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Tag "morphology"

I will be speaking at the Society of Cartographers 48th Annual Conference today. The talk will focus on the New City Landscape maps under the title New City Landscape Maps: Urban Areas According to Tweet Density.

The maps are visualising location based tweet activity in urban areas and part of the talk will focus on urban morphology and real world feature to influence the virtual activity. The range of maps produced show that unique conditions exist for different cities from around the world and this is reflected in the Twitter landscape maps.

Three types have been identified showing similar characteristics. A type with one central core are, a type with several different islands of high activity and a type showing an area or shape of high activity.




Image by urbanTick for NCL / Top row central type, middle row feature type and bottom row island type.

Also we have been monitoring Twitter activity in London during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Whilst this is still ongoing a first preview of the data is showing a surprising shift of activity, a new addition to the landscape of the NCL-London map respectively.

There has an actual peak appeared over the area of the Olympic park with masses of location based tweets. It is something we have always talked about in presentations of the maps in the past couple of month and here it is, it finally did show up as a major ‘landmark’ in the virtual map of London.


Image by urbanTick for NCL / Locationbased Twitter activity in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic park on the right does show up as a remarkable peak during the early period of the Olympic Games. A final version will be produced in the after the end of the Paralympic Games.

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Transformations towards opening the waterside of cities particularly in Europe are taking place for the last fifteen years. Rivers and lake side areas are being discovered as recreation areas of high value. What was formerly waste land or industrial area has very often been brownfield for some time and is redeveloped, very often turning the city functionally inside out, introducing a new front.

Particularly Rivers are passing through central areas where cities can develop a potential for focused activity and attraction. London is developing this topics, but also Rotterdam, Berlin, Basel and so on.

Paris Plages
Image taken from Wikimedia / A view down onto the Paris Plages. With sand the river front road is transformed in to a recreation zone for one month.

Paris has developed a special take on this, with a very much temporary solution. The legacy i sometimes tricky to just change and Paris runs some major road infrastructure along the Seine that they are not willing to reroute. However, temporarily it is during summer transformed into a beachside with sand and palm trees.

It goes with a extensive cultural program, including art fairs and concerts. There are all sorts of activities running like Tai-Chi and reading clubs organised by the library. Of course a game of Boules has to feature too. Actually Pétanque is played at Paris Plages.

Paris Plages
Image taken from parisplages / Plan showing one of the locations just across from the Centre pompidou in central Paris.

The project ‘Paris Plages‘ started in 2002 and has taken place every summer since. The authorities announce “The summer transforms Paris. The cityscape dons greenery and the riverside thoroughfares become car-free resorts. The Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) operation kicks off on or around 20 July and lasts four weeks.”

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It is one more year since the last summary of personal tracking was posted. This year it is a consistant 405 tracking record as compared to a mixed device record the previous year. This matters in so far as the 405 performs very well and the data processing job is a simpler for the cleaning part. The down side is that it is slower for the processing part since there are very detailed records with loads of points. THe previeous year can be found at Plymouth365 and oneYearLND_2009.

oneYearLND09-10 London
Image by urbanTick / London overview of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips. For a large version click HERE.

The map also shows the previous year in green, since there is a striking similarity and in order to highlight the differences this seemed to make sense. The similarity goes as far as the two records being more or less the same. I expected a similarity, but not to this extend.

There are differences only on a very small scale. There is one major change in routine that dominates the differences between the two years. My son has started school and the trips to the nursery near the work place have been substituted by trip to drop of or pick him up at the school near our home. This changes the spatial practice and with it the pattern. However it is not as obvious since the directions of movement stayed more or less the same.

Image by urbanTick / London Bloomsbury zoom of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips.

To update the zoom in to the leisure area around Regents Park here is an updated version showing the different visits to ZSL. In 2010 there appear definitely a shift in interest focus. Never been to Australia this year.

As pointed out in last years post, the capacity to recall events using the lines as memory triggers works very well. I can basically over the whole year piece together my steps. Being this for example in the bottom left corner some of these trips to the Natural History Museum, Royal Geographical Society or in Hyde Part visits the Diana Memorial.

Image by urbanTick / London Regents Park zoom of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips.

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Cities are growing and more and more percent of the world population are living in urban areas. This is a fairly well known and often quoted line. However how this might come to look like we don’t know yet. Will we be living in a massive city island surrounded by desert, jungle, mountain or water? Or might it be a continuos city spanning the whole planet, very much in the sense of the Small World timeLapse produced last year in London?
In the laboratories of the ETH in Zurich, Kaiersrot manufactured a arge cale model of such a small world city using digital manufacturing techniques. The ‘design’ of the spere is generated by an algorithm and then manufactured from cardboard in a PappPlot tehcnique, were sustainable card board is cut and glued together by a machine, layer by layer.
The product is described as “It is a city on a sphere, but not necessarily a global city, maybe a city globe: endless – or better – beginningless. There is neither periphery nor center. The city’s openness is simultaneously based on its seclusion. Once within one can never leave again. The city has a specific form; its physical presence is obvious. Nevertheless, the city can never be experienced in its totality.” And yes it becomes difficult to map the sphere on a flat piece of paper. This is interesting regarding urban planning. Not only a spherical city can not be mapped entirely correct on a flat paper, but it serves very well as a obvious example of the complications of perspective and reality.
It was shown at the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam ‘Open City: Designing Coexistence’ last year, with Kees Christiaanse from KCAP as the curator.

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The discussion around space is a complex topic and it seems that architects and planners are amongst the people having the biggest difficulties defining it. The reason might be lent two the fact that they have to deal with a unequal pair or space as in the construction of physical objects as well as the creation of space as a resulting void. This shall not be read as a final definition of the nature of space. It is only a attempt to collect some examples on the discussion around space.
I would like to start with the widely accepted idea of the figure ground representation of built form. I believe this technique is derived from the Nolli plan of Rome, invented by Giambattista Nolli and published in 1748. In essence it is the representation of physical form in black, leaving the void (space) in between white.

Image taken from the Nolli Map Engine 1.0 by James Tice and Eric Steiner

You guessed it, this is the ultimate claim of objectivity implemented in the plan. However, usually it is claimed o be in use only for visualisation and communication purposes. Nevertheless it also contains the implementation of truth and the establishment of power through the plan.
Bill Hillier describes space in his book ‘Space is the Machine’ 1996 as: “Space is, however, a more inherently difficult topic than physical form, for two reasons. First, space is vacancy rather than thing, so even its bodily nature is not obvious, and cannot be taken for granted in the way that we think we can take objects for granted” (Hillier 1996, p 26). He continues however with “Space is quite simply, what we use in buildings” (Hillier 1996, p 28). And finally he comes up with an astonishing example of a spatial description (and this is the reason it stands in this context to the Nolli plan).

Image by Hillier, taken from Space is the Machine, Fig 1.22 on page 30

For me this image represents two things. For one this is the statement of intent to follow the tradition of the Nolli figure-ground representation as the visualisation for space, and secondly it raises the question of what exists outside the black line. To some extend, I think, the question is answered with the implied assumption that space is taken in a Euclidean sense as a container, a box that you can put things in and arrange them – boxSpace.
In architecture many famous example of the employment of the Nolli Plan can be found. See for example Ado Rossi.
His take on architecture and the representation has largely influenced the Soglio study and the in this context developed representation techniques. The study on alpine architecture in the village of Soglio in Switzerland was conducted by the Institute of Architecture of the University of Applied Science Basel and lead by Michael Alder.

Image taken from ‘Soglio – Siedlungen und Bauten’ – Ground Floor whole settlement

This example takes the idea of figure-ground to the level of the settlement. It completely relies on the rule of accessibility as the guide for spatial representation. In this sense it is what Hillier is talking about in his example. Space is the vacancy between for the human body impenetrable material (I should say object here I guess). In this sense you could probably also call it an accessibility map or a walking guide.
This is then how Hillier introduces the space syntax concept of space description, as a sequence of, for the human body, accessible spaces.
He says: “…related space, almost by definition, cannot be seen all at once, but require movement from one to other to experience the whole” (Hillier 1996, p 26). Interesting here for me is that to some extend this raises some critique on the figure-ground idea of space, as it employees movement ‘to experience the whole’. But more of this in a following post.

As a physical manifestation of this concept here an example I recently came across on A Daily Dose of Architecture. In some sense this is the above space Box concept in built, including the fabrication and installation process.

Images by FNP – The project ‘S(ch)austall’ as published by DBZ-online

Alder, M. & Giovanoli, D., 1997. Soglio: Siedlungen und Bauten / Insediamenti e construzioni 2nd ed., Birkhäuser Basel.
Hillier, B., 1996. Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, New York: Cambridge University Press.

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A lot of the Kevin Lynch material has now been digitalised and put on line by the MIT. The objects in this collection relate to Kevin Lynch’s study The Perceptual Form of the City, conducted in Boston, Massachusetts from 1954-1959. The study was done under the direction of Lynch and Professor Gyorgy Kepes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Their research findings were the foundation of Lynch’s theories on city planning discussed in his seminal work The Image of the City.
It sais on the page: “The collection includes photographs and records from the Boston phase of the project. The nearly 2,000 black & white photographs, shot by Nishan Bichajian, assistant to Professor Kepes, document the Boston urban environment during the mid-1950s prior to urban renewal. The records document the planning, preparation, and progress of the project (1951-1956), and the research process and findings (1954-1959)”.
Some stuff can be accessed at the on the dome site. There is also a large collection of black and white photographs that the MIT has f[put online on flickr. See the slideshow below.

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Nai Publishers have kindly supplied me with a brand new print of the ‘Functional City’. Some of you might remember the earlier review of the book. The copy I had was printed with a Dutch introduction, whilst the book was in English. The new copy has just arrived and I would like to update this review with a look at the introduction.
The introduction sets out the context of the book and especially focuses on the role van Esteren plays, both within the modernist CIAM group as well as in the book. This is important as the book does both at the same time. It redraws activities of CIAM but also focuses on van Esteren as, at times, the CIAM’s chairman. The introduction makes cleaver use of an event, the exhibition ‘The Functional City’ that took place in 1935 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Along this, presented as the climax of the CIAM activities the events are rolled up from the back to give broad overview of the details to following in the book.
One large, some 5m long ‘historical table’ graphically visualised the history of the city. Surprisingly it showed the development of the city as a result of economical, technical and social forces. This is surprising in so far, that in general the term ‘social’ and ‘functional’ does not necessarily go well together. But maybe this also points out that the modernist understanding of ‘functional’ was in fact not as machine like a we construct it.
The material and the way it was prepared showed clearly the guiding principle of the CIAM, ‘first the analysis and only afterwards the synthetic work, the design’
Van Esteren stated that ‘the expression ‘functional city’ best conveys what we expect from a well designed city’. He took the human body as a metaphor to explain how the health of the whole is important for individual elements to function properly.
Van Esteren pointed out that the architects contribution to urban design was necessary for the designing of good extension plans. His main concern where residential districts and its facilities. He justified the architects involvement in urban planning with ‘he (the architect) is the one who determines the physiognomy of the plan.’ He goes on explaining ‘the goal is to archive an equilibrium of all of the factors that are of importance for the people to enjoy living their lives. These insights, based on the results of the previous congresses, inexorably drove us to urban planning.’ Interesting here is that it appears as if the group is trying to justify it move towards urban planning. They saw them selves as architects in the first place, but now took on a different field. This might have two aspects to it. One is that the exclusivity of the architect as the maestro and genius designing a house for a most probably rich customer is not exactly mass compatible. Most people will never be in the position to afford this sort exclusivity. And secondly the impact (and if you want satisfaction) is not nearly as a large of an individual building as if you take on the whole city. In conjunction with this goes the installment of truth with the plan and the resulting power.
I think this should not be seen as a negative aspect to modernist movement, but rather the discovery of the responsibility of planning. The exhibition probably showed above all the struggle with a newly discovered possibility, both factual and emotional.
In this sense the ‘Functional City’ can be seen, as the introduction to the book points out, as Berlage’s conception architecture as a social art.

The idea of the ‘Functional City’ is as I think in relation to today’s conception of the city crucial. Also regarding the topic of cycles the idea of the urbanMachine is based on this construction. I have now just finished a paper on this subject for my upgrade early next month. I will post bits and pieces of it here in the coming weeks.

Image by Cornelis van Esteren, taken from cultuurwijzer.nl – Title ‘Het Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan van Amsterdam’ (the extension plan for Amsterdam.

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Last weeks the most disturbing science news headline was “How the city hurts your brain” circulating as new research that proves the evil of cities. The original article can be found at the Boston Globe.
It all starts with a very innocent introduction where the author says: “The City has always been an engine of intellectual life, from the 18th-century coffeehouses of London, where citizens gathered to discuss chemistry and radical politics, to the Left Bank bars of modern Paris, where Pablo Picasso held forth on modern art. Without the metropolis, we might not have had the great art of Shakespeare or James Joyce; even Einstein was inspired by commuter trains.” From this point it goes down hill. From spreading cholera to the argument that the before named artists eventually moved out of the city, concluding “ … [the city] it’s also a deeply unnatural and overwhelming place” We’ll that is a statement, DEEPLY UNNATURAL! However, as we try to grasp the extend of the devastating news, the authors are quick with analysis and of course solution. It is all down to the city affecting the brain and a few minutes on the busy street will blow your memory and you start suffering from reduced self control (what does that mean?). Again with a very pointy argument, “that’s why Picasso left Paris”. The excuse comes in the form of the acceptance that “The mind is a limited machine” while still concluding this, the first solution comes in the form of “One of the main forces at work is a stark lack of nature”. I am aware that this is not actually a solution , but rather an other analysis or hypothesis, but in its tone directly implies to be a solution. And it does not stop there it straight goes through the wall with the sledge hammer solving ALL! the problems: “…that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows, and that women living in public housing are better able to focus when their apartment overlooks a grassy courtyard”.
WOW, now I feel much better and I am convinced we live in a better world.
It however comes to the first element I do actually very much agree with the authors, the fact that this kind of research comes exactly in time with the news (and of course the media coverage and interpretation) that now over 50% of the world’s population live in cities. Unfortunately it dives right back down with a sweet but unrealistic naive worldview of: “For a species that evolved to live in small, primate tribes on the African savannah, such a migration marks a dramatic shift. Instead of inhabiting wide-open spaces, we’re crowded into concrete jungles, surrounded by taxis, traffic, and millions of strangers.”

I think I stop here, because the article goes on for another four pages, I hope I have missed the point of the article and if some of you read it all through, please let me know what I missed. The ‘leave a comment’ field can be found at the end of the post.

But actually there is another reason to stop at this point, because this one point is very interesting and important. We are living in a mainly urbanised world. Most of us live in urban areas and rising. The UN predicts some 70-80% by 2050. “The United Nation Population Fund, UN agency, says in a new report that humanity will have to undergo a “revolution in thinking” to deal with a doubling of urban populations in Africa and Asia. The UN continues to say that the number of people in African and Asian cities will grow by 1.7 billion by the year 2030. And worldwide, the number of city dwellers will reach five billion or 60 per cent of the world’s population (citymayors)“
‘Revolution in thinking’ is probably a more appropriate suggestion than to point out how bad our (western) cities are. Western city here is important if not to say European, because this is what I believe the above article is referring to. Conditions in other ‘urban’ areas in the world are dramatically different from what westerners call ’a city’. And I mean, to dig out a cholera example is pathetic. According to Wikipedia the first cholera pandemic reached London and Paris in 1832, a second one in 1849, the third Europe skipped, fourth in 1854 and a fifth in 1866 that was locally very much condemned as by then London was just about to finish its new water and sewage system (I guess it is still the same, but that is another topic). However you can see that since 1866 dramatic chances in the urban environment were introduced. I am aware that I also imply a lot here, but to bring it across in a similar style: the city was a much worse place. (We all know that this is a very difficult way to express thought about historical events and while being aware of the implications of the distorted and constructed past as seen from the present,
it might be much more complex, but we’ll keep things simple her for today.) To come back to the new challenge of the dramatic growth in urban population – a doubling of the city population in Asia and Africa – another example might be of interest. Thinking back to the last urban crisis this latest and now upcoming reaction very much reminds me of Haussmann’s renovation of in Paris or Ebenezer Howard with the Garden City.In fact both came after the Cholera pandemics. I am pretty sure, actually I was only waiting for the first such news to appear, that we ill see a lot of reactions to the ‘city problem’ coming down a similar route as the article quoted in the beginning of this post. It is all bad and we have to reinvent to solve it. Urban designer will be very quick to jump to Howard’s idea of the Garden City to have a readymade solution. Someone will dig it out.

Image from Wikipedia – as published in “Garden Cities of tomorrow”, Sonnenschein publishing, 1902

However to make it clear, I am not playing down the urgent and extend of the raising question. In the contrary, it is an urgent matter, especially because the urban planning profession in general and urban design and architecture (I add them here because they all think they can do both anyway) in particular is in an identity crisis with no consistent concepts available at present. The only thing that buzzes around is sustainability, but it’s got no content to it.

In an article on io9 Chanda Phelan presents how apocalyptic stories have changed in the past 200 years. She explains ”It’s not the idea of Ending itself that has faded – that will be around until we are actually mopped off the face of the Earth. It’s the actual moment of disaster, the blood and guts and fire, that has been losing ground in stories of the End. Post-apocalyptic fiction is a 200-year-old trend, and for 170 of those years, the ways writers imagined the end were pretty transparently a reflection of whatever was going on around them – nuclear war, environmental concerns, etc. In the mid-1990s, though, everything just turned into a big muddle. Suddenly, we’d get a post-apocalyptic world whose demise was never explained. It was just a big question mark.“ And she also points out that actually it was never about the end, but the new beginning. However she analyses that in the last 30 years there has been a decreasing interest in the why and how of the end, very often simply assuming that there was an end. Presumable, from my reading of it, the apocalypse was never about, it actually ends, but about narrating a sin or something stylised ‘problematic’ to actually urge people to change something in the present. Implying ”if you don’t behave now, something disastrous might, could possibly, eventually, maybe happen“. And in this sense skipping this part of the apocalypse is indeed a very dramatic change.

Image by Stephanie Fox – How the Apocalypse Will Happen – A Literary Chart

In this sense the attitude to the posed urban growth question would be, let’s skip the growth, the infrastructure demand, logistics, flows, identity, morphology, material, organisation, atmosphere, form, transport, colour, work, resource, governing, social, knowledge, communication, finance, and so on question and just build a New Cities for some 80 million people or maybe better a set of Garden cities, each with some 58’246.1 residents ?

So what to do?

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The origin of cities has been subject of an earlier post with a clear focus on cycles. For an additional post here the starting point is quite a different one. It is the book History of Urban Form – Before the Industrial Revolutions“ by A.E.J. Morris in the third edition. A book of facts and old school history, interpreting the subject rather functional and with a pretend objectivity.
However it is a very popular book and as the third edition demonstrates, able to maintain its popularity over more than twenty years. The first edition was published in 1972.
From the book by Josef H. Reichholf titled “Warum die Menschen sesshaft wurden” the idea of rites and routines where directly involved in the creation of the first settlements and later the creation of the city. In the HUF (History of Urban Form) is acknowledging that the early history of human settlements is still being written, the description blurs early cities/settlements into early cultures such as Aztecs, Maya, Egyptian/Mesopotamia, Greek/Roman or Islamic culture. However, the description in the book starts much earlier in the human history, somewhere in the Neolithic Age when humans are believed to be, in the words of the publication “…on much the same basis as any of the other animals, by gathering naturally occurring foodstuff…” (p 3). Fro this assumed nomadic life (I am not sure this would not necessarily imply a nomadic live, some animals do live a territorial life) the humans moved on, around 14000 BC to live in caves. Suddenly, settling is possible, but I assume this is what the archeological evidence is telling us. This is presented a shift in the concept of living, an improvement over the nomads to settle down in a cave. The logical step to follow this shift is the cultivation of plants around 8’000 to 10’000 years ago and successive the domestication of animals. Logic because it is believed that a settled live would make it necessary to source food locally and this food stock would need to be maintained through out the year. This is then famously described “The escape from the impasse of savagery was an economic and scientific revolution that made the participants active pattern with nature instead of parasites on nature” (by Childe? in What Happened in History)
The book moves then on to describe the “Fertile Crescent” as introduced by J Breasted (1935) in Ancient Times. Some 3000 years of slow development later villages are believed to be established and the first introduction of cities comes at the beginning of the Bronze Age. It follows a statement by Gideon Sjoberg (1965) in The Origin and Evolution of Cities as follows: ”a community of substantial size and population density that shelters a variety of non agricultural specialists, including a literate elite.“ This description is trying to articulate that again a shift is taking place and no longer everyone is responsible for her/his own food, but some sort of specialisation took place and exchange of goods between these specialists is invented.
For this development, the book lists a number of necessary steps to be taken. Named first is the production of surplus food and the storage of such, as well as other materials that would be needed by the specialists, as named before. Then follows the listing of science achievements such as writing,, mathematics, and astronomy. Only in a third set of additional achievement social organisation, is listed. And it is only named in the context of ”to ensure continuity of supplies to the urban specialists and to control labor forces for large-scale communal work…“ Mumford is then quoted to state that these requirement where roughly met by around 3000 BC. Surprisingly social organisation is not examined as a structuring of a large group of individuals beyond the family or clan structure what could be some sort of early politics.
However none of these factors are then explored in more detail and none of them feature as defining in the chapter on the actual creation of the urban form. To be fair all of them are addressed in neat row, one after the other, but not as a determining element, but rather a feature of the city. Almost in the sense that the city made this possible or it is a ”function“ of the city. It goes from topography, climate, material, economic, political, religious, pre-urban cadastre, defense, aggrandisement, gridiron, mobility, aesthetics, legislation, infrastructure, social/religious/ethnic groupings and leisure, Anyway there would be a nice example for each of them, but overall it represents clearly a time of thought, the eighties, were everything was neatly divided, separated and isolated to be investigated and then in the exact same state presented. As if the city is made of bricks.
To summarise this short introduction to the history of urban form as it were, one could say ”it somehow happened“. Out of all these objective descriptions of analysis no clear thread emerges along that the evolution cold be examined.
The book continues to examine the form of cities. Moving from early settlements examples like Jericho and Catal Huyuk to Jerusalem and UR quickly to the Greek City State. Here examples of Miletus, Priene and of course Athens are provided. In this section the defense mechanism of the city are present, but not dominate. This, however, changes in the following section of Rome and the Empire. The examples here strongly build on the ideal construction of the military base camp, the army castra. The idea of the wall and the strong grid are dominant through out the description of the roman city. This pre conception of ”the City“ as the wall and the grid stands in the way of examining the city form from multiple angles. There are very little references to trade, production or everyday life for example religion. The problem of food production and food storage was earlier put as the main problem of urban settlements, but have, surprisingly, ever since not features as a defining element of city form. If it was, and presumably still is in cities today, this aspect must be considered while defining the urban form. As a consequence of this the city can not be defined as the grid and the wall, but would need to include the relationship to the surrounding fields for food production as well as, in terms of typology, the locations and types of food storage should be added to the examination of climate impacts.
As the book progressed through to the medieval Towns there appears to be a big break. The collapse of the Roman Empire also led to the collapse of a lot of roman founded cities. Some of them would be rebuild as medieval towns. However, of course some large and regional significant settlements manage to maintain its base, such as London or Verona. The installed structures by the Roman Empire where neglected through out and the sophisticated road network for example vanished. This meant for medieval times that there was no reliable way to distribute products in bulk. The solution was to establish transport on waterways. Surprisingly Morris states her: ”Neither the location of medieval towns nor their form was significantly affected by industry“ (p 96). Even though he continues to analyse the typology of medieval town houses as a place combining living and working.
The medieval city wall continues to be the defining element of urban form. Even though in Britain the wall was, in the 14th century, not a significant military need due to the state of peace within the island. However the wall was used to clearly state boundaries to for example impose a tax on good coming through the city gates.
There is as an intriguing beauty about the medieval town. It probably derives from a constructed clarity of dominant elements. Apart fro the wall, there is a church, as market place and a town hall. Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s favorite as it appears was Furnes in Flanders, a pretty business town in 1590. But again the connection to the outside is formally not considered. It appears in some example in the form of a port that implies some sort of trade.
Also new elements in the description are aspects of urban design that are mixed into the description of urban form. A nice example is Telc, which after a devastating fire the town had to be rebuilt. An unknown designer had for this reconstruction used a musical allegory. This results in a pretty facade bordering the main market space drawing mainly from its uniformity, while integrating individuality to great extent.

Image Google Earth – Telc historic centre with distinct market place

The Renaissance the emphasizes once more on the military defense structures, mainly in mainland Europe, especially Italy. Ideal structures are developed mainly with characteristically arrow wall extensions. Where as in medieval times the wall was designed to be the shortest and most efficient ways to surround the largest possible plot of land the defense strategies became much more sophisticated resulting in a very distinct urban form in the sense of a picture. These ideal towns like Palma Nova or Naarden became icons for the time with a dramatic impact on how towns are perceived. As a one of object, an artifact in itself. The idea of the city as an object remains through out the book.
In the context of how these cities have developed ever since again shows how interwoven, urban form and urban design in this approach are. Cities evolve and even if there are types of design elements are established the form evolves. Examples such as Copenhagen or Karlsruhe can illustrate these thought.

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Karlsruhe old/new)
Image from GHDI and Wikipedia Commons – Karlsruhe line drawing around 1739 and Karlsruhe today

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Image from Wikimedia Commons and Monash University – Copenhagen circa 1700 and Copenhagen today

The connection between travel pattern and morphology of the city is a topic of the research that has not been explored much yet.
A starting point could be the perception of space drawn from the UD interviews.
from UD txt – “Usually participants have quite a different perception of their spatial habits and will describe them at the beginning of the tracking as divers and spread over a large area of the city. The first few times they see the data they actually have collected, it is quite a disappointment to them to see that they follow a rather strong routine. Routine seems to be rather negative perceived and participants often would describe themselves as active, flexible and spontaneous implying a widely spread range of activities with a diverse movement pattern. To describe it they often refer to someone they think is very flexible or very inflexible just to provide for them selves an example of comparison. Routines and rhythm seem to be a not so much discussed subject but rather a topic people make a lot of assumptions.”
If individuality and flexibility, range of patterns and path are current values of our society, how would this influence and change the current development of the urban morphology? Would it be possible to conclude on current styles and designs or even the next ten years? Also retrospectively could the social values and the urban morphology be connected? Say the Victorian morphology, what would it say about the people of this times’ perception of habits and space?

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It is already one year that I am in London this month. So it is time to look back at my personal track record and see where I have been. Of course this goes in comparison with last years 365PLY – One Year Plymouth.
It is the same time span, but the amount of data has increased dramatically due to the use of the new device. Plymouth has been recorded with the Garmin Foretrex 201, whereas London has been partially collected with the Garmin Forerunner 405. The 405 records about a third more points, meaning that the data volume is at around 150’000 location points compared to only 60’000 in Plymouth.
The drawing that appears on top of the London urban fabric is my interaction with the urban fabric by finding my way. Interesting how it acts as a memory trigger. By following the line I can bring up images in my mind about what happened there.
Interesting that I have only been on the north side of the river. There are visits to the Tate Modern, Waterloo Train Station or the South Bank, but that’s about it. Already in my previous London record the pattern was very much the same. Traveling between Kentish Town and Bloomsbury. By looking at the collection and comparing it to Greater London, I haven’t exactly managed to see the whole lot. But I don’t remember my year as been boring at all.
It is more or less the same pattern that also has shown up in the UrbanDiary records, although they are recorded over the period of two month only. This longer period suggests that the emerging pattern is rather stable.
Image by UrbanTick – click on the image for full resolution version.

Just updated the map, I have to confess that I missed part of the beginning dating late 2008. Other than me probably no one would have noticed anyway, because it is really hard to spot what is what.
There are some particular interesting areas on the map. One is Regents Park and London ZOO. I have been quite often to ZSL and those visits draw like this.

Image by UrbanTick – ZoomIn London Zoo ZSL

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