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The Fringe Belts of Ancient Rome

Authors: Matthew Mandich*, ISAR
Topics: Economic Geography, Land Use, Location Theory
Keywords: Rome, Roman, Fringe Belts, Urban Morphology, Archaeology
Session Type: Paper
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This paper investigates the urban expansion and economic development of ancient Rome through the application of the fringe belt model, originally designed for the study of contemporary cities. While the growth of ancient settlements is often difficult to track and analyze, the use of this model allows for archaeologically observable changes in land use to be read and interpreted as a function of broader economic oscillations over the longue durée. By re-examining the available archaeological and textual evidence pertaining to land use change on Rome’s eastern periphery this paper demonstrates how the framework selected can be successfully appropriated via a narration of Rome’s urban transformations from the mid-Republic to the later Imperial period. The ultimate goal is to determine if the patterns of urban expansion identified in modern cities also existed in ancient Rome. If so, the results obtained have the potential to produce rich insights concerning the dynamics of urban and economic growth across time and geographies, thereby opening the door to new and further studies.

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