The Mediterranean City-World

Roberto Pasini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


After entropic centuries following the dissolution of the Roman empire, Abulafia’s paradigm of the Third Mediterranean describes from a historical perspective the consolidation of a new regime of space-production based on urban centers around the venerable basin. In the twelfth century, the Mediterranean is, according to Abulafia, a crossable surface contained by narrow edges dotted with towns and cities. Shores opposed by overt religious and political conflicts are connected by myriads of commercial fluxes. Tolerated since mutually beneficial, the commerce is vector of ideas and expressions between permanently distinct cultures. These intense interactions imprint an urban system onto the coastal topographies of southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. The global switch from a polycentric to a diffusive settlement mode, that is from urban to regional space production, has been commented by an extended literature alongside the demise of the sensed border between city and countryside. In the face of the global diffusion of extensive regional settlements, an urban-based attitude in space-production at the geographic scale is still recognizable around the Mediterranean. Bearing on the medieval travelogues of Ibn Jubayr and Benjamin de Tudela, this paper elaborates a design-oriented narrative on the space-production regime introduced by Abulafia’s model of the Third Mediterranean.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProjecting Shkodra
Subtitle of host publicationOperative Fragments in-between Lake, Rivers and Sea
EditorsBesnik Aliaj, Loris Rossi, Enrico Porfido
PublisherPolis University; IKZ, Research and Development Institute; OMB, Observatory of Mediterranean Basin
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-9928-4459-8-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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