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Presenting the past : the impact of urban morphology in shaping the form of the city
Version 2 2023-02-27, 00:14
Version 1 2020-01-30, 17:11
conference contributionposted on 2023-02-27, 00:14 authored by Paul SandersPaul Sanders
What are the intrinsic qualities of our cities that we chose to celebrate? How can we observe, measure and understand these qualities? How can we enhance our cities through a categorical appreciation of its quality? The focus of this paper is to outline an archival research method that enables quantitative morphological urban data to be analysed and transcribed through mapping diagrams; evidencing those intrinsic urban qualities from which consonant urban guidelines can be formulated, as well as incongruous development identified. A case study will provide an application of this method by using mapping diagrams of Brisbane, representing the growth of the city over the past 160 years. By presenting the past as a repository of urban form characteristics, it is argued that concise architectural responses that stem from such knowledge should result in an engaged urban landscape. The paper furthers the geographical approach to urban morphology; the forensic taxonomy of urban archival plans that was pioneered in the work of researchers such as MRG Conzen, and suggests purposeful implications of such research on urban design. The relevance of this research lies in its potential to breach the limitations of current urban site analysis whilst continuing the evolving currency of urban morphology as a necessary conditional preface to urban design practice; providing context to the built environment to inform building design, especially in areas of urban renewal. If an urban ‘DNA’ can be can be identified and described, then the genealogy of its built characteristics can guide its continued growth.