The forthcoming ISUF conference in Lodz and Krakow has a true symbolic meaning. After two virtual conferences, in Salt Lake City and Glasgow, which have been an organizational challenge for Brenda Case Scheer’s and Sergio Porta’s teams as well as a resilience test for our community of urban morphologists, the International Seminar on Urban Form will return to its in-person format later this year. Despite the high uncertainty, related not only to the two-years break of face-to-face events but also to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a strong excitement among the ISUF community around the 2022 conference. Over the last months, the team coordinated by Anna Agata Kantarek, Małgorzata Hanzl, Tomasz Figlus and Łukasz Musiaka has been working hard to offer urban morphologists travelling to Poland a memorable return to in-person conferences (while still including some online sessions). The Lodz and Krakow event will take place in a geographical and cultural context that is relatively unknown for ISUF as an institution – Eastern Europe. Certainly, the cultural, political, and social specificities of these two Polish cities are well expressed in the different elements of their urban forms, making them attractive objects to visit and study. But the continuous geographical widening of our community is visible in other aspects of our activities. One examples the last number of the journal ‘Urban Morphology’ (26.1), where in a total of five papers, two are focused on China, one on Iran (suggesting the eventual formation of a new regional network), and a fourth paper has a focus on Poland and Serbia (the country which will host ISUF 2023).
In addition to ISUF2022, organized by the Polish Network of Urban Morphology, four Regional Networks – the Cypriot, Italian, Hispanic and Portuguese-language – are organizing their own conferences in 2022, expressing the strong vitality of these groups that today play a key role in the promotion of the study of urban form, processes, and agents of change.
One key expression of the Regional Networks’ collaboration was the realization of the first International Summer School of Urban Morphology (ISSUM) that took place in June 2022, in Rome. The nine-days event, notably coordinated by Giuseppe Strappa, gathered several experts in urban morphology and a selected set of fifteen students coming from ten countries (including one African student founded by an ISUF grant).ISSUM followed an overall structure of organization where mornings have been devoted to lectures on different aspects of urban morphology and the process typological approach, and afternoons have been dedicated to exercises, reading the fascinating and complex urban landscape of the Italian capital. In the few days I have been in Rome, I was able to confirmthe construction of a school of excellency, involving a group of highly motivated teachers and students.It is hoped that this Rome ‘experiment’ can be repeated in the next years in different cities of the Regional Networks.
The excellency of education of the next generation of urban morphologists is also at the centre of another event promoted by ISUF in 2022 – the J. W. R. Whitehand Prize for the Best PhD Thesis in Urban Morphology. The evaluation of the different theses is based on the work’s innovation, quality, and rigour. These are three of the central characteristics of Whitehand’s own work in the study of urban form, and in his deep and enduring influence on so many researchers around the world, including myself.
At the time of writing this report, a jury constituted by Susan Whitehand (president), Tolga Unlu and Marco Maretto is carrying out the difficult task of assessing the submitted proposals. A second ISUF tribute to Jeremy Whitehand will take place in the first day of the Lodz and Krakow conference, in a session devoted to his influential work, exploring how his main ideas are being developed by a new generation of urban morphologists. One year has passed since the sudden death of Jeremy Whitehand.
The weight of our loss is expressed in the first sentence of Peter Larkham’s last editorial: ‘Urban morphology as a discipline will have to change in the post-Whitehand era’ (Larkham, 2022). As Larkham reminds us, this change in morphological research must encompass a wider range of contents (the main societal challenges), landscapes (including the peri-urban and rural forms) and scales (where the scales of the city-region and territory are more present), and also a stronger collaboration between different approaches to offer research results that can have an influence in shaping our future landscapes.
ISUF’s governing roles are also changing. After the change of President and Secretary-General in 2021, this year is time for a change in a third key role, the Treasurer. ISUF has an enormous debt of gratitude to Michael Barke. In addition to his notable contribution to the development of the historico- geographical approach and the concept of fringe belt, over the last 15 years Barke has been assuring the financial health of ISUF – a time-consuming task, vital for an organization with limited resources like ours. Barke’s long term service and commitment to ISUF is only comparable to that of Whitehand, Larkham and Kropf in the establishment and development of ‘Urban Morphology’. While free of his financial responsibilities, I hope I can continue to benefit from Barke’s wise advice until the end of my mandate. Heather Barrett (who, in the past, has made important contributions to the concept of morphological region) will be the new treasurer after the Lodz and Krakow conference.
Over the last months, the topics of teaching urban morphology and the relation between scientific research and professional practice have been deserving the attention of some of our members.Progresses are being made and these should be able to frame our future debate. Throughout this period the ISUF Internet Task Force, coordinated by Alessandro Camiz, has been particularly active. The group has developed substantial reflection on this crucial topic and has developed concrete proposals for the creation of two websites, one for ISUF (substituting the current website, managed by Richard Whitehand) and one for the journal ‘Urban Morphology’.
ISUF must lead the debate on urban morphology. We should be able to state, as rigorous as possible, what do we know about urban form – what do we know to describe and explain the physical form of past and present cities, and what do we know to support the prescription of rules for conservation and transformation, or the design of future landscapes, focusing particularly on those aspects that have more impact on socioeconomic diversity and environmental sustainability. We should also be able to state what we do not know about urban form. Accordingly, we should be able to ask the accurate questions, and to design the proper methodologies to attain the right answers.
Larkham, P. (2022) ‘The need for change in the study of urban form’, Urban Morphology25,3-4.
In the period between the Isuf conference in Glasgow in 2021 and the current one in Lodz and Krakow, the activity of the Isuf Regional Networks was quite intense, despite the well-known difficulties in organizing works involving meetings of scholars. The problems due to the pandemic have had a great influence on the work of the IRNs. But if online meetings cannot replace face-to-face gathering, however, the increase in the use of changed means of communication has also had positive aspects, enormously increasing the opportunities for exchange between the different research groups.
It should be noted that seven conferences were organized by the different networks during the period. Taken together, even for the wide range of topics addressed, they represent a significant contribution to the dissemination of studies on Urban Morphology.
I would like to summarize their titles:
The Chinese Network organized the online conference Application prospect of urban Morphology in China;
Cyprus Network organized the 2ndCyNUM regional conference: Transformation and Conservation of Urban Form in South-Eastern Mediterranean Cities;
ISUFpolska organized the III seminar ICSUS Urban Spaces. Research on the Urban Form in Poland
Hispanic Network organized online the fifth congress of the Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form(ISUF-H), at the Universidad de Costa Rica on December 1-3 2021;
ISUFitaly organized, online and face to face, the 6th ISUFitaly International Conference
held in Bologna, 8-10 June 2022, with the title: Morphology and Urban design, new strategies for a changing society;
Portuguese-language Network will meet face-to-face in November, for the 10th conference of the network, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Title: Challenges for the urban forms of the twentieth century;
Turkish Network collaborated in 2021 to organize online (with the Middle East Technical University) the
III. Symposium of Urban Morphology on the theme of Urban morphologies: multi-dimensional perspectives to the studies of urban form.
I believe these conferences are significant as they allow an increase in exchanges within the different cultural areas, which have their own specificity and characters, despite the general globalization of cultures. I would like to point out also three activities that demonstrate the vitality of local associations.
The first is the attempt, generously supported by Wendy McClure, to form the North American Urban Morphology Network. It held an initial meeting at the ISUF 2020 virtual conference to solicit interest, followed by a meeting at ISUF 2021’s, also virtual. I believe that the formation of a USA / Canada working group will give new impetus to our association.
The second is the organization of a research on the relationship between UM and professional practice within the European Kaebup project (Knowledge Alliance for Evidence-Based Urban Practices), directed by
Nadia Charalabous, in which a number of IRN members participate with local coordination roles. It seems important to me to contribute in these researches which are a concrete opportunity for exchange of knowledge and methods.
The third is the experiment of a Summer School in UM. We discussed about it in our previous meetings and the contingencies of Covid did not allow collective participation. However, the attempt we made in Rome has shown how useful this tool can be for exchanges between Regional Networks. On the agenda of the meeting on 6 September in Lodz there will also be the discussion of proposals for the continuation of this experiment.
The reports presented by the various Regional Networks are reported below:
Our specific area of interest of interest is the urban form of South-Eastern Mediterranean cities, in particular port cities. Our methodological expertise is strongest on the configurational and historico-geographical approaches, and the integration of the two.
The publication of scientific papers and the completion of PhD thesis by our members, including:
Iranmanesh, A., ZaferCömert, N. and ÖnalHoşkara, Ş. (2021). Reading urban land use through spatio-temporal and content analysis of geotagged Twitter data. In GeoJournal.
Allahmoradi, M. and ZaferCömert, N. (2021). A new complementary model of integrating historico-geographical and configurational approaches: the case of Famagusta. In Urban Morphology. Based on first author’s PhD thesis.
Özgece, N, Edgü E. and Ayiran, N. (2020). Assessing the imageability of port cities through the visibility of public spaces: the cases of Famagusta and Limassol. In Space and Culture. Based on first author’s PhD thesis.
The 2ndCyNUM regional conference: Transformation and Conservation of Urban Form in South-Eastern Mediterranean Cities, 7-9 April 2022. A report of which has been submitted separately to the regional networks’ president.
Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF-H)
During the last academic course, the Fifth congress of the Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form(ISUF-H), took place (online) at the School of Architecture of Civil Engineering, Geography and Topographic Engineering. Universidad de Costa Rica on December 1-3 2021. The team that coordinated the event was formed by teachers and researchers from the schools of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geography and Topographic Engineering of the university, and the general direction of the congress was in charge of Dr. Helga von Breymann. Its title was: “Spontaneous cities versus planned cities: different challenges, different realities”, and had nine thematic lines. . In total, 107 papers were presented by 117 speakers from 17 countries (with a presence of 76% of American countries and 24% of European, mainly Spain). The proceedings have been published and are available at the ISUF-H website(https://isufh.org/) together with those from previous congresses in Toledo (ISUF-H 2016), Zaragoza (ISUF-H 2018), Guadalajara-México (ISUF-H 2019) and Barcelona (ISUF-H 2020). The next congress will take place in Madrid on September 2022.
An article on Hispanic studies on urban form was published by the president with the title “The Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF-H). A platform for dialogue between urban planners and urban form researchers in Spanish-speaking countries. Planning Perspectives, 3. 2022. On the other hand, the ISUF-H website has been renovated and includes several resources and news, among them the presentation of the special issue of the journal Ciudad y Territorio Estudios Territoriales (CyTET) coedited by the
president and the secretary of ISUF-H with the title Forma Urbana y Desarrollo Sostenible (Urban Form and Sustainable Development), available on line.
Specificities of Italian working party inside the general Isuf international work are: the close link between research and design; the notion of process as operating history.
In 2022 Isufitaly carried out some activities concerning these themes. In addition to the usual teaching and conference organization work, the main activities were:
6th ISUFitaly International Conference held in Bologna, 8-10 June 2022 with the title: Morphology and Urban design, new strategies for a changing society. The topic was the rapid changes that contemporary societies are facing, radically transforming the perception and the structures of our cities. The parallel sessions main themes were: communities and governance, new methods and technologies for the urban analysis , reading the changing urban form, designing a sustainable urban form. Conference Chairs: Marco Maretto, Nicola Marzot, Annarita Ferrante
The International Summer School on Urban Morphology (ISSUM) held in Rome 20/28 June organized by ISUFitaly and Kaebup, international research group having the goal to create a bridge between
research on urban form and design practice. ISSUM has been an experiment intended to provide a centre of excellence in urban form knowledge through multiple exchange and involvement of students, academic, professionals, in learning, research and design. We hope that the experiment, which has been very successful, will be repeated by other local networks. Isufitaly is available to collaborate and provide its experience. Director: Giuseppe Strappa, Organizing team: Anna Rita Donatella Amato, Alessandra Pusceddu, Nicola Scardigno.
Two important issues of the U + D journal have been published (15 and 16) intended to review the current situation of UM research in Italy, particularly in relation to urban and architectural design. The central goal of those issues was also to experiment new forms of collaboration with the authors. We tried to involve designers and scholars interested, in the planning of the issues.
ISUFPolska – organization of III ICSUS Krakowskie Seminarium o Przestrzeniach Urbanistycznych. Badania Nad Formą Urbanistyczną w Polsce. Tradycja i Współczesność. (IIIrd Krakow Seminar on Urban Form. Polish research on urban form. Tradition and Contemporaneity, on-line, 26.11.2021)
ISUF 2022 Lodz, Krakow, organization of the XXIX Conference of ISUF
Cooperation with Section of Urbanism of Committee of Architecture and Urbanism of Polish Academy of Sciences
Teaching (examples): • A. A. Kantarek Urban form and Urban Morphology Seminar for PhD students (in Polish) Doctoral School, Cracow University of Technology https://www.pk.edu.pl/images/szkola_doktorska/pliki/sdpkwykaz_przedmiotow_modulowych- architektura_i_urbanistyka-200609.pdf • M. Hanzl Lectures on City Architecture and Morphology – 5th semester of the BArch (in Polish) course in Institute of Architecture and Town Planning Lodz University of Technology https://programy.p.lodz.pl/ectslabelweb/przedmiot_4.jsp?l=en&idPrzedmiotu=174919&pkId=1661&s=5&j= 0&w=Architecture& v=4
Scientific works (examples):
M. Hanzl Jewish Culture and Urban Form. A Case Study of Central Poland before the Holocaust, Routledge, 2022 • A. A. Kantarek, K. Kwiatkowski, W. Korbel, V. Djokić, A. Djordjević, A. Niković and I. Samuels Mapping post-socialist changes in urban tissues: a comparative study of Belgrade and Krakow, Urban Morphology Journal, 2022 vol. 26.1 • Musiaka Ł., Nalej M., 2021, Application of GIS Tools in the Measurement Analysis of Urban Spatial Layouts Using the Square Grid Method. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10, 558. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10080558 • Musiaka Ł., Sudra P., Spórna T., 2021, Spatial Chaos as a Result of War Damage and Post-War Transformations. Example of the Small Town of Węgorzewo, Land 10 (5), 541, https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050541 • Musiaka Ł., Habrel M., Habrel M., Kosmiy M., 2021, Non-material considerations and uniqueness in the planning of the development of urban space. Example of Lviv, European Spatial Research and Policy, 8 309-335, DOI: 10.18778/1231-19184.108.40.206 • Musiaka Ł., Figlus T., Szmytkie R., 2021, Models of morphological transformations of centres of the largest
Polish cities after World War II, European Planning Studies, 29:3, 511-535, DOI:10.1080/09654313.2020.1744529
North American Urban Morphology Network (NAUMN)
(Network being formed)
The North American Urban Morphology Network held an initial meeting at the ISUF 2020 virtual conference to solicit interest. At a follow up meeting at ISUF 2021’s virtual conference, participants enthusiastically agreed about the importance of setting up a network to include interested scholars and practitioners in Canada and the United States.
Goal 1: Develop resource directory
It was decided that creating a resource directory of North American scholars and practitioners with interests in urban morphology would be an appropriate first step to strengthen networking opportunities. Professor Emeritus Wendy McClure and Professor Xiao Hi of the University of Idaho have developed a draft questionnaire for distribution as a first step toward that goal. They plan to refine and distribute it during the fall of 2022. An appropriate host site needs to be identified to post the directory once it is completed.
Goal 2: Hold an in-person NAUMN meeting (or possibly virtual)
Some participants expressed in holding an in-person meeting to set up bylaws and strategic plan and elect leadership. However, we have yet to identify an appropriate host site/university and someone to take the lead as meeting organizer. Additionally,domestic travel is expensive for most and has been hampered by closure of the US/Canadian border during much of 2021 and 2022
Wendy McClure, Professor Emeritus of Architecture University of Idaho (ISUF President 2017-2021)
Portuguese-language Network of Urban Morphology (PNUM)
Throughout the year of 2022, PNUM is having its second set of online presentations. This year, PNUM online is devoted to the relation between scientific research and professional practice, bringing together presentations by researchers (both senior researchers and PhD students) and practitioners (planners and architects, acting at local authorities and in private companies).All presentations are available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6_Uoy2KPaXJXnWwix9qpKA.
The Revista de Morfologia Urbana / RMU (https://revistademorfologiaurbana.org/) is now publishing its volume 10, number 2, in continuous flow. RMU is now edited by Renato Rego, Gislaine Beloto e Karin Meneguetti (Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil). The new editorial team has recovered an initiative from RMU early years translating some of the most influential papers published in the journal Urban Morphology.
In the end of the year, in November 29,the community of Portuguese-language urban morphologists will meet face-to-face for the 10th conference of the network, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.‘Challenges for the urban forms of the twentieth century’, coordinated by Vera Tângari, has attracted about 250 submissions.More information on the conference is available at https://pnum2022rj.wixsite.com/.
In previous year, activities of Serbian Network of Urban Morphology (SNUM) can be elaborated on three levels:
Research: Publishing research on (a) Mapping post-socialist changes in urban tissues: a comparative study of Belgrade and Krakow in URBAN MORPHOLOGY vol 26 (authors: Kantarek A., Kwiatkowski K., Korbel W., Djokic V., Djordjevic A., Nikovic A., Samuels I.), (b) reports on Urban patterns, Morphogenesis study and Space syntax within the book STATEMENTS: Teaching through Design for Sustainability of the Built Environment and Heritage Awareness as a part of HERSUS project(editors: Djokić et all.) and (c) Urban morphology: practicum at University of Belgrade-Faculty of Architecture, Presenting research at ISUF 2021 conference on (a) Heritage Awareness and Sustainability of Built Environment in Architectural and Urban Design Education: Between best practices and real conditions and (b) Urban Morphology and Urban Design Competitions in Serbia: Between Substantial and Procedural Aspects.
Professional engagement and networking: Taking part in Scientific Committees at international conferences (a) Urban Redevelopment and Revitalisation. A Multidisciplinary Perspective– ISUF 2022,
Lodz-Krakow, and (b) Pandemics and Urban Form– PUF2022, INTBAU
Design and development: Accepted proposal for the organization of ISUF 2023 Annual Conference, and SNUM continued preparation and organization of activities.
Social Media Accounts: Instagram: tnum_tr, Twitter: tnum_tr, Key activities throughout the year of 2022;
TNUM had a set of online presentations. This year, under the name of MorphoTalks-TNUM online presentations, are devoted to the relation between scientific research and professional practice,
bringing together presentations by researchers (both senior researchers and PhD students) and practitioners (planners and architects, acting at local authorities and in private companies). V. Oliverio “Different Perspectives on the Research-Practice Gap” and M. Akay “Algorithmic design control for plot-based urbanism: a model proposal in Turkish spatial planning context“ were presented. All presentations are available on TNUM Youtube Page via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/ channel/UCORken0Xl5HSCkF4eleqjYQ/ featured
Publication of the proceedings (April 2022) of the III. Symposium of Urban Morphology, which was organized online by Middle East Technical University at 3‒5 May 2021, co-chaired by C. Bilsel and O. Çalışkan on behalf of the Turkish Network of Urban Morphology (TNUM) With the participation of 135 researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, 69 papers were presented. The theme of the symposium, ‘Urban morphologies: multi-dimensional perspectives to the studies of urban form,’ suggests a comprehensive overview of the current state-of-the-art in the Turkish School of Urban Morphology. Keynote lectures were given by P. Larkham, G. Strappa, A.S. Kubat and T. Ünlü , elaborating the overall theme in relation to the changing conceptions reflecting on different typological and problematic urban contexts. https:// kentselmorfolojisempozyumu2021 .wordpress.com/
Marmara Urban Forum (MARUF) (www.marmaraurbanforum.org) is a biennial international urban forum organized with the motto of ‘Cities developing solutions’ by Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), whose center is in Istanbul. MARUF was organized for the second time in 2021 as a virtual event. Under the title of “Re-think, co-act” and supported by UN-Habitat, MARUF hosted more than 500 speakers from 52 countries and was followed by more than 8000 viewers.
In a special session entitled ‘Cities: resolved ‒ urban morphology for better planning and architectural practices’, urban morphology as an approach and its offers for the production of space were discussed with the contributions of academicians and experts working on national and international scales. The study areas and techniques of urban morphology were scrutinized by the presentations of A. S. Kubat, K. Kropf, and V. Oliveira,. After each presentation T. Ünlü, and O. Çalışkan, made an evaluation. The session that was moderated by E. K. Çalışkan, can be downloaded from the following link: mbbkulturyayinlari.com/raporlar/maruf21-report/
Looking forward to meeting you on 6 September, I send you my best regards
Giuseppe Strappa (Isuf Regional Networks Coordinator)