1.74 - Towards a quantitative approach to Morphological Regions in GIS

Project Description

This Ph.D. research addresses the theme of a quantitative approach to the method of morphological regionalization based on the typological descriptions of urban form components. We present our methodology and provide a review of the relevant literature within the research framework. The proposed study is structured in four main phases: review, operationalisation, application/validation and exploration. The review phase addresses the literature review focused on the identification of the underlying premises of the concept and method of morphological regionalisation within the Conzenian framework. Central to the method developed in traditional studies, is the understanding of the historico-geographical structure of the urban landscape: the existence of unitary areas which comprise an individualized combination of the three basic form complexes – namely the town plan, the building fabric and the land and building utilization — delimited by their degree of internal morphological similarity. Following such key premises, in operationalisation phase we propose to address the method of morphological regionalisation from a quantitative perspective, based on typological descriptions of urban form components derived by algorithmic means. We argue that its qualitative procedures can be translated into quantitative and objective parameters, through multi-variable geometric descriptions of urban form in GIS and through statistical clustering techniques. We attempt to contribute to the construction of a more robust method of morphological regionalisation, supported by a systematic and quantitative approach, applicable to large-scale comparative analysis of contemporary urban forms, which often elude previous historical typologies. In application and validation phase, we aim to test the developed algorithm in four case studies and ascertaining its validity. At last, the exploration phase, it is investigated the use of the algorithm informative basis to the decision-making process in planning practice, urban management, and the possibility of delivering empirical base to urban conservation guidance through the quantitative descriptions of urban landscape.

Research Team
  • Mariana Diniz
  • Vitor Manuel Araújo de Oliveira (supervisor) 
  • Miguel Luís Lage Alvim Serra (co-supervisor) 
Financial Support
  • FCT: UI/BD/151237/2021
Stage of Progress
  • Started in 2021