“Changes, continuities and the public in Paral·lel and the 5th District in Barcelona (1914-19)” by Marc Geli 

Paral·lel Avenue and the old 5th District formed Barcelona’s underworld in the early 20th century. PhD candidate Marc Geli investigates this area in the period 1914 to 1919. During these years of the First World War, the city experienced drastic changes due to Spain’s neutrality in the conflict. The arrival of foreign capitals allowed, among other influences, the change of the leisure offers, a more relaxed morality and the cosmopolization of Barcelona. Paral·lel Avenue and the 5th District became the epicenter of the entertainment industry across classes, but how far did this seeming equality of classes reach exactly? Along with an analysis of the change – as well as its continuities – of the traditional entertainment models, this research scrutinizes how accessible the new leisure offers were to all social classes or where boundaries emerged.

The Om street (Fifth District) in 1934. Many of the leisure activities took place among huge poverty.
The Om street (Fifth District) in 1934. Many of the leisure activities took place among huge poverty. Source: Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona, Margaret Michaelis.

„Mapping Pleasure“ by Laurenz Gottstein and Alina L Just

Laurenz Gottstein and Alina L Just have conducted a comprehensive mapping of historical address data to identify Hamburg’s pleasurescapes of the past. The maps visualize the spatial entertainment hub of Reeperbahn that evolved in proximity to the port and its maritime practices, but they also shed light on largely forgotten entertainment quarters from the early 1900s. Eventually, we see how entertainment structures mirror the different historical stages of urban development, and that Hamburg’s cityscape of pleasure culture used to be much more diversified.  

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1910

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1925

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1935

To determine the addresses and locations, we used the historical address books from 1910, 1925 and 1935. The Hamburg State Library has digitised these and published them online: https://agora.sub.uni-hamburg.de/subhh-adress/digbib/start.

The names of the categories are based on the original terms in the address books. With the help of historical maps and street directories we placed the points as accurately as possible. Because many street names have changed since 1910, the addresses given here may be confusing. They reflect the official status at that time.

To learn about the full methodological background of Laurenz‘ and Alina’s mapping project, please read their article on the PortCityFutures-Blog!

“Pleasure near the Port: Spaces and Legacies of Notorious Entertainment Culture in 20th-Century Rotterdam” by Vincent Baptist

In the foreground of the painting is a carousel. A child with a flag of the Netherlands sitting on a white carousel horse stands out. Other people are sitting on a red elephant, a lion or standing on a boat swing. On the left, a carousel organ can be seen in the background. On the right edge of the picture is a river or canal with a ship in the distance. A kissing couple is lying on a lounger at the water's edge. Behind two trees, the faint sun can be seen in the cloudy sky. In the middle of the picture is a larger crowd of people, behind them is a small tent with a crescent moon on top. On the horizon, a few buildings are silhouetted.
Painting by Dolf Henkes, of a fairground with carousel along the quay of (presumably) Katendrecht, 1961. Museum Rotterdam, 91214.

Vincent Baptist’s PhD research centers on the following questions: How did spaces of notorious entertainment develop and disappear in the port city of Rotterdam over the course of the long 20th century? And how can the legacies of Rotterdam’s pleasurescapes be linked to current practices of urbanization in the port city, such as gentrification and touristification? Three pleasurescapes are investigated in particular, namely Zandstraatbuurt, Schiedamsedijk and Katendrecht, which respectively succeeded each other in Rotterdam throughout the period 1880-1975. Focusing on combinations of spatial and experiential aspects, as propagated by the new ‘pleasurescape’-term, case studies on these pleasure districts are conducted by linking each of the neighborhoods to certain experiential themes (nostalgia, safety, gentrification) and different types of cultural sources (literary, visual, oral). Ultimately, the three neighborhoods are also further linked together through an overarching analysis of the residential displacement patterns and unrealized planning projects that arose in the wake of Rotterdam’s discontinued amusement offers.

Map depicting the Zandstraatbuurt‘s prospective replacement by a new city hall and post office building, 1912-1913
Map depicting the Zandstraatbuurt‘s prospective replacement by a new city hall and post office building, 1912-1913. Rotterdam City Archives, 4001-II-15-01-02.
The black and white photograph shows a busy street. The photo is taken from about the height of the second floor, the street runs exactly in the line of sight. Numerous garlands and flags span the street. Two tram tracks run down the middle, many cyclists and a horse-drawn vehicle are in the street. In the foreground a few chairs can be seen, which looks like a terrace of a café.
Photo overlooking a decorated Schiedamsedijk during a VVV festivity week, 1935. Rotterdam City Archives, 4261-2002-1588.

26 November – Pleasurescapes panel at the „Stadt nach Acht“ Conference Berlin

On 26 November you can meet part of the Pleasurescapes team live in Berlin. Our Hamburg researchers Lisa Kosok and Alina Just will present our project at the „Stadt nach Acht“ („City after Eight“) Conference. Together with Lars Amenda they will talk about our project and historical perspectives on key agents of entertainment culture in the pleasurescape of Hamburg St. Pauli. Tickets for the conference with many interesting talks on nightlife are available online.

More information: „Pleasurescapes: Pleasure and Nightlife as Driving Forces for Urban Development“ [Panel in English]: 26 November, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Holzmarkt (Säälchen), Berlin.