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Order and structure in urban space: A morphological history of the city of London

Hanson, JM; (1990) Order and structure in urban space: A morphological history of the city of London. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis has its origin in three general and three specific issues for the design of architectural and urban space. The first generalltuestion is about the interplay of structure and order in design, which in turn raises questions about the visual and functional properties of built form. The second is about the relationship between history and morphlogy, and the part that concepts like 'continuity' and 'conservation' might mean in respect of both history and morphology in relation to the urban grid. The third general question addresses the issue of the kinds of relation that space might in principle have to society. The three issues which are specific to the City of London take the form of assumptions by the majority of authors writing on the subject. The first is that the urban grid of the City is of great antiquity, of Saxon or mediaeval origin. The second is that the City is an outstanding example of a town which has grown up organically, and hence the shape and form of the urban grid is unplanned. The final assumption is that the urban grid somehow corresponds to social groupings, in that the city is a collection of 'natural neighbourhoods'. In order to disentangle these specific and general issues, the urban grid the City of London, is described and characterised. The argument is advanced that the City has a sub-area structure which is historically generated, but whose morphological combination is fine-tuned and adjusted so that the whole comes to dominate the - parts. It is suggested that the street pattern constructs an intelligible movement interface between inhabitants locally and strangers passing through, so that all may take advantage of the statistical distribution of people which is brought about by the configuration of the urban grid. Changes in the interface relate to changes in social solidarity., particularly to those which are a function of the organisation of trade within the City over time.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Order and structure in urban space: A morphological history of the city of London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123293
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