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Regular version of the site

Computational Spatial Morphology

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
2 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


Urban morphology is often dominated by purely architectural thinking, and in the Russian context, it is primarily linked with aesthetics. Morphological study of cities is a somewhat marginal field that is currently not well connected with the planning practice. Moreover, methodological differences between various schools of urban morphology were a barrier to the integration between research and practice. Researchers from the fields of geography, urban planning and architecture have recently made a considerable effort to bring the different schools and approaches closer and to reach out to the planning practitioners by offering urban morphology as useful tools in the planning practice. The course aims to build upon these recent developments and introduce the students to different schools of urban morphology and teach them to apply quantitative tools for studying urban form. It introduces historico-geographical approach, process typological approach, space syntax and a collection of methods that do not form a particular school on their own but can be summarised as spatial analytics. The qualitative approaches are discussed briefly, while the main focus of the course is on the specific morphological measures and their connection to other disciplines, relevance to urban analytics and planning practice. During the course, the students will learn to assess the relevance of morphological measures to the research topics and planning goals, find the data for morphological analysis and apply analysis tools to study characteristics of urban form and associated effects and outcomes.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Introduce to various schools of urban morphology.
  • Introduce to quantitative urban form and accessibility analysis techniques.
  • Explain how volumetric and spatial features of urban environment can be used in urban planning.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Identifies elements of urban form and explains the relationship between them.
  • Is able to calculate volumetric and spatial features of urban environment using relevant software or programming language.
  • Is able to evaluate spatial autocorrelation of volumetric and spatial features of the urban environment.
  • Is able to list, explain and argue the importance of urban morphological approaches and measures that are appropriate to practical urban planning tasks.
  • Is able to perform graph-based accessibility calculations of urban environment.
  • Is able to perform Space Syntax analysis using relevant software.
  • Is able to train spatial regression models to evaluate and explain the relationship between urban morphological, vitality, and accessibility measures.
  • Is able to visualise and interpret the results of Space Syntax analysis.
  • Is able to visualise interpret the results of quantitative urban morphological analysis.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction and the elements of urban form
  • Urban morphology and planning
  • Introduction to Computational Urban Morphology
  • Space Syntax
  • Assessing Complexity of Urban Spatial Networks
  • Spatial Statistics for Urban Morphological Analysis
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Lab 03
  • non-blocking Lab 02
  • non-blocking Lab 01
  • non-blocking Test
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 1st module
  • 2021/2022 2nd module
    0.2 * Lab 01 + 0.3 * Lab 02 + 0.3 * Lab 03 + 0.2 * Test


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Arbia, G. (2006). Spatial Econometrics : Statistical Foundations and Applications to Regional Convergence. Berlin: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=163308
  • Arbia, G. (2014). A Primer for Spatial Econometrics : With Applications in R. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=998543
  • D’Acci, L. (Ed.), 2019. The Mathematics of Urban Morphology, Modeling and Simulation in Science, Engineering and Technology. Springer International Publishing, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12381-9
  • Hillier, B. (2007). Space is the machine: a configurational theory of architecture. United Kingdom, Europe: Space Syntax. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.F31464B2
  • Kropf, K. (2017). The Handbook of Urban Morphology. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1611815
  • Luc Anselin, Ibnu Syabri, & Youngihn Kho. (2006). GeoDa: an introduction to spatial data analysis. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.13C715BA
  • Oliveira, V. (2016). Urban Morphology : An Introduction to the Study of the Physical Form of Cities. Cham: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1203600
  • On Urban Morphology and Mathematics. (2019). Netherlands, Europe. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.E87CBE0A
  • van Nes, A. and Yamu, C., 2021. Introduction to Space Syntax in Urban Studies. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bin Jiang, & Xiaobai Yao. (2010). Geospatial Analysis and Modelling of Urban Structure and Dynamics. Springer.
  • Sun, X. (2013). Comparative Analysis of Urban Morphology: Evaluating Space Syntax and Traditional Morphological Methods. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsndl&AN=edsndl.oai.union.ndltd.org.UPSALLA1.oai.DiVA.org.hig-15492