Mapping Urban History is an EPFL course taught by Isabella di Lenardo and Frédéric Kaplan, in collaboration with Federica Pardini in which students explore Urban History by a computational approach, understanding large corpora of historical sources. 

Here, the urban history of different cities in various historical periods is reconstructed through the digitization and vectorization of historical cartography, the annotation of urban space, and the cross-referencing of spatial morphology with textual sources that allow us to partially reconstruct population, commerce, and functions of the built environment. The aim is to systematize not a few tens of information but thousands, understanding how the reading of the urban structure changes through an approach that takes into account the large-scale objects.
In the site you will find, by year and place, the work carried out by groups of students on different urban cases and different problems. We think it is important to show to what extent the workshops conducted by the students as a form of learning, obviously cannot be exhaustive from a historical point of view, but are an important pilot of how big data in urban history can be manipulated. Teaching how to conduct computational mining of historical sources that detect urban history and the critiquing of them is a priority for us.
From the course started a research group of PhD students, collaborators and colleagues in other institutions who share the same methodological approach and interest in the same documentary sources. 
This group is primarily interested in cadastral and census sources from the ancient regimes but also from more recent periods up to the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to cadastral sources, censuses, civil status, press information and directories are also analyzed.
We have several ongoing projects on the historical reconstruction of cadastral and pre-cadastral sources about Venice, Lausanne and Paris among others and we also collaborate with research teams in Europe and the United States.
If you are interested in participating in our projects or collaborating with new initiatives, please contact us, we would be delighted!