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Visualizing Early Colonial Philadelphia: A Digital Narrative on the Role of Health in Philadelphia’s Early Urbanization

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

Image courtesy of the Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress

Visualizing Early Colonial Philadelphia will be a digital component to Molly Nebiolo’s dissertation, “Constructing Health: Concepts of Well-Being in the Creation of Early Atlantic Cities” to highlight some of the urban spaces discussed in the dissertation.* The goal of this digital project is to create a visual representation of some of the sites of health Nebiolo discusses as she considers the spatial history of Philadelphia. This digital component will be a site composed of 3D modeled spaces of colonial Philadelphia, narratives, and histories surrounding these spaces, and interactive maps. This project will be an attempt at making spatial history more immersive and visual, pushing the boundaries of what colonial maps can tell us about the places they mark-up. By tracing the locations in which health concerns have directly influenced the construction and urbanization of Philadelphia, we can see the impacts notions of well-being have had on the physical make-up of Atlantic-world cities, like Philadelphia.

This project, as it stands, will use 3D Modelling software and ArcGIS to create 3D modeled spaces and interactive maps. Nebiolo will be using a website to host these projects and to have a historic narrative driving the flow of the site. Nebiolo also plans on hosting the methods and process of the project on this site to offer transparency and replication/inspiration for other digital history projects.

*The project would like to gratefully acknowledge the American Philosophical Society Library and the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks for their support.

Principal Investigator
Molly Nebiolo, PhD Candidate, History

Publications and Conferences

Nebiolo presented on this project at the American Philosophical Society on March 24, 2020. More information can be found here.

She also wrote about her use of 3D modeling in the project on April 15, 2020 for the NULab here.

Nebiolo, Molly. “Visualizing Urban Space During the Age of Revolutions: Considerations and Realities of Digitally Mapping the Past.” Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age. Thomas Paine Institute at Iona College and Cornell University Press. Forthcoming.

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