Giving name to streets, giving streets to names. Organising urban space following toponymy practices


  • Claudio Coletta Università di Padova



classifications, urban space, toponymy, organizational practices


The article investigates the practices of giving names to streets. It looks at the city as an expanded laboratory and tackles urban issues following the performative action of names. Particularly, the study follows the action-nets resulting from toponymic processes. It adopts an organisational approach to urban phenomena with the aim of accounting for the device through which a part of the city is shaped.

In this sense, the practices of naming spaces represent a sort of switch between organisational and urban dimension. Mainly, they involve the material nature of spatial organisation and the situated character of administrative work: what makes an urban space as such? How is it made up and organised? How do its different modes of existence take place, differ from, and relate to, one another?

These issues will be explored by taking into account how names actually emerge and produce relations that connect heterogeneous materials, connoting and classifying them as urban spaces. How to account for practices of giving names to streets? How do names act? What are they made of? What are the implications of giving names to streets?

The street name acts as a sort of interface between everyday and institutional life, between collective memory and lived experience, between administrative and technoscientific practices. It is thanks to these mediation skills that a street name is shaped and receives its performative power, and it is towards those aspects that the investigation is oriented.



How to Cite

Coletta, C. (2010). Giving name to streets, giving streets to names. Organising urban space following toponymy practices. Tecnoscienza – Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies, 1(2), 5–32.