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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2014.1.02

Abraham Akkerman


The rise of modernity in Europe, from the close of the Renaissance to the Second Industrial Revolution, had spanned the period of the Little Ice Age, and was manifest by intensifying urbanization. Europeans in cities during cold days of the late LIA were able to seek warm shelter much easier than their forerunners in earlier times or their contemporaries in colonial America. But at higher latitudes during autumn and winter, daytime shelter deprived people of sunlight. The likely outcome, depression, had been a prominent trait among the founders of modern science and philosophy, many of whom lived in northern Europe. A rich source of perceptually stimulating spatial contrast, historic European city-form, compact and conducive to street walking, had been a visceral catalyst to intellectual exploration, while at the same time it had provided also a partial remedy to some of the mood disorder. Such observation is relevant to contemporary winter-cities.


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