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

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Building a timeline, developing a narrative: visualising fringe belt formation alongside street network development
Ilaria Geddes, Nadia Charalambous

Last modified: 14-05-2018


This project was developed as an attempt to assess the relationship between different morphogenetic processes, in particular, those of fringe belt formation as described by M.R.G. Conzen (1960) and Whitehand (2001), and of centrality and compactness as described by Hillier (1999; 2002). Different approaches’ focus on different elements of the city has made it difficult to establish exactly how these processes interact or whether they are simply different facets of development reflecting wider socio-economic factors. To address this issue, a visual, chronological timeline of Limassol’s development was constructed along with a narrative of the socio-economic context of its development.  The complexity of cities, however, makes static visualisations across time difficult to read and assess alongside textual narratives. We therefore took the step of developing an animation of land use and configurational analyses of Limassol, in order bring to life the diachronic analysis of the city and shed light on its generative mechanisms. The video presented here shows that the relationship between the processes mentioned above is much stronger and more complex than previously thought. The related paper explores in more detail the links between fringe belt formation as a cyclical process of peripheral development and centrality as a recurring process of minimisation of gains in distance. The project’s outcomes clearly show that composite methods of visualisations are an analytical opportunity still little exploited within urban morphology.


Conzen, M.R.G., 1960. Alnwick, Northumberland: A Study in Town-Plan Analysis, London: Institute of British Geographers.

Hillier, B., 2002. A Theory of the City as Object: or how spatial laws mediate the social construction of urban space. Urban Des Int, 7(3–4), pp.153–179.

Hillier, B., 1999. Centrality as a process: accounting for attraction inequalities in deformed grids. Urban Des Int, 4(3–4), pp.107–127.

Whitehand, J.W.R., 2001. British urban morphology: the Conzenian tradition. Urban Morphology, 5(2), pp.103–109.

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