Around 1900 cities in Southern and Eastern Europe were persistently labeled "backward" and "delayed." Allegedly, they had no alternative but to follow the role model of the metropolises, of London, Paris or Vienna. This edited volume fundamentally questions this assumption. It shows that cities as diverse as Barcelona, Berdyansk, Budapest, Lviv, Milan, Moscow, Prague, Warsaw and Zagreb pursued their own agendas of modernization. In order to solve their pressing problems with respect to urban planning and public health, they searched for best practices abroad. The solutions they gleaned from other cities were eclectic to fit the specific needs of a given urban space and were thus often innovative. This applied urban knowledge was generated through interurban networks and multi-directional exchanges. Yet in the period around 1900, this transnational municipalism often clashed with the forging of urban and national identities, highlighting the tensions between the universal and the local.

This interurban perspective helps to overcome nationalist perspectives in historiography as well as outdated notions of "center and periphery." This volume will appeal to scholars from a large number of disciplines, including urban historians, historians of Eastern and Southern Europe, historians of science and medicine, and scholars interested in transnational connections.

chapter |22 pages


Searching for Best Practices in Interurban Networks

part I|93 pages

Building a Modern City

chapter 1|25 pages

The Ghetto and the Castle

Modern Urban Design and Knowledge Transfer in Historic Prague Before and After 1918

chapter 3|15 pages

Traveling Architecture

Géza Maróti’s Art Between the Regional and the Global

part II|56 pages

Aiming at the Healthy City

chapter 5|15 pages

Learning From Smaller Cities

Moscow in the International Urban Networks, 1870–1910

chapter 6|19 pages

Best Practices From a Polish Perspective

Improving Health Conditions in Lviv Around 1900

chapter 7|20 pages

Improving Health in a Mediterranean City

Barcelona and the European Network (1931–1937)

part III|124 pages

The New Urban Space

chapter 8|22 pages

A Discourse of Modernity?

Warsaw’s Press on Urban Poverty (1880s–1910s)

chapter 9|22 pages

Going East

Gustave Loisel and the Networks of Exchange Between Zoological Gardens Before 1914

chapter 10|18 pages

Architectural Conversations Across Europe’s Borderlands

Transnational Exchanges Between Barcelona and Bucharest in the 1920s

chapter 11|24 pages

In the Driver’s Seat of Modern Urbanization

A Case Study of Automotive Development in the Emerging City of Barcelona, c. 1900–1950

chapter 12|24 pages

Crossing the Iron Curtain

Milan’s Museum of Technology and Transnational Exchanges Before and After World War II

chapter |12 pages


Goodbye to Center and Periphery