Sanitary revolution and technology in nineteenth century Lisbon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter tries to introduce technological change as a crucial element in the nineteenth century sanitary revolution. Its study may enlighten the peculiar mechanisms of technological transfer associated with the innovations applied to water supply and sewers. Four aspects are relevant. The first concerns the kind of technologies that were involved in the sanitary revolution, very different from the ones commonly studied in technological transfers. The second aspect comes from the assumption that the technological innovations associated with this revolution in sanitation must be considered as a system, a characteristic that is peculiar to most of the modern urban infrastructures. Thirdly, these technological systems must be planned much further in advance than the actual demand at the moment of their implementation. Finally, the crucial element that revolutionised sanitation throughout the second half of the nineteenth century was the inter-relation between a modern water supply and the solution of waste disposal through a modern sewer system. This feature leads to an even more complex operation of the mechanisms of technological transfer, as it is important to link both systems in order to solve the sanitation challenges to the nineteenth-century city.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLes transferts technologiques dans l'espace méditerranéen. Perspectives historiques à long terme
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherCNRS - Centre national de la recherche scientifique
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Urban History
  • Urban infrastructures
  • Water supply
  • Sewerage system
  • Lisbon


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