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

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The morphological approach in the reading of the Territorial City
Maria Gagliardi

Last modified: 14-05-2018


The morphological approach in the reading of the Territorial City

Maria Gagliardi

Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona, UPC. Av. Diagonal, 649. 08028 Barcelona
E-mail: bissolati27@hotmail.it

Keywords (3-5): Territorial city, territorial grid, accumulation process, relief of innovative elements.

Conference topics and scale: City transformations



The crisis of the traditional city, with its morphological characteristics, has been largely debated. The new urban phenomenon has almost always been described as antithetical; by contrary this article interrogates the possibility of reading a continuity between the traditional and the contemporary city.

The article brings forth the concept that the territory can be described as an urban phenomenon result of a change of scale of the city, and offers the definition of the contemporary city as Territorial City (Città-Territorio). The article recovers this term introduced in the 70’s by the Italian morphological school, to emphasize the continuity with the European traditional morphological schools, taking advantage of its learnings, to compare the traditional city, with the contemporary city.

The relevance of a morphological approach in the study of the contemporary Territorial City is discussed through an excursus of the main European schools’ contributions, with a particular schematization due to geographical areas. From the synthesis of these references emerges a basis for the definition of a Taxonomy organised around tree main elements that constitute the urban grid.

Moreover, the article proposes a methodology for the analysis of the Territorial City that use the Taxonomy as reading tool; this method, illustrated through his experimentation on the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona, is of particular relevance towards the interpretation of the dynamics that have characterised the morphology of the current urban phenomenon, describing its aggregation logics and decomposing the historical-procedural continuum.




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Hillier, B., & Hanson, J. (1984). The Social logic of space. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Gagliardi, M. (2016). La Nuova Trama Territoriale: morfogenesi e logiche aggregative. Il caso di Barcellona (settore della Regione Metropolitana tra Sant Martì e Matarò). (Doctoral dissertation) Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya - La Sapienza Università di Roma. Dir. Font Arellano, A.; Bianchi, G.


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