Understanding the City: Theoretical and methodological considerations

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


There is usually a considerable lapse between theoretical advancements and their implementation in practice. From the 1960s onwards there was a clear methodological progress in the study of cities, starting with townscape and ekistics, integration urbaine, building typology and urban morphology in the 1970s, analyse urbaine in the 1980s and ‘space syntax’ in the 1990s. These were trialled on case-studies across Europe and contributed greatly to an understanding of urban conservation as a tool for dealing with the historic city as a whole rather than only with its monuments/listed buildings in isolation. At the same time, there was an impetus for the development of new legislation on a European scale that enabled an increasingly integrated way of protection of and intervention within historic cities.
These methodological and legal conditions materialised into urban conservation plans being deployed in several of Europe’s historic cities, but their implementation wasn’t without problems. Whilst the scholarly apparatus employed for the study of these historic urban areas prior to formulating proposals was indeed becoming more and more advanced and relevant to the goals of integrated urban conservation, the actual interventions resulted in a number of problematic situations, such as gentrification.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event'Back to the city - Urbanism, Density and Housing 1976-2016' - GSA, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jun 20166 Jun 2016


Conference'Back to the city - Urbanism, Density and Housing 1976-2016'
CountryUnited Kingdom

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