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

Font Size: 
The Nine Forms of the French Riviera: Classifying Urban Fabrics from the Pedestrian Perspective.
Giovanni Fusco, Alessandro Araldi

Last modified: 15-05-2018


The Nine Forms of the French Riviera:

Classifying Urban Fabrics from the Pedestrian Perspective.

Giovanni Fusco, Alessandro Araldi

¹Université Côte-Azur, CNRS, ESPACE - Bd. Eduard Herriot 98. 06200 Nice
E-mail: giovanni.fusco@unice.fr, alessandro.araldi@unice.fr

Keywords: French Riviera, Urban Fabrics, Urban Form Recognition, Geoprocessing

Conference topics and scale: Tools of analysis in urban morphology



Recent metropolitan growth produces new kinds of urban fabric, revealing different logics in the organization of urban space, but coexisting with more traditional urban fabrics in central cities and older suburbs. Having an overall view of the spatial patterns of urban fabrics in a vast metropolitan area is paramount for understanding the emerging spatial organization of the contemporary metropolis.

The French Riviera is a polycentric metropolitan area of more than 1200 km2 structured around the old coastal cities of Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Monaco. XIX century and early XX century urban growth is now complemented by modern developments and more recent suburban areas. A large-scale analysis of urban fabrics can only be carried out through a new geoprocessing protocol, combining indicators of spatial relations within urban fabrics, geo-statistical analysis and Bayesian data-mining.

Applied to the French Riviera, nine families of urban fabrics are identified and correlated to the historical periods of their production. Central cities are thus characterized by the combination of different families of pre-modern, dense, continuous built-up fabrics, as well as by modern discontinuous forms. More interestingly, fringe-belts in Nice and Cannes, as well as the techno-park of Sophia-Antipolis, combine a spinal cord of connective artificial fabrics having sparse specialized buildings, with the already mentioned discontinuous fabrics of modern urbanism. Further forms are identified in the suburban and “rurban” spaces around central cities.

The proposed geoprocessing procedure is not intended to supersede traditional expert-base analysis of urban fabric. Rather, it should be considered as a complementary tool for large urban space analysis and as an input for studying urban form relation to socioeconomic phenomena.



Conzen, M.R.G (1960) Alnwick, Northumberland : A Study in Town-Planning Analysis. (London, George Philip).

Conzen, M.P. (2009) “How cities internalize their former urban fringe. A cross-cultural comparison”. Urban Morphology, 13, 29-54.

Graff, P. (2014) Une ville d’exception. Nice, dans l'effervescence du 20° siècle. (Serre, Nice).

Yamada I., Thill J.C. (2010) “Local indicators of network-constrained clusters in spatial patterns represented by a link attribute.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 100(2), 269-285.

Levy, A. (1999) “Urban morphology and the problem of modern urban fabric : some questions for research”, Urban Morphology, 3(2), 79-85.

Okabe, A. Sugihara, K. (2012) Spatial Analysis along Networks: Statistical and Computational Methods. (John Wiley and sons, UK).

Full Text: PDF