Conzenian urban morphology and the character areas of planners and residents

AJ Birkhamshaw, Jeremy Whitehand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the fundamental importance of the physical form of urban areas to environmental awareness and in planning, the interrelationship between the character areas recognized by researchers and those recognized by planners and the general public remains little investigated. Comparison of the maps of character areas produced by researchers, the local planning authority, and local residents in part of Stratford-upon- Avon, England reveals significant differences. A map produced by the local authority after public consultation and maps drawn by individual residents tend to emphasize through roads as boundaries between character areas. This is so even when the landscapes on either side of those roads are very similar. In areas with a long history, the character areas delimited by planners lack the precision of those delimited by researchers using the Conzenian method. More generally, inconsistencies between the mappings of character areas reflect the weak assimilation into planning practice of relevant urban morphological research. URBAN DESIGN International (2012) 17, 4-17. doi: 10.1057/udi.2011.22; published online 11 January 2012
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-17
Number of pages14
JournalUrban Design International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • residents' perceptions
  • urban landscapes
  • conservation area
  • ground plan
  • local planning


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