imagineRio is a searchable atlas that illustrates the social and urban evolution of Rio de Janeiro over its entire history, as it has existed and as it has been imagined. Views of the city created by artists, maps by cartographers, and site plans by architects or urbanists are all located in both time and space. It is a web environment that offers creative new ways for scholars, students, and residents to visualize the past by seeing historical and modern imagery against an interactive map that accurately presents the city since its founding. Historians can visualize specific sites of inquiry, architects and urbanists may locate proposed design projects in situ, literary scholars are able to map out novels, and residents can reconstruct the changes in their neighborhoods. Rio de Janeiro’s urban history is particularly well suited to being captured in this way, considering how much the city’s natural environment, urban fabric, and self-representation have changed over time.
Developed by professors Farès el-Dahdah and Alida C. Metcalf in collaboration with Axis Maps and the Center for Research Computing’s Spatial Studies Lab at Rice University, imagineRio is currently being supported by a Digital Art History grant from the Getty Foundation, thanks to which it is now possible to seamlessly integrate the rich photography collections of the Instituto Moreira Salles. imagineRio could not have been developed without the financial and technical support of Rice University’s Office of Information Technology, Ken Kennedy Institute, Baker Institute, Fondren Library, the Humanities Research Center, the Department of History, and the Office for Global and Digital Strategy, nor without content from many other sources.