- Street Networks: A Comparative Study of Models, Representations and Measures
Marshall S, Gil J, Kropf K, Tomko M, Figueiredo L, 'Street network studies: from networks to models and their representations'
Networks and Spatial Economics 18 (3) (2018) pp.735-749
ISSN: 1566-113X eISSN: 1572-9427AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
Over the last fifty years, research into street networks has gained prominence with a rapidly growing number of studies across disparate disciplines. These studies investigate a wide range of phenomena using a wealth of data and diverse analytical techniques. Starting within the fields of transport or infrastructure engineering, street networks have commonly been treated as sets of more or less homogeneous linear elements, connecting locations and intersecting at junctions. This view is commonly represented as a graph, which provides a common and rigorous formalisation accessible across disciplines and is particularly well-suited for problems such as flow optimisation and routing. Street networks are, however, complex objects of investigation and the way we model and then represent them as graphs has fundamental effects on the outcomes of a study. Many approaches to modelling street networks have been proposed, each lending itself to different analyses and supporting insights into diverse aspects of the urban system. Yet, this plurality and the relation between different models remains relatively obscure and unexplored. The motivations for adopting a given model of the network are also not always clear and often seem to follow disciplinary traditions. This paper provides an overview of key street network models and the prima facie merits of pertinent alternative approaches. It suggests greater attention to consistent use of terms and concepts, of graph representations and practical applications, and concludes with suggestions for possible ways forward.
Kropf K, 'Plots, property and behaviour'
Urban Morphology 22 (1) (2018) pp.5-14
ISSN: 1027-4278AbstractThere is a lack of clarity in urban morphology in the use of the terms ‘plot’ and ‘lot’. The complications arise in large part because these terms are used to refer to several things. Further ambiguities arise because the concept of property is not univocal, and the boundaries corresponding to the different meanings of plot do not necessarily coincide. An attendant problem is that distinct aspects of urban form are conflated into a single, ill-defined entity. Given theOpen Access on RADAR
significance of the plot in building typology and urban morphology, the ambiguities in its definition raise questions about the role of the plot in the generation and transformation of urban form and in particular in the central phenomenon of persistence and the differential rates of change between street pattern, plot pattern and building pattern. The aim of this paper is therefore to clarify the terms plot and lot by examining the pertinent characteristics that are used to define them and the underlying relationships and logic they entail. The resolution offered in conclusion is
that the fundamental basis for defining a plot is rooted in human behaviour and our interactions with both our environment and each other. This may then provide a fruitful basis for investigating the phenomenon of persistence in more detail.
Kropf K, 'Ambiguity in the definition of built form'
Urban Morphology 18 (1) (2014) pp.41-57
ISSN: 1027-4278AbstractPublished here
A detailed critical analysis of the definitions of built form as used in urban morphology is reported. The overarching aim of the analysis was to establish a common reference point for examination of the different aspects of urban form in a given case and comparative study of cases from different times and places. Seminal works are examined in detail, in particular those of M. R. G. Conzen, Gianfranco Caniggia and Gian Luigi Maffei. The starting point is the common conception of a hierarchical relationship between buildings, plots and streets and the overlapping of aspects and elements. Different types of ambiguity inherent in the generic structure of built form are identified. Incorporation of these into a rigorous conception of the hierarchy that allows for the richness of overlapping sets reconciles earlier conceptions and accommodates a wide range of specific forms.
Kropf, K., The Handbook of Urban Morphology, John Wiley & Sons (2017)
Kropf K, Lim R, 'Parameters for action: Urban morphology as a framework for research in the built environment' in N. Peimani, P. Aelbrecht, & H. Kamalipour (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Urban Design Research Methods, Routledge (2023)
ISBN: 9780367768058 eISBN: 9781003168621AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
Kropf K, 'The minimum unit of built form: a sketch' in A. Gerber, R. Iseli, S. Kurath, & U. Primas (ed.), The Morphology of Urban Landscapes: History, analysis, design, Dietrich Reimer Verlag (2021)
ISBN: 9783496016489 eISBN: 9783496030607AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
It is by now a truism to say that cities are complex. In our efforts to make sense of the complexity, we often look for comparisons, metaphors and analogies: the city as organism, the city as language, the city as a set of mathematical relations. It is a mark of the profound and pervasive complexity of cities that they are amendable to all three of those comparisons. Cities are alive, they speak to us and can behave in mathematical, law-like ways. Cities are the product of a living species and, like language, have emerged and co-evolved with that species. Like mathematics, cities remain the subject of active and conscious construction, investigation and creative manipulation. And yet, it is arguable that we do not understand cities to the same level of detail and nuance that we understand organic life, language and mathematics. It is also arguable that, in the face of growing urban populations and our increasingly adverse effects on the planet, we should have an equivalent level of understanding of the built environment, as a matter of urgency.
Kropf K, 'Multiple depth analysis and the urban design consequences of semi-public realms' in A. E. Toft, M. Rönn, & M. Andersson (ed.), Approaches and Methods in Architectural Research, Nordic Academic Press of Architectural Research (2021)
ISBN: 9789198379754AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
In the context of the need to accommodate increasing urban populations and densities, many emerging building types incorporate increasingly large and complex shared circulation spaces. These ‘semi-public realms’ can be found in both perimeter block and 'megastructure' types and present potential benefits but also potential problematic consequences for the combined private, semi-public and public realms. Key issues include: ambiguity of form, boundaries, use, control, and imagability. Some of the factors at the root of these issues include lack of connectivity, excessive connectivity, excessive spatial depth, lack of hierarchy and spatial differentiation in relation to depth. As the latter points suggest, a key concept that can help in understanding these issues - and contribute towards designs that avoid them - is depth. Within the field of built form studies and urban morphology, the idea of depth encompasses a number of different specific conceptions. Three of the most relevant are: configurational depth (Hillier and Hanson 1984), territorial depth (Habraken 1998) and structural depth (Conzen 1969, Caniggia and Maffei 2001, Arthur 2011, Kropf 2017). The aim of this paper is to show that these three forms of depth are not mutually exclusive but have specific complementary relationships that can be used together to undertake a coherent, 'multiple depth' analysis of built form. Using examples of contemporary buildings types with extensive semi-public realms, the paper goes on to show how such an analysis can aid in both urban design practice and urban design education.
Kropf K, 'Is There a Normative Science of the Built Environment?' in Vítor Oliveira (ed.), Morphological Research in Planning, Urban Design and Architecture, Springer (2021)
ISBN: 9783030664596 eISBN: 9783030664602AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
There has been a long-running debate within urban morphology around the ‘description-prescription’ problem. The central question is whether we can derive prescriptions for new development based on descriptions of existing and historic development. The debate is sharpened when we seek to make the descriptions provided by urban morphology more objective and scientific with the expectation that an objective, scientific description should not, in principle, be normative. This chapter continues the debate by taking up the idea of normative science as introduced by CS Peirce and extended by JJ Liszka. In brief, Peirce’s notion focuses on the relationship between human purposes and the performance of our constructions in seeking to achieve those purposes. In exploring how the idea of normative science might help build the bridge between urban morphology and planning and urban design practice, the chapter points to the importance of teaching and asks, do we necessarily operate within the realm of ethics?
Kropf K, 'Rigour and comparison in urban morphology: Through the lens of J.W.R. Whitehand' in Vitor Oliveira (ed.), J.W.R Whitehand and the historico-geographical approach to urban morphology, Springer (2018)
ISBN: 9783030006198 eISBN: 9783030006204AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
There are many reasons why we might want to deepen our understanding of urban environments, from the often quoted fact that over half the global population now lives in cities to the seemingly inexorable spread of common building types across the globe and the attendant loss of diversity. Or still, there is the spectre of moribund town centres and stagnating suburbs. The field of urban morphology has made significant contributions to our understanding of cities and has great potential to deepen it further. That contribution has been possible—and continues to be—in large part, because urban morphology provides a rigorous approach to the study of urban form. As argued in this chapter, the rigour of urban morphology derives to a significant degree from the active use of comparison as a core part of its methodology. The suggestion is that comparison is used not just in explicit ‘comparative studies’ but in a thoroughgoing way at a number of different levels. This suggestion is pursued through the lens of the work of Professor Jeremy Whitehand. Over his long career, Whitehand has made a significant contribution to the rigour of urban morphology through his clarity of language and terminology, consistent reference to testable general principles and his high standards of scholarship. In particular, the chapter will take Whitehand’s work on plan analysis, the fringe-belt and cross-cultural studies as topics to explore the different uses of comparison. The paper concludes by taking lessons from Whitehand’s work that point to ways in which urban morphology can consolidate and extend its contribution to our understanding of cities.
Kropf K, 'Interdisciplinarity and design: tools for teaching urban morphology' in Oliveira V (ed.), Teaching urban morphology, Springer (2018)
Kropf K, 'Agents and agency, learning and emergence in the built environment' in Larkham, P.J. Conzen, M.P. (ed.), Shapers of urban form: Explorations in morphological agency, Routledge (2014)
Bingöl E, Kropf K, 'A Morphological Perspective on Heritagescapes:Urla and the Change from Traditional Landscape to Global Town'
Contemporary heritagescapes can be seen as a hybrid palimpsest of traditional buildings and production facilities, the modern and postmodern structures, infrastructures and flows. But to sustain the overarching value of that palimpsest, we need to understand its genesis. The paper explores the modern heritage of the Urla urban fabric with a Jacksonian/Conzenian view of urban morphology to understand the relationships between the historical layers, the continuities and transferred values between the periods and the processes of erasure and addition in order to preserve the historical continuity of the heritagescapes of Urla.
Bingöl E, Kropf K, 'Kent Morfolojisinin Sınırlarında: M.R.G. Conzen ve J.B. Jackson Üzerinden Bir Genişleme Önerisi'
ISBN: 978-625-7327-06-0AbstractPublished here
Coğrafyacı M.R.G. Conzen (1907-2000), kentlerin, her dönemde insanların kendi değerlerini inşa ettikleri tarihsel dönemlere ait kentsel arsaları, sokak bloklarını, bina biçimlerini, kentsel arazi kullanımını kentsel örüntüsünü bir sonraki döneme süreklilik ve eklemeler ile birikerek aktardığını ve bugünün kent peyzajını oluştuğunu yazar (Conzen 1969, 3). Conzen ile aynı dönemden bir peyzaj coğrafyacısı olan J.B. Jackson (1909–1996) ise, Conzen'in "şehir peyzajı" (townscape) kavramı yerine, "peyzaj" kavramına vurgu yaparken tarım devriminden günümüze kadar Amerikan
kentlerinin kültürel peyzajlarının değişimine odaklanır. Farklı kültürel bağlamlara sahip kentlere odaklanmaları, bu kentlerin değişimini farklı dönemlerden başlayarak incelemeleri ve arka planda beslendikleri düşünce yapılarının farklılaşması sebebiyle Conzen’in ve Jackson’un kent morfolojisini tanımlama araçları (means of description) birbirinden farklılaşmaktadır. Ancak Conzen ve Jackson’ın çalışmalarının arka planında yatan morfolojiyi tanımla düzeyinde ortaya koydukları objelere (objects of description) bakıldığında, ortaklaşan ve birbirini tamamlayıcı olan birçok kavram da fark edilmektedir. Bu çalışma, kent morfolojisinin çoklu yönlerini Conzen ve Jackson’ın metinleri üzerinden bir araya getirirken, Conzen ve Jackson’ın çalışmalarının arka planında yatan morfolojiyi tanımla düzeyinde ortaya koydukları objelere (objects of description), ardından bunların mekansal yansımaları olan morfolojik araçları olan temsiliyetlerine (means of description) odaklanarak ikilinin çalışmalarını karşılaştırmaktadır. Bu yaklaşımla morfolojik araçlara ulaşıldığı taktirde kent morfolojisine kuramsal düzeyde bir yenilik sunması ve morfolojik araçların tanımlanmasında bir zenginleşme ve genişleme getireceğini önermektedir.
Cooper J, Kropf K, Oskrochi G, 'Preference and visual texture as a measure of performance: articulating the principles of biophilia'
AbstractPublished here Open Access on RADAR
There is growing evidence showing contact with nature has benefits for mental and physical health. Within the design community, evidence has been encapsulated in the concept of biophilic design. The underlying principle is that humans have evolved in nature and therefore share ' an innate love of contact with other living organisms' (Wilson 2017), there are however a number of philosophical, ethical and practical issues that arise with the application of the 'biophilic hypothesis' in urban and architectural design. This paper reports on research that expands on these issues, centred on the computational method of visual texture analysis as developed by one of the authors (Cooper). The output of the method is the generation of a numerical measure, visual texture level, drawing on fractal geometry, combined with the identification of texture types. Looking at the results of a number of investigations and applications, the paper suggests the combination of texture level and texture type can provide an effective link between people's preferences and different types of urban tissue. Applications include the identification of character areas for urban design coding and preference filtering for property search. The paper concludes by reflecting on the potential for visual texture analysis to complement and improve on traditional methods of urban morphological and tissue analysis and provide a basis for extending and articulating the principles of biophilia.
Kropf K, 'Bridging configurational and urban tissue analysis'
ISBN: 9789729899447AbstractThe paper reports on theoretical research building on the work of Steadman, Marshall andPublished here Open Access on RADAR
others that examines in detail the basis for correlating the outputs of configurational analysis
and urban tissue analysis. The aim of the research is to raise the yield of analysis when
combining configurational and typo-morphological methods. A broader, overarching aim is to
establish a bridge between the two different approaches to urban morphology that facilitates
communication and helps to develop a more comprehensive and coherent set of concepts for
understanding the structure and dynamics of the built environment.
Kropf K, 'Teaching urban form: Urban morphology as a foundation and scaffold', (2023)
Bingöl E, Kropf K, 'A Morphological Perspective on Heritagescapes: Urla and the Change from Traditional Landscape to Global Town', (2022)
Geographer J.B. Jackson saw contemporary landscapes as a “ceaseless interaction between the ephemeral, the mobile, the vernacular on the one hand, and the authority of legally established, premeditated permanent forms on the other”. Similarly, contemporary heritagescapes can be seen as a hybrid palimpsest of traditional buildings and production facilities, modern and postmodern patterns, infrastructures and flows. However, to sustain the overarching value and contribution to urban life made by this palimpsest, we need to understand its genesis. The Jacksonian view can be usefully complemented by the techniques of M.R.G. Conzen’s town plan analysis-based site, street-system, plot pattern and building pattern together with their morphogenesis. This paper adopts a combined Jacksonian/Conzenian view of the town of Urla, a small settlement on the Karaburun Peninsula in İzmir (Turkey). Taking these complementary views, the paper examines the modern heritage of the urban fabric in order to understand the relationships between the historical layers of the city, its continuities and values transferred between the periods and the processes of erasure and addition. Urla’s urban structure, rooted in agricultural land, vernacular architecture and traditional patterns, was hybridised by sequences of modifications: the modern-traditional houses built for wealthy merchants and families at the beginning of 20th century, mass housing built with modern construction techniques and materials, and recently emerging rural patterns of third party agroart-sharing communities with wider global linkages to an international community. The aim of this study is to identify the typologies making up the settlement, together with the continuities between them, in order to preserve the historical lineage of the heritagescapes of Urla. With this understanding, a further aim is to identify multi-scalar maintenance and conservation strategies directed not only towards the buildings but also towards the patterns of streets, open spaces, plots and land use.