Town Planning of Ancient Romans

Topics: City, Grid plan, Urban planning Pages: 11 (2406 words) Published: February 21, 2013
Ancient Roman town /settlement Planning ( 700B.C-500 AD)

• Romans adopted the technology and planning skills of the Greeks. They were more advanced than the Greeks in terms of technological skills which they used to develop better infrastructural facilities and construction techniques.

• Lime concrete was invented
• Applied mechanics for moving heavy masses developed.

• Roads were paved with stones

• Advanced system of water supply (Aqueducts &water reservoirs), sewage system and drainage system through ducts and underground sewers in semi-circular vaulted form were used. • All public latrines were connected to underground sewerage system. People normally used the public latrines.

Planning principles

• The town planning was slightly different in various areas depending on the geography, resource potential, which determined the ruling strategy.

• Each city occupied a commanding site, including building works of enormous scale and impressive stylistic quality. Perimeter of the city was usually square/rectangular.

• Chessboard planning -expressing laws and orders.
o Crossing of parallel and equidistant streets at right angles to one another within the 2 main crossroads "Decamanus"(East –west) through the center of the town and the ‘Cardo’ (North- south) usually bisecting the ‘Decamanus’ at right angles towards one end. o "Secondary streets" complete the gridiron layout and form the building blocks known as "Insulae" • Cross streets occasionally stepped and bridged around the city. • Generally rectangular walled city entered by several gates, showing complete town organization.

• From the religious significance of the Temples by the Greeks there was a change to the civic influence of Law Courts "Basilica" which became more important than the public buildings.

• "Forum Area" usually located centre of the town formed by the intersection of the Decamanus and the Cardo being the administrative, commercial and religious center, normally consists of a colonnaded courtyard with a meeting hall built across one end. It was the lively central place of economic, cultural and friendly exchanges. The main temple, the Theatre and the public baths were also located near the "Forum" in the center of the town.

• Outside Gate- stadium, Triumphal arches.

Aqueducts, sanitation, public health considerations were excellent for the noble areas. Noble people lived in wealthy homes- "Domus" and the poor lived in "Insulas" - Building blocks divided into flats. The flats went up to 3 stories initially. Later it even went up to 7 stories but because of their collapse the height had to be restricted to 70' .

Important cities of ancient Rome
1. Pompeii
2. Rome
3. Timgad

1. City of Pompeii
1. A colonial city- Extent 4/5 mile (Length)- 2/5 mile -width (Maximum) 2. The city had 25,000 inhabitants.
3. A walled city with 8 gates.
4. The Forum placed at the center of an irregular street system, where the width of the streets was 32 feet. 5. Amphitheaters located near the center-elliptical within a central area used for conducting naval exhibitions and other exhibitions. 6. 'Circus maxima' at the southern corner for chariot races.

2. City of Rome- City of 7 hills
7. The area of the city was 3465 acres.
8. The city was bounded by 2 walls- 1. Republican wall (BC 378-352) and the Aurelian wall to protect the city from the Barbarian attacks from the North with protective towers at 100 Roman feet interval.

9. There were-1. Colloseum 2.Enormous forums 3.Circus Maxima.

It is to be noted that all constructions merged well with the general landscape. The building was proportionate, geometrical and well balanced with nature. Roman "Castras" formed the settlement for the military camps, known as the temporary cities to house the soldiers.

3. Timgad (Algiers, Africa) (100AD -200AD)
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