Concluding event “Healthscaping Urban Europe”

Date and time: 30 September 2022, 16:00-17:30
Location: University of Amsterdam, University Library, Doelenzaal

The ERC project “Healthscaping Urban Europe” will hold a concluding plenary event on 30 September, where three experts will explore the history of premodern public health and especially reflect on possible future directions within this research field. All are welcome to join in person in the Doelenzaal. The event will be followed by a drinks’ reception at Café Luxembourg on the Spui.

The presentations will also be broadcasted live via Zoom. To receive a link to the online event, please email Peyman Amiri (


Professor Guy Geltner (University of Amsterdam & Monash University)
Healthscaping Urban Europe and Beyond

Dr. Nükhet Varlık (Rutgers University, Newark)
Rethinking the History of Premodern Health

Professor Peregrine Horden (Royal Holloway, University of London & Oxford University)
Healthscape Picture Restoration: Is There a Risk of Over-cleaning?

Project description

“Healthscaping Urban Europe, 1200-1500” brings together historians and archaeologists to explore how urban residents in two of Europe’s most urbanized regions–Italy and the Low Countries–thought about and pursued population-level health. The project builds on insights by scholars of premodern medicine; urbanism; and material culture, which collectively challenged the identification of public health as a uniquely modern phenomenon.

This project has traced the development of community health, safety, and wellbeing as a major aspect of the public good and as a key means of justifying and legitimating power in an urban context. It has explored the transmission of and tensions between medical theory and urban policy in this regard and examines the extent to which these were enforced from the political center outward, guarded and resisted by major economic stakeholders including the church, craft guilds and neighborhood agents.

Using a combination of methodologies drawing on anthropology, geography, cultural history, and science and technology studies, this group is defining a new key for observing how historical communities aspired to foster places where health could bloom. The team has produced several publications, including public lectures, podcasts, and interactive maps.