"Urban morphology is the study of the form of human settlements and the process of their formation and transformation. The study seeks to understand the spatial structure and character of a metropolitan area, city, town or village by examining the patterns of its component parts and the ownership or control and occupation. Typically, analysis of physical form focuses on street pattern, lot (or, in the UK, plot) pattern and building pattern, sometimes referred to collectively as urban grain. Analysis of specific settlements is usually undertaken using cartographic sources and the process of development is deduced from comparison of historic maps.
"Special attention is given to how the physical form of a city changes over time and to how different cities compare to each other. Another significant part of this subfield deals with the study of the social forms which are expressed in the physical layout of a city, and, conversely, how physical form produces or reproduces various social forms.
"The essence of the idea of morphology was initially expressed in the writings of the great poet and philosopher Goethe (1790). However, the term as such was first used in bioscience. Recently it is being increasingly used in geography, geology, philology and other subject areas. In geography, urban morphology as a particular field of study owes its origins to Lewis Mumford, James Vance and Sam Bass Warner. Peter Hall and Michael Batty of the UK andSerge Salat, France, are also central figures."
Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute (Paris). http://www.urbanmorphologyinstitute.org/.
Wheeler - Built Landscapes of Metropolitan Regions
Steve Wheeler is a professor in the Landscape Architecture Program of the Department of Human Ecology at U.C. Davis. Prof. Wheeler teaches courses related to urban and regional planning, urban design, and sustainable development. He is interested in how many different planning and design strategies can work together to produce more sustainable communities. His research focuses on 1) theory and practice of sustainable development; 2) climate change planning; and 3) urban morphology and the evolution of built landscapes in metropolitan regions. - from faculty page.
"The “collage city” of the postmodern metropolitan region is made up of many different types of built landscapes—neighborhood-scale patterns of streets, blocks, parcels, buildings, and infrastructure—each of which have implications for livability, sustainability, and equity. This project under the guidance of Prof. Stephen M. Wheeler has developed a global typology of 27 built landscape types and has mapped those in GIS for 24 urban regions.
"The analysis (summarized in the JAPA article below and a forthcoming book) shows that 27 basic types of built landscape make up metropolitan regions worldwide, of which 9 are very common. Traditional urban types now make up a small fraction of most metro areas worldwide, while suburban and exurban forms comprise the vast majority of the land area.
Wheeler, Stephen M. "Built Landscapes of Metropolitan Regions: An International Typology." Journal of the American Planning Association.
African urban / building forms
Kultermann, Udo. New directions in African architecture. 1969.
Labelle, Prussin. African Nomadic Architecture: Space, Place and Gender. 1997.
Google search: African traditional architecture fractal.
Google search: city patterns [image search].
Find Guardian article on Benin City.
- Badger, Emily M. "The 27 patterns that make up the world’s cities and suburbs." [on Stephen Wheeler's work]. The Atlantic, October 8, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/08/the-27-patterns-that-make-up-the-worlds-cities-and-suburbs/.
- Wheeler, Stephen M. "Built Landscapes of Metropolitan Regions: An International Typology." Journal of the American Planning Association.