Growth & Structure of
Cities Department

City 306.
Advanced Fieldwork Techniques: Places in Time

Spring 2015
Wednesdays, 2:10 to 4:00 pm, Thomas 102
Jeffrey A. Cohen, Thomas Hall 248
(, x7916)
   office hours: Tuesdays, 2:30-4 pm and by appt.

Working calendar:

resources Wednesdays assignments

22 Jan.
- NYT "Streetscapes" exercise: sources, motives, info value; point, engagement vs tmi?

course goals, content, activities, structure.

Read in full:
"Evidence of Place," PMHB (2000) [Moodle]
SFPL -- Research Your San Francisco Building
Boston Preserv. Alliance -- Resources by Type
Phila GeoHistory Network website.
Places in Time website

• PAB:
• Contributionship fire ins db
• Franklin and PA fire ins db
• City directories w/i close reach
• Additional directories
, 1837-1867.
• America's Historical Newspapers (Phila Inqr. 1860-1922, PPL)
• Philadox

29 Jan.
• research resources: tools.
• imagine a project that uses these: content elements, form, navigation.
• intro to Phila geography
• try our hands. different info elements, alternative designs: shovelware vs info exp design

Click on other resources

Read Miller & Siry, "The Emerging Suburb," PA History (1980) [Moo]
Read to 1900 in G. B. Tatum, Penn's Great Town (Phila., 1961) [Carp Reserve]

research, advance your 4 Handsome.Houses subjects as ppts, with excerted atlas footprints, addresses, directories, photos, and every other means you can think of to enrich these.

• Boyd's Phila. Blue Book, 1906.
• Boyd's Phila. Blue Book, 1889-90.
• Boyd's Phila. City Directory, 1900 (GBks).
• FLP Map Collection link
• More on-line Philadelphia atlases (accessible from domains only)

4 Feb.
readings disc.
share best of your four HHs: resources, insurance surveys. curiosity/ design.
->webbed feats.

• Advance reseach and carefully revise two of your HH ppts.
• Using Kompozer (its download site) or Dreamweaver turn one of these into a simple webpage or set of a few subtopical ones to be linked.
•Adopt an additional Handsome House, and start the research and assembly process on this one as a web page from the start.
See more detailed instructions on this in my email and on Moodle. And bring these new files and folders to class on a flash drive, or send them as attachments by Wednesday morning.

11 Feb.
HHomes webbin'.
fire ins, philadox.
troubleshooting and discussion, workshop.

• make final improvements on your two webbed HHs, and make simple web versions of others you start. Send the latest versions in by Sunday, and we'll weave these into one (firewalled) web unit.

re 19thc Boston: find and explore good readings and websites on historic urban evolution on 19th c Boston. Read substantial bits of the most pertinent and informative.
By next Tuesday, make and send a brief website with perfect biblio citations of a handful of the most helpful publications and websites, with brief notes on them, indicating which parts you read and that seem worthy of sharing.

18 Feb.
intro to Boston, image research project.

Boston streetscapes research:
• closely read 3/5 Boston Architectural Research guides
• build a webpage that tracks change on your assigned blocks, starting with atlas snippets, then moving to photo research and documentary research. 

Handsome Homes project, so far.

Boston research resources
Washington St. project, so far.

25 Feb.
review first efforts at Boston streetscapes.

• working in pairs or trios, review each others' Boston block web projects and revise in accord with comments and discussion on 18th. Resubmit new version by Wed a.m. on Moodle or bring on flash drive Wednesday.


4 Mar.
workshop on projects.
glimpses ahead.


Spring Break, 11 Mar.

19thc topo texts for documentary and visual annotation.

Penn State U.: Philadelphia Sanborn atlases, 1916-23.

18 Mar.
late start, 3:50 in Carpenter lab, new projects (link at left) to start, troubleshooting on old ones.

• send on final revs on Boston blocks project
• work up substantial beginnings on new project

• quick deeds:
#-S-# via maps tab,
deed registry sheets from Philadox.

25 Mar.
ist look at annotated texts projects: structure, research

enrich projects informationally, develop in terms of design, for showing next Wednesday.

• Phila. DOR Parcel Explorer.

1 Apr.
landscapes: scholarship, HPres, Public Histy.
• annotated text projects run-through.

• advance annotated text project
• examine HPres sources
• look for footprints, f.ins,

8 Apr
• f.ins and ftprints elsewhere.
• intro to grappling w/ data.

over next two weeks:
Last Improvements on Two. Of your three projects so far, your 2-4 Handsome Homes, your Boston Block, and your Annotated Texts, choose one that you will try to take substantially further in terms of research.
Now, over the next two weeks, work on the other two, advancing the content and perfecting the presentation of each, making them something you’d be proud to have others see on the web, by 19 April.
Working with data. In pairs, finding and characterizing patterns among sequences of fire insurance surveys, for presentation on 22 April.. See below.

15 Apr.
meet in our classroom (w/o jc) to share initial results in f.ins sequence, discuss and agree on shared standards for next week.
[jc at SAH in Chicago]

22 Apr.
show patterns in f.ins

• meet individually with jc this week to review project that you'lll take further. continue to work in this for submission on 1 May.
• find an exemplary website analogous to the kind we've been making, from anywhere in the world, one that you see as instructive for its presentation and content, and/or one that you think instructive for what might be seen as faults. Bring as a single webpage or ppt of links and comments.
• imagine and mock-up a new website of the sort we've been working on that you would find engaging, even exciting.


29 April (last class)
• instructive websites examples of our sort.
• imagined future ones.

  All last project revisions in by Friday, 1 May.

Boston streetscapes assignment, for 25 Feb.:
306 next: Successions in the biz-scape

OK, now that you’ve explored individual buildings in an elite residential district with mainly individualized “handsome houses” in Philadelphia, researching them and trying your hand at building webpages, let’s try something complementary in a different part of a different city, in downtown Boston. 

• First read three of the five posted how-to-research documents linked on our web calendar next to 25 Feb., which show some of the same kinds of resources, but some different ones, some on-line and some not.

Downtown business streets change far more quickly than residential ones, and leave far more evidence, both visual and textual, although the architectural evidence is sometimes equally hard to find.  There are many more photos and all sorts of public mentions, often advertising or accounts of public buildings.  And often frequent building replacements, quickening from the 1960s, when planners talked of a “new Boston” and the bull-dozers got busy.

So to our task: 
• You’ll be assigned a short run of downtown blocks, with an image or two from the 19th century showing a long continuous sequence of its buildings.  The streetscape today along the same run may show few, or in many cases, none of these buildings.  Your goal is to fill in the gap historically, and visually, starting with atlas snippets marking the evolution of your blocks, then moving to photo research in a handful of on-line photo archives to documentary research, looking for info in primary sources. 

You’ll be trying to find successions of buildings on your block, finding atlas excerpts and photos, grabbing the ones the closest to flat-on images -- which you will cite perfectly cite and link, and find a way to assemble them in an array on your webpages.  You may want to try your hand at using tables. You’ll look for any info you can find of them, from accounts of them to advertisements or directory info, and we’ll work together on a way to best integrate these.  But for next week, begin gathering imges and ino, and try your hand at a way to assemble and present these as a webpage.

• By next Tuesday, please post a folder with a working webpage and well-labeled images [no spaces in filenames!], and post that in Moodle, and if you change it after that, bring that in on a jump drive, and we’ll look them over in class, discuss best ways one might pursue and present this.

Working with Data. In assigned teams of two, for 15 and 22 April.
For this project, pairs of you will have access to a set of images of consecutive 19th c. fire insurance surveys from four different moments in time.  (One partner in each will be able to fill you in a bit on their context.)  We’ll want each team to look at a set of consectitive surveys, seeking to find informational patterns among them that you can characterize numerically.  In three of the four instances, you’ll be following a sequence of policy numbers that is split between bound and loose sets and you’ll want to interfile these, while in the fourth you’ll be doing loose surveys only. 

For each, look at a consecutive sequence of forty policies and take notes on them in a spreadsheet, leaving lines for skipped numbers but not counting them among your forty. For next week, meet together without me on the 15th and compare notes on what you’ve counted and on what, seeing others' projects, would be most informative for all to count.  Even as teams keep to some numerical characterizaions that they alone have carried out in the prior week, agree on some that all should do the same way, to shared standards, and prepare both for presentating in ppt on the 22nd. Please bring your Excel spreadsheets as well.


Jackie and Chanel

• book 5: [x]
start at 2486 (P1290636.JPG)

• loose ~ bk 5: [x]
start at 2487 (P1300170.JPG)

Siyang & Patricia

• book 144: [x]
start at 19260 (P1290952.JPG)

• loose ~ bk 144: [x]
start at 19272 (P1300090.JPG)

Xue and Hope

• book 285: [x]
start at 43822 (P1290732.JPG)

• loose ~ bk 285: [x]
start at 43823 (P1300509.JPG)

Briana & Csilla

• loose only: [x]
start at 73150 (P1300858.JPG)

p.s.: same username and password as for Handsome Homes, etc. will get you in.

15-306/306cal.html; last rev. = 29 Apr.. 15 jc