Urban toponymy as a tool for geographical education. Barcelona as a case study

Room D
Monday, 31 August 2015
13.00 – 14.45
geography education, place names, urban planning, urbanization

The aim of this communication is to present the onomastics of the public space of Barcelona, focusing essentially on the toponyms used in the city’s urban street system (i.e., the names taken by its streets, squares and avenues, and other elements in this system), in order to explore its potential use in geographical education at different levels and scales.

The study is limited to a specific selection of names: one hundred in total, distributed between two quite distinct city districts: the Old Town (known by the city’s inhabitants by its Catalan name, Ciutat Vella) and what in 1859 became known as the New or Modern Town, referred to more generally as the Eixample. These hundred names have been chosen on the basis of the linguistic or morphological characteristics of the toponyms. In practice, the selection has sought to reflect principles of historical and geographical affinity between the toponyms and the urban space in which they are used.

As well as analysing the names selected, the study seeks to undertake a comparative study of the two groups of names, the aim being to provide a qualitative summary of the fundamental characteristics of the basic onomastics of the public space of Barcelona. The basic premise underpinning the study is that any odonymic system may provide “strategic information” of use in geographical education; and this is especially apparent in the case of Barcelona.

Joan Tort Donada
Universitat de Barcelona
jtort [at]

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