Daniel Schloegl. Der planvolle Staat: Raumerfassung und Reformen in Bayern 1750-1800. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2002. xiv + 262 pp. EUR 35.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-406-10719-1.
Reviewed by Nathanael Robinson (Brandeis University)
Published on H-German (December, 2004)
Spatial Planning and the Maps of Bavaria
The road was not always a symbol of freedom. It was the invasion of the community by the world. However, the road also belonged to the landscape. It bound different parts of the landscape together and allowed people to move within it, and thus understand it. Daniel Schloegl discusses how mapping roads became an important means by which the early modern state attempted to understand its own territory. He studies the efforts of Bavaria to survey the landscape in the second half of the eighteenth century. Counteracting the notion that Bavarian cartography did not develop in the eighteenth century, Schloegl describes how maps and surveys were essential to the growth of the state under reform absolutism. Mapping the system of roads became an important means by which the Wittelsbach dukes understood the regional economy; building new roads was a means to develop the region. Surveyors (notably the Riedl family) and scientific academies attempted to establish reputations by obtaining grants from the state to survey the territory. However, efforts to produce a new universal map continually failed because the state lacked the financial means and intellectual talent to complete it. Although cartographic activities created institutions that would lead to successful modern surveys of Bavaria, Schloegl concludes that the failures reveal how tepidly reform absolutism pursued its own projects.
In the seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries Bavarian dukes approached planning to meet personal economic interests. Roads were built to serve their monopolies. Tolls generated wealth as well. Gradually roads were built to generate income. A sophisticated bureaucracy started to emerge to deal with tolls and, secondarily, to maintain roads. Max III Joseph (1745-77) reconsidered spatial planning: tolls and road building should be used to benefit all sectors of the economy. However, the reforms he envisioned would require more detailed and exact surveys than had yet been produced. The cartographic tradition had been strong: Philipp Apian produced a detailed map of Bavaria in 1568. However, cartography failed to advance. It did not reflect advances in surveying. Instead of producing new maps, cartographers compiled surveys of limited areas and appended them to the pre-existing Apian map. By 1751, Bavaria was stuck in the tradition of Apian.
Castulus Riedl (1701-83) emerged in this era to direct surveys. He combined experience in bureaucracy with knowledge of the newest methods in surveying and mapmaking. He realized that the types of maps that the state needed could not be made economically. Instead, he recommended a universal map that could be informative in several areas, not just tolls and roads. Riedl spent his career creating detailed maps of individual roads and the surrounding landscapes that would contribute to the eventual universal map.
The Bavarian Academy of Science (established in 1759) set out to publish geographical information for the state. Peter von Osterwald realized that the Academy would have to undertake complicated surveys of the land in order to produce maps that gave information on a variety of subjects: politics and economics as well as topography. Surveyors should be men who knew both the land and the craft. Few men knew both, which impeded progress in succeeding decades. The academy had few surveyors who could undertake this exhaustive work. Instead, outsiders (Cassini de Thury, Michel, Rizzi Zannoni) jumpstarted the Academy's efforts. None of these projects were completed.
In the 1760s, the reforming state unified and standardized tolls and customs. Franz Xaver Stubenrauch changed the purpose of toll collection, using it to steer economic development. In the mid-1760s, the toll administration published ordinances, schedules, and maps, intending to make tolls transparent. Maps necessarily complimented ordinances: they gave information and commercial roads and toll stations. They also "codified rules in a graphic form that was legally binding": the administration was obligated to maintain roads and to update maps. Johann Franz Kohlbrenner used his knowledge of commerce to produce the toll map. His map provided some sense of the Bavarian transportation network, and was useful for planning to some degree, but it was far short of what the state needed.
During the late-eighteenth century Adrian Riedl (1746-1809) dominated cartography in Bavaria. He had been groomed by his father to create a family tradition of state service, and despite opposing Karl Theodor (1777-99) in the War of Bavarian Succession, Adrian Riedl became the premier cartographer and surveyor. Riedl encouraged the court to pursue a new, thorough survey of Bavaria in pursuit of a universal map. The survey gave impetus to collecting all maps and creating a centralized map depository as well as producing new geographical information. However, in 1788 the government stopped paying him for this project.
Simultaneously, the state became more interested in a complete street map of Bavaria. Karl Theodor made streets a more central issue in overall economic planning. However, the state took a frugal turn in the 1780s, and the court and estates placed more emphasis on rational and efficient use of existing roads rather than new construction. New maps needed to reflect street conditions and usage. Apian maps could no longer be updated. Although reluctant, Riedl took on the project. In 1796 Riedl produced a Reise-Atlas of Bavaria. It was the product of a well-trained man who had intimate knowledge of the landscape. It allowed Riedl to advance his own project of a universal map as well as contributing useful data for the street authority (without making a complete map superfluous). The Reise-Atlas was the first new depiction of Bavaria in centuries, but it was also a dead end. Riedl was sidetracked by his duties as director of the streets authority and by service for the Austrian army. When France occupied Munich in 1800, the extent of geographical knowledge of Bavaria was deemed insufficient, and a new survey was ordered. Ultimately, Riedl's contribution was the administration he created to survey and collect geographical knowledge; his maps were less important.
Regionalism and spatial planning have received new attention in recent years. Celia Applegate has discussed how regions can be regarded as "imagined communities." The European Spatial Development Perspective reveals how spatial and regional planning must proceed from an understanding of how different parts of territories relate to one another and their relationship to international networks. By discussing efforts to map roads, Schloegl shows how the state grappled with its territorial composition. Mapping was an essential tool of planning, an act of imagining that landscape that was different from nationalism.
Schloegl produces an interesting portrait of inner workings of the absolutist state. Bavaria's attempts to understand and control its territory were complicated by ambition and interpersonal conflicts. The story of the Riedl family (Castulus, Adrian, and brother Michael) allows Schloegl to discuss rivalries within the court and their effects on scientific knowledge. It also allows him to show continuity in cartography. Adrian Riedl is a compelling figure, risking his reputation and well-being to produce his universal map and advance the family tradition. However, accomplishments eluded Bavaria because of political shortcomings. The limitations of the reform absolutism were at the center of the failures of the state. Schloegl asks whether or not mapmaking is a sign of inner state-building. The drive of reforming absolutists to reach the state's subjects unleashed activities that would help them understand those subjects. Each reform led to a flurry of mapmaking activities. It did not lead to surveying activities. Because Bavaria was unable to visualize its territory, it could not completely realize its reforms. Ultimately, reform absolutism was wishy-washy in fulfilling its promises. It is difficult to dissociate these failures from Bavaria's failure to become a hegemonic power in Germany. In his introduction, Schloegl even associates Prussian ascendancy with its ability to produce and collect maps of all German territories.
Schloegl uses archival sources extensively. These come from map archives and files related to road building and tolls. Schloegl takes special care describing and discussing the different maps that were produced, giving a sense of what progress was being made (especially with the art, if not the technique, of depicting the landscape). Schloegl gives tireless descriptions of how the maps were produced, from the methods employed in surveying to the manner in which topographical features were depicted in print. The book is well-illustrated with examples of maps, and several color maps are placed in a sleeve in the back of the book. Personal sources on the surveyors and cartographers are also used extensively. This is important for establishing the continuity in cartography through the Riedl family.
Despite the apparent obscurity of Bavarian cartography and odology, Schloegl's book is an important model for understanding how spatial planning has developed. Center-directed policies could not succeed without engaging the complexities of the territory. The nexus between maps and roads show the state's drive to comprehend, and control, its heterogeneity. Furthermore, this book shows trends in state-building that would find fuller fruition in the nineteenth century.
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Nathanael Robinson. Review of Schloegl, Daniel, Der planvolle Staat: Raumerfassung und Reformen in Bayern 1750-1800.
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