Rodríguez de Castro, Ayar
Decoding urban landscapes through the analysis of place names and imaginaries at a local scale..
In: "32nd International Geographical Congress Cologne 2012, 26-30 August 2012", 26/08/2012 - 30/08/2012, Colonia, Alemania. pp..
Toponomastics is increasingly interested in the subjective role of place names in quotidian life. In the frame of Urban Geography, the interest in this matter is currently growing, as the recently change in modes of habitation has urged our discipline to find new ways of exploring the cities. In this context, the study of how name's significance is connected to a urban society constitutes a very interesting approach. We believe in the importance of place names as tools for decoding urban areas and societies at a local-scale. This consideration has been frequently taken into account in the analysis of exonyms, although in their case they are not exempt of political and practical implications that prevail over the tool function. The study of toponomastic processes helps us understanding how the city works, by analyzing the liaison between urban landscape, imaginaries and toponyms which is reflected in the scarcity of some names, in the biased creation of new toponyms and in the pressure exercised over every place name by tourists, residents and local government for changing, maintaining or eliminating them. Our study-case, Toledo, is one of the oldest cities in Spain, full of myths, stories and histories that can only be understood combined with processes of internal evolution of the city linked to the arrival of new residents and the more and more notorious change of its historical landscape. At a local scale, we are willing to decode the information which is contained in its toponyms about its landscape and its society.