Urban morphology


Urban morphology is the study of the form of human settlements and the process of their formation and transformation.Morphological studies often deal with development of forms and
pattern of the present city or other urban areas through time.

Urban morphology is the study of the physical form of a city, which consists of street patterns, building sizes and shapes, architecture, population density and patterns of residential, commercial, industrial and other uses, among other things. Special attention is given to how the physical form of a city changes over time and to how different cities compare with each other.

India exhibits a very stable settlement structure such that much of the urban growth that has occurred has been because of the accretion to existing towns and settlements and only marginally because of the emergence of new towns. As a result, the proportion of urban population residing in towns above a certain population cut-off point continues to increase, but there is little evidence of correlation between city size and rates of population growth.

In other words we can state that the development of new urban centers in India has been minimal and the urban growth has been accredited to the development of existing centers.

Prof. E. Ahmad has identified some of the components of urban morphology as site characteristics, historical background, sky-line, green open spaces, and water bodies, physical and cultural dominants.

For the Census of India 2011, the definition of urban area is as follows;

  1. All places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee, etc.
  2. All other places which satisfied the following criteria: i) A minimum population of 5,000; ii) At least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and iii) A density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km.

Urban centres of India are of 4 types:
1. Those that have grown from ancient town and villages e.g. Varansi, Madurai, Patna

  1. Those that have grown from medieval towns such as Lucknow, Delhi, Jaipur. These towns have lot of features of medieval Islamic architecture with palaces, minarates, walled city with Meena bazaars.
  2. Cities that have grown from the British administrative centres. Most of them were medieval towns or cantonment areas which retain lot of features of European Victorial architecture.
  3. During the post independence period a number of planned cities have been developed. Chandigarh, Bhuvneshwar, Gandhinagar, Dispur and Bokaro are some of the typical examples of planned cities.

City is a complex agglomeration of multiple activities – economic, social, cultural, etc. Its ‘central area’ also known as Central Business District is its distinct section which is identified as the centre of marketing, business and financial activities as well as dense built-up sector where lines of transportation converge from various parts and nearly from all direction.

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