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

Font Size: 
Recovering the Habitat concept within Urban Morphology
Teresa Marat-Mendes, Maria Amélia Cabrita

Last modified: 15-05-2018


The purpose of this paper is to provide an opportunity to explore the Habitat debate within ISUF. We quest that within this concept, as placed by Moudon (1997) in her inaugural paper to Urban Morphology, there is an intrinsic call towards an equilibrium between the various dimensions of urban form and a trans-disciplinary approach to the study of urban form, which deserves further investigation.

According to Whitehand (2012) specific constrains affected the full concretization of such trans-disciplinary efforts, namely the further specialization of the disciplinary areas. Moreover, as argued by Marat-Mendes (2016), the focus placed by urban morphology on the physical dimensions of urban form has been significantly higher than on the social or human dimensions of the urban form, thus affecting in turn the above-identified equilibrium.

In order to contribute to such debate, this paper presents the results of an ongoing investigation (Marat-Mendes, Cabrita, 2015), which seeks to recuperate the concept of Habitat within urban morphology. To do that, it first identifies the concept of Habitat as it was first defined in a number of seminal works to urban morphology (Demangeon, 1926). Secondly, it exposes how did such concept evolved throughout specific historical, disciplinary and methodological contexts (Deyong, 2011). And thirdly, it reveals the impact that such evolution had on the various problematics and scales of approach by those to which the Habitat issue was central for the study of urban from, including some contemporary contributions from various interdisciplinary areas, which seem to be recuperating that concept, although not explicitly.



Demangeon, A. (1926) ‘Un Questionnaire sur L’Habitat Rural, Annales de Géographie 35 (196), 289-292.

Deyong, S. (2011) ‘Planetary habitat: the origins of a phantom movement’ The Journal of Architecture 6 (2), 113-128.

Moudon, A. V. (1997) ‘The need for a Habitat Agenda within Urban Morphology’ Urban Morphology 1 3-10.

Marat-Mendes, T. (2016) ‘Physical, social and cultural dimensions of Urban Morphology: redressing the balance?’ Urban Morphology 20 (2)167-168.

Marat-Mendes, T., Cabrita, M. A. (2015) ‘A Morfologia Urbana na Arquitectura em Portugal. Notas sobre uma abordagem tipo-morfológica’, in Oliveira et al. (eds.) O estudo da forma urbana em Portugal (UPorto, Porto) 65-94.

Whitehand, J. W. R. (2012) ‘Issues in Urban Morphology’ Urban Morphology 16 (1), 55-65.

Full Text: PDF