This chapter employs a number of visual sources to analyse the urban transformation of Strasbourg, the administrative and cultural capital of disputed Alsace-Lorraine. The kinds of visual evidence examined include two-dimensional images of Strasbourg in form of maps, panoramas, lithographs, and photographs, as well as Strasbourg’s three-dimensional cityscape in the form of streets, residential neighborhoods, military garrisons, walls, ports, and historical monuments. Especially important to understanding the role of Strasbourg within broader French and German visions for Alsace-Lorraine are the urban plans—blueprints for the future development of the city—which provide material evidence of nationalists’ utopian schemes for the future layout of the border space. In addition to examining urban plans with nationalist motivations, this chapter also explores how Alsatian regionalists turned to the concept of the “local image” to promote Strasbourg’s independent Alsatian identity. As visual narratives of nationalist, regionalist, or internationalist agendas, Strasbourg’s competing cityscapes help us to trace shifts in collective mentalities toward the French-German border over time.
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