerusalem) or their cultural contribution (Salerno, Bologna, Montpellier). The opening of the new Atlantic perspectives in the 16th and 17th centuries imposed a new orientation on the Mediterranean region, always pivoted around its towns and cities. The new industrial stimuli in the 19th century developed specific towns (Milan, Barcelona, Thessalonica) usually clashed with the political capitals of their respective countries. Huge changes affected the Mediterranean in the 20th century: immigration from the rural sides, consolidation of new urban networks and adaptation of new cultural and social functions. At the beginning of the 21st century, towns and cities articulate their respective regions and promote different networks across the countries. From this position, the towns become responsible for leading important challenges: new cultural and religious contacts; mobility of population and mixing of values; effects of economic crisis; climate change and management of limited energy resources; alteration and conservation of landscape and historical heritage. We can conclude that, from this continuous historical path, the diachronic perspective must be taken into account for any action on the current social, economic and geographical problems in the Mediterranean region. It is important to link the global urban aspects (demographic transitions, cultural exchanges, climate change and energy resources, economic globalisation) with the urban perspectives (urban network, urban morphology, urban economy, local administration and urban values and culture), always including a diachronic analysis. The past has an important weight given its permanent impact on Mediterranean cities and towns. The analysis should include a perspective attentive to items from the Social Sciences and Humanities (especially Language, Literature, Geography and History). The present project aims to clarify the historical roots of the Mediterranean elements and contribute to resolving current problems, especially in fields related to culture, social relations and the management of heritage, urban morphology or landscape.