Absorbed in the limestone garden: Registering the historic island metropolis Valletta

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Abstract

The term landscape metropolis and its associated practice of reading the city through the terminology and ‘lens’ of the landscape rather than the normal conventions of urban studies is generally applied to the contemporary city and its expansion beyond the historic centre. Yet, this approach also chimes with the peculiarities of the historic island city and the close relationship such cities have with the restricted, liminal ground on which they are founded. This paper explores the hypothesis that an island city can be understood as a metropolitan landscape as a consequence of peculiarities of geography, ecology, culture, place, and resiliency. By focusing on one such city, Valletta, a heightened case, in which a 16th Century metropolis was founded as Renaissance ‘ideal’, the paper examines the reciprocity between this projected ‘ideal’ and the actual landscape where the metropolis is fused and, indeed, confused with the landscape so that the spatial coherence between city and landscape determines the nature of the metropolis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalSPOOL
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • metropolitan landscape
  • ideal city
  • Island
  • garden
  • place
  • Valletta

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