Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is Urban Morphology?

Morphological analisis of four blocks in La Boca, Buenos Aires. Personal archives.Morphological analisis of four blocks in East L.A., applying Fourier Transform. Personal archives
Urban morphology is an analytical method that explores the urban form as a physical expression of the interdependency of the built environment (cities, towns, primitive settlements) and open spaces, its formation and transformations, the street patterns, building sizes and shapes, and the relations between urban elements. We also understand the city as the material expression of the social structure originated by the inhabitant cultural community. It also involves mapping and describing patterns of land use in order to analyse the processes producing these structures.
The first approach is to find a classification for the shape of the city, it could be a grid, clusters, axis, concentric, fractal, among other patterns.
This discipline, specially when related to complex communities cultural rules, with so many meanings require a transdisciplinar approach that conforms a body of knowledge: physics, mathematics, history, archaeology, geography, architecture, urbanism, sociology, etc. All these disciplines have quantitative features in common and may relate to the fact that the complex interactions that characterize theses systems could be represented in some geometric system. Then, the scaling and universality features of different complex systems may ultimately be understood in terms of the connectivity of geometrical objects.
Contributions to the field are the following:
.- Archaeology and town analyses
.- urban shapes after and before floods.
.- Urban shapes after and before earthquakes and wars applied to urban conservation
.- Urban regeneration for post war reconstruction.
.- Contributions to planning practice, creation and modification of Zoning-Planing Codes.
.- Cross cultural perspectives in Urban morphogenetics.
.- Urban landscape management
Special attention is given to how the physical form of a city changes over time and to how different cities compare to each other. This sometimes reflects the geographical and social aspects of the matter, as the influence in between cities go beyond the boundaries of individual countries. For example, the subfield of sociology and imaginary applied to urban morphology deals with the study of the social shapes which are expressed in the built layout of a city (barrio, town, etc) and conversely, how physical form produces social configurations.
The analysis could have interpretations from three basic points of view:

Meanings-cultural habits

In the following levels:
The geographical spatial complex
The blocks
Street patterns
Domestic interior spatial configurations

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