Segregated behind the walls: residential patterns in pre-industrial Copenhagen

Mads Linnet Perner

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article presents a longitudinal study of residential patterns
in the fortified city of Copenhagen. It uses a Geographical
Information System (GIS) approach along with the HISCO and
HISCLASS coding schemes for occupational titles to discuss
residential segregation in Copenhagen between 1711 and 10
1845. In a period of population growth, spatial expansion of
Copenhagen was prevented by building restrictions related to
the fortress. As the city grew increasingly dense into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, historians have assumed that
distinct areas of high or low social status (horizontal segrega- 15
tion) were non-existent and that the city was only socially
stratified within buildings (verticalsegregation), with basements
and attics housing the economically deprived. Already in the
early eighteenth century, however, the social landscape of
Copenhagen was divided into areas of high and low status. 20
Further, towards the middle of the nineteenth century, social
status increased in the city centre as it decreased in peripheral
areas. This change stands in contrast to the models of Sjoberg
and Vance, in which socio-geographical change comes with
urban expansion. Instead, I argue that fires and other disasters 25
offered similar opportunities for change, with the extent of
socio-geographical change determined by the political circumstances surrounding reconstruction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial History
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)412-439
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Census records
  • Historical GIS
  • Historical geography
  • Residential segregation
  • Urban history

Cite this