Mapping cosmopolis: Planning and the sign in Mexico-Tenochtitlan

Felipe Javier Gorostiza Arroyo, University of Pennsylvania


This study examines the city and the cartographic representations which portray it as multiple texts to be read and therefore interpreted and refashioned. It explores the readings made of Mexico-Tenochtitlan by both its residents and the invading conquistadores and subsequent chroniclers. It finds that these readings, based on the respective symbolic frameworks of these observers, differed substantially enough to render the city inscrutable to the outsider as to its meaning within the Mexica cosmovision. To the uninitiated, the city was legible as a text of power and wealth; to the Mexica, it was the central site, both physically and intellectually, of the universe they had been created to rule. It further posits the creation of a large-scale plan of the empire and the cosmos through the urban design of the Aztec capital.

Subject Area

Urban planning|Area planning & development|Latin American history|Cultural anthropology

Recommended Citation

Gorostiza Arroyo, Felipe Javier, "Mapping cosmopolis: Planning and the sign in Mexico-Tenochtitlan" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9814850.