Urban morphometrics: towards a quantitative science of urban form

Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2016
Thesis identifier
  • T14506
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201266646
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The field of Urban Morphology is a branch of academic research focussing on the study of urban form. Although prior works in this field had been undertaken earlier, the formal establishment of the discipline of Urban Morphology can be traced back to the establishment of the International Seminar on Urban Form in 1994, and the subsequent Journal of Urban Morphology. The efforts in this field are found to be largely reliant, from the point of view of methods and definitions, on two foundational research roots, the Conzenian and the Muratorian processes. Both of these dominant traditions emerged independently in the 1960's. Contemporary works in the field are found to consistently uphold the status quo within the discipline and fail to challenge or validate the very definitions of form used so frequently and implicitly in all assessments.This thesis recognises that the field of Urban Morphology lacks a rigorous lexicon of the urban form, as well as a quantitatively-driven, systematic and comprehensive means of analysing and comparing urban form. A methodology is developed as a systematic, quantitative and comprehensive process of measuring,defining and classifying urban form. This process entails the study of the measurements of urban form and is termed Urban Morphometrics. Central to Urban Morphometrics is the assignment of rigorous definitions to the urban elements, called Constituent Urban Elements. A Methodology of measuring these elements and their inter-relationships at the scale of the Sanctuary Area is tested rigorously against Validation, Robustness and Universality criteria, and culminates in the first taxonomy of urban form. Largely following statistical processes of biological morphometrics, this analysis reveals the relative importance of the various measurements of urban form and derives a minimal set of criteria for measuring urban form. Urban Morphometrics is then integrated into a more typical study of Urban Morphology and later tested to reveal its relevance in professional planning practice. Finally, the classification of urban form is used as a platform for discussing the theory of Urban Evolution and the first bifurcation in the evolutionary pathways of cities, evidenced through the resulting classification of urban form.
Resource Type
  • Strathclyde theses - ask staff. Thesis no. : T14506
Date Created
  • 2016
Former identifier
  • 9912542891902996