Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Researching the morphology of the city’s internal micro structure: UPM Urban Parterre Modelling
Angelika Psenner, Klaus Kodydek

Last modified: 15-05-2018


As conventional cadastral maps only show building perimeters, they contain no information about the city’s internal structure—about the complex interplay of architecture and its socio-economical use. Thus urban planning seems to spare little thought for what really takes place inside the buildings lining a street, although we perfectly know that the potentials of ground floor use and the structure of the correlating public street space are directly related.

The Urban Parterre Modelling UPM-method refers to the city’s “parterre” as a holistic urban system: it covers both built-up and non-built-up areas. Thus street, ground floor and courtyard are treated as entity, so that their interrelations can come to light. Technically the method represents the merging of a common 3D-city-model and a Comprehensive Ground Plan Survey CGPS—a researching technique used in the 1960s until the 1990s (mostly in Italy and Switzerland).

This new urban research method has been developed and tested in a pilot study by means of an in depth exploration of an exemplary historical street in Vienna. In September 2015 a new four years research program was financed by the Austrian Science Fund (Austria's central funding organization for basic research, FWF) and launched at the Department of Urban Design at Vienna University of Technology. Within this operational framework a variety of different street-level environments in Vienna are being examined. Given this perspective the paper is therefore addressing the following issues: How was the Viennese ground level originally used? Which urban functions were located there? What are the (historical) interrelations between public space and the life inside buildings? How does this micro system influence urban life and especially pedestrian behaviour?


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