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Thesis topic proposal
 
Kornélia Kissfazekas
Morphologic analysis of historical settlements, connections of urban morphology and sustainability

THESIS TOPIC PROPOSAL

Institute: Budapest University of Technology and Economics
architecture
Pál Csonka Doctoral School of Architecture

Thesis supervisor: Kornélia Kissfazekas
Location of studies (in Hungarian): Department of Urban Plannincs and Design
Abbreviation of location of studies: BME


Description of the research topic:

The main line of research is the analysis of traditional urban fabric patterns, typical settlement and construction structure types, comparing their unique characteristics, universal elements and major changes, with special emphasis on questions of sustainability and liveability. Sustainability is one of the most important and diverse of research topics within the scope of urbanism. Historical cities offer a substantially different quality of housing than modern quarters being constructed or transformed according to the new paths in urban development and dynamic architectural trends. Numerous documents and agendas on urban sustainability agree that it is of key importance that the abstract goals of social, environmental and economic sustainability should be implemented on a municipal level and that these goals should be translated into practical tasks which cannot be identical in all cases, as they also include several elements specific to each location, These include the inherited historical
features of settlements, the locally provided level of liveability and way of living, as well as connections between local customs and social structure. To what extent do spatial frameworks, historical spatial structures, networks of public spaces and architectural patterns determine possibilities, where and how can these cities satisfy the current conditions of sustainability and liveability? What part of the morphological, structural heritage of historical settlement types can be preserved and included in the urban context of the future? How different are ideas, values and demands connected to sustainability in different parts of the world?
These are just a few of the potential research questions. The goal is not to scrutinise the development history of a single city, but to analyse the spatial and temporal context of historic events, regional connections and relations and processes within the settlement network, as well as their urban morphologic impact and to understand how these processes are affecting current conditions. The topic is not exclusively theoretical and historycentred, it is suitable for a more typological approach as well (analysis of historical urban structure, constructions, architectural situations, urban patterns), and, depending on the personal orientation of the researcher, it can also provide a basis for forecasting future territorial/spatial events, and drafting urban development scenarios.

Significant bibliography:
- Oliveira, V.: (2016) Urban Morphology/An Introduction to the Study of the Physical Form of Cities; Springer
- Conzen, M. R. G.; Conzen M. P. szövegei pl. Thinking about Urban Form: Papers on Urban Morphology, 1932-1998; (2004) Peter Lang AG, European Academic Publishers, Bern,
- Kropf, K. (2016): The Handbook of Urban Morphology, John Wiley & Sons, Limited,
- Larkham P.J, Conzen M. P. (2014): Shapers of Urban Form: Explorations in Morphological Agency; Routledge, Taylor & Francis
- Bramley, G: (2009) Urban form and social sustainability: the role of denstity and housing type In: Environment and Planning/ Planning and Design. 36, pp. 30-48
- Panerai, Ph. Castex, J. Depaule, J.Ch; (2001) Formes urbaines – de l’îlot à la barre. Edition Parenthèses, Marseille
- Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm
- Urban Sustainability Framework (2018) - http://documents.worldbank.org
- https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/futurewewant.html;
- Resilient People Resilient Planet/A Future Worth Choosing https://en.unesco.org/system/files/GSP_Report_web_final.pdf
- http://habitat3.org/the-new-urban-agenda/
- https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/urban-agenda

Significant periodicals:
- Urban Morphology (International Seminar on Urban Form) Scopus
- International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development WoS
- Journal of Urban History (SAGE) Scopus, Impact Factor
- CITIES Scopus, Impact Factor
- A+U (Architektura and Urbanizmus) Scopus, WoS
- JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM Scopus
- Építés- Építészettudomány (MTA) Scopus
- Történelmi szemle (MTA) Scopus
- Urbs (Magyar Történeti Társaság) Scopus
- Tér és Társadalom (MTA KRTK)
- Periodica Politechnica Architecture (BME)

Description of topic:
Today’s young generation of researchers in the field of urbanism are mainly interested in contemporary processes, and especially in international and metropolitan phenomena. However, to understand and forecast these, processes of the past need to be recognised. The research topic is intended to focus on the (changing and stable) spatial characteristics of settlements as a link between their past and present (and perhaps future), with special emphasis on questions of sustainability and liveability. One of the main lines of research is the analysis of traditional urban fabric patterns, typical
settlement structure types and characters, comparing their unique characteristics, universal elements and major changes – in either a local/regional/national or international context,
depending of the specific topic. Available urban monographs offer thorough analyses on individual cities, but these generally have a historical and object-oriented approach, lacking complex comparative analysis. The goal is not to scrutinise the development history of a single city, but to analyse the spatial and temporal context of historic events, regional connections and relations and processes within the settlement network, as well as their urban morphologic impact and to understand how these processes are affecting current conditions. Urban morphology is a research topic undergoing dynamic development internationally, and there is an exceptionally widespread interest in methodology. This is shown by the high attendance of conferences on the topic, where hundreds of young researchers offer insight into their local, regional and national morphologic peculiarities of historic urban development. Depending on the personal orientation of the researcher, the topic can provide a basis for forecasting future territorial/spatial events, drafting urban development scenarios. Therefore, the topic is not necessarily theoretical, historical and it is not a „dead science”, as it is of utmost importance in urban design, and especially in large-scale planning of contiguous urban areas, to avoid formalism and theory-based decision-making and implement policies based on knowledge on the liveability, viability and sustainability of morphological patterns. The topic of urban sustainability and liveability – the other main element of the research topic – is incredibly wide and immensely current. The necessity of sustainable development is in many fields of research not only a central idea of discussion, but also a mandatory rhetorical element. Concepts related to sustainability have slowly become cliché. However, those dedicated to the topic find it unquestionable that many essential ideas are linked to this topic even beyond its originally declared „three pillars” – economic, social and environmental/ecological –, sometimes independently, and sometimes adding further nuances to the aforementioned fields. From an architectural/urban design point of view, one of the most important of these topics is the relationship between urban sustainability and the spatial framework of liveability, the viability of historic examples and patterns, the interaction
between urban morphology and sustainability concerns and the understanding and analysis of continental differences originating from different cultural backgrounds. With the widespread adoption of the controversial idea of compact cities, the interconnectedness of urban morphology and sustainability is now considered obvious. However, questions like the exact extent of this connection and its measurability – beyond direct methods like density – still hold many secrets worthy of investigation.


Deadline for application: 2022-03-31

 
All rights reserved © 2007, Hungarian Doctoral Council. Doctoral Council registration number at commissioner for data protection: 02003/0001. Program version: 2.2358 ( 2017. X. 31. )