ISUF constitution (PDF)

Reports from meetings and the President

Reports from the President of ISUF as well as from ISUF Council and general meetings are published in the journal.

About ISUF

ISUF was created to rectify the lack of a common forum for researchers and practitioners concerned with urban form. In the early decades after the Second World War urban research expanded greatly. It did so within a wide range of disciplines and specialisms – architecture, archaeology, geography, history, planning, urban design, spatial analysis, space syntax and heritage studies – to name a few. But research and interest groups tended to function in isolation from one another. The problem was made worse by language barriers.

ISUF’s aim is the international and interdisciplinary sharing of ideas, methods and findings concerned with urban form. Beginning in 1994 with the coming together of some 20 architects, geographers, planners and historians, representing four different language areas, it now has some 600 individual and institutional members from about 50 countries.

Below you can read more about:


The organization and staff

The activities of ISUF are governed by its Council, composed of Officers and elected members, which meets once a year to review the association's business. These meetings coincide with annual conferences, alternating between large one year and small the next, during which a general meeting is held that brings Councillors, Officers, and members together to discuss the interests, projects, developments, and direction of the field and the association, and to elect new Councillors as vacancies arise. The general activities of the association are coordinated by its Secretary-General, its Treasurer, and its Webmaster. The publication of the association's journal is in the hands of an Editor, two Associate Editors, two Assistant Editors, an Editorial Assistant and an Editorial Board. Special projects are coordinated by the chairs and secretaries of various Commissions and Working Parties. All administrative positions in the organization are honorary and unpaid.

All members are encouraged to participate in the governance of the association, through attendance at the international conferences, submission of manuscripts for possible publication in the journal, volunteering for positions of responsibility in the association, and any other suggestions they may wish to make to Council directed through the Secretary-General.

The Council comprises the President, the Secretary-General, the Treasurer, the Editor of Urban Morphology, six ordinary members and not more than three co-opted members. Please address any general queries regarding the functioning of ISUF to the Secretary-General.

President: Vítor Oliveira (2025)
Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Secretary-General: Tolga Ünlü (2025)
Çukurova University, Turkey
Treasurer: Michael Barke (2022)
University of Northumbria, UK
Editor: Peter Larkham (2023)
Birmingham City University, UK
Regional Networks Coordinator: Giuseppe Strappa (2023)
Sapienza – Università di Roma, Italy


Anna Rita Amato (2025)
Rome, Italy

Howard Davis (2023)
University of Oregon, USA

Anna Agata Kantarek (2023)
Cracow University of Technology, Poland

Teresa Marat-Mendes (2025)
Instituto Universitério de Lisboa ISCTE-IUL, Portugal

Sergio Porta (2022)
University of Strathclyde, UK

Renato Leão Rego (2023)
Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil

Feng Song (2023)
Peking University, China

Alice Viallard (2025)
Northumbria University, UK

(Dates in brackets denote ends of terms of service)



Here are a selection of articles on the history of ISUF and the study of urban form from different countries and schools. These articles were all published in Urban Morphology, the journal of the International Seminar on Urban Form.

A.V. Moudon,
Urban morphology as an emerging interdisciplinary field (1997)

History of the study of urban form in different countries (PDF documents):

A. Siksna The study of urban form in Australia (2006)
S. de A. Pereira Costa and M. C. V. Teixeira The study of urban form in Brazil (2014)
J. Gilliland and P. Gauthier The study of urban form in Canada (2006)
M. Darin The study of urban form in France (1998)
B. Hofmeister The study of urban form in Germany (2004)
P.J. Larkham The study of urban form in Great Britain (2006)
M. Abaee The study of urban form in Iran (2022)
L. Kealy and A. Simms The study of urban form in Ireland (2008)
N. Marzot The study of urban form in Italy (2002)
S. Satoh, K. Matsuura and S. Asano The study of urban form in Japan (2015)
N. Marzot, R. Cavallo and S. Komossa The study of urban form in the Netherlands (2016)
M. Koter and M. Kulesza The study of urban form in Poland (2010)
V. Oliveira, M. Barbosa and P. Pinho The study of urban form in Portugal (2011)
K.-J. Kim The study of urban form in South Korea (2012)
J. Vilagrasa Ibarz The study of urban form in Spain (1998)
A. Abarkan The study of urban form in Sweden (2009)
A.S. Kubat The study of urban form in Turkey (2010)
M.P. Conzen The study of urban form in the United States (2001)

History of the different "schools" (PDF documents):



ISUF Task Force on Research and Practice in Urban Morphology

Ivor Samuels, Urban Morphology Research Group. School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

In January 2012, the President of ISUF invited me to chair a Task Force to report on ways in which ISUF could build ‘better bridges between researchers in urban morphology and practitioners’. The Task Force would engage in ‘a discussion of ways in which ISUF could provide leadership in this sphere and draw up a report with concrete suggestions for action’.

Preliminary findings were submitted to the President and considered by the Council of ISUF at its meeting on 15 October 2012. These and additional matters relating to it that were raised during the course of the Nineteenth International Seminar on Urban Form in Delft, The Netherlands are summarized in the Intermin Report.

Manifesto (PDF)

Interim Report of the ISUF Task Force on Research and Practice in Urban Morphology (PDF)

ISUF Postgraduate Bursaries (PDF)

First bursary awarded (March 2013) (PDF)

Second bursary awarded (June 2013) (PDF)

Third bursary awarded (October 2013) (PDF)

Fourth bursary awarded (October 2013) (PDF)


International urban form study

Kwang-Joong Kim, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, 599 Gwanak-so Gwanak-gu, 151-742 Seoul, South Korea

Leading thinkers in urban morphology have long been calling for greater comparative study at the international level. This note highlights a current project that, though not a direct response to that call in that it stems from the perceived needs of a particular metropolitan authority, promises to provide valuable comparative data across an international range of 'world cities'.

In its advisory role to the City of Seoul on land use policy, the Seoul Development Institute commissioned from ISUF an investigation to enable Seoul's development pattern and density to be compared with those of other world cities of equivalent size. With some 10 million people within an area of 605 km², Seoul is one of the most heavily populated cities in the world. There has been much debate about the intensity of its city building: arguments for efficient land use have been ranged against those emphasizing the problems of overcrowding. With its fine-grained plot patterns, Seoul's building coverage appears very high. Yet it is not clear whether the city's floor-space concentration is higher than that of other world cities as Seoul has large areas of low-rise development. The 'compact city' has been touted as a promising way to achieve sustainable urban form in Western countries, but it is a questionable notion in Asian cities, where dense development has for long been sustained.

The research undertaken by ISUF involved case studies of six cities in Asia, Europe and North America: Seoul, Tokyo, London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. In formulating this project, the Seoul Development Institute was fortunate to have Anne Vernez Moudon and Jeremy Whitehand as Project Advisers, providing pivotal and timely guidance from research design through to project execution. The Principal Investigators for individual cities were Shigeru Satoh (Tokyo), Peter Larkham (London), Catherine Maumi (Paris), Paul Hess (New York), Chanam Lee (Los Angeles) and Kwang-Joong Kim (Seoul).


Revisiting Conzen’s Alnwick data

Elwin A. Koster, Instituut voor Kunst- en Architectuurgeschiedenis, Faculteit der Letteren, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Oude Boteringstraat 34, Postbus 716, 9700 AS Groningen, The Netherlands.

As interest in the work of M.R.G. Conzen has broadened (Evenden, 2004; Koster, 2001; Marzot, 2005), stimulated in part by the publication of many of his previously unpublished writings (Conzen, 2004; Samuels, 2005), so have questions arisen about his data and methods of working. Records of the field surveys that Conzen undertook in his classic study of Alnwick are held in the M.R.G. Conzen Collection in the University of Birmingham. This project explores these.


Planning for character: an urban morphological concept in planning practice

J. W. R. Whitehand and Susan M. Whitehand, Urban Morphology Research Group, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

'Planning for character' is essentially the application of the concept of 'urban landscape units' in a local plan - in this case that of Barnt Green in the English Midlands.

Like most settlements, Barnt Green is highly differentiated geographically and historically. This is reflected in its Parish Plan and will be a significant consideration in its forthcoming Neighbourhood Plan.

The differences between the various parts of Barnt Green can be expressed in terms of 'character areas'. Each of these areas has a degree of unity, though most of them contain within them distinct sub-areas. The character areas shown below have been delimited according to four principal criteria: ground plan (including site), building form, land use and vegetation. These characteristics are readily observable on the ground.

The character areas are an important consideration in assessing proposals for change. More information is available on the Barnt Green Parish website - see "Planning for Character" (PDF).