2023 Regional Networks Annual Report

Report on ISUF Regional Networks 

13 DECEMBER 2023 

Giuseppe Strappa, Coordinator of Isuf Regional Networks 

In the period between the Isuf conference in Lodz and Krakow and the current one, the Isuf
Regional Networks have continued to develop organizing a large number of activities, local conferences, publications, lectures.
Year after year, the organization of local networks is proving to be an important resource within the Isuf structure, thanks to the interest of their directors and association members, constituting the driving force in the gap between the different annual conferences. Local conferences have been especially important in disseminating research methods developed in the region, taking into account that the different cultural areas have their own specificities and characters.
There are currently nine active local networks, of which seven are European (taking into account
that PNUM is a transcontinental Portuguese language Network). The need to extend our network to cultural areas in which there are long-established research groups on urban morphology is therefore evident, but also the necessity to disseminate our ideas in those countries where the research we deal with is still struggling to spread.
In our meetings, the low participation of African countries in our activities was often remarked and, despite various attempts, unfortunately, we still have no concrete signs of interest. The nine currently active networks are:

  • CNUM , Chinese Network of Urban Morphology
  • CyNUM, Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology
  • ISUF-H, Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF-H)
  • ISUFItaly – Italian Network of Urban Morphology
  • ISUFPolska – Polish Network of Urban Morphology
  • NNUM – Nordic Network of Urban Morphology
  • PNUM – Portuguese-language Network of Urban Morphology
  • SNUM – Serbian Network of Urban Morphology
  • TNUM – Turkish Network of Urban Morphology

A network organized by urban morphology scholars in the USA and Canada has been forming for some time, which should give rise to the NAUMN – North American Urban Morphology Network, an attempt, generously supported by Wendy McClure. The group held an initial meeting at the ISUF 2020 conference to solicit interest, followed by meeting at ISUF 2021. Organizationally NAUM is currently still at a bit of a stand.

More recently, with President Vitor Oliveira, we have been in contact with scholars from other countries who intend to join the Isuf network. In Iran, the process of forming a local network (ISUFIran) is at a very advanced stage, above all thanks to the efforts of Mazyar Abaee (author of an important study on research on urban form in this country) and nine other founding members. A constitution was approved in June and the formation of the network can be considered quite completed. A network is also forming in India (ISUF India) and, more recently, in Australia and New Zealand (ISUF-ANZ). All four groups were invited to present, together with the established networks, a report on the status of the activities and future programmes.

Synthetic information received by the various Regional Networks are reported below.

Chinese Network of Urban Morphology (CNUM)

President: Yinsheng Tian

Email: arystian@scut.edu.cn

Social media link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/lNss6erUwGpxUwaJLO4roA

In the previous year, CNUM was devoted to further exploring Chinese urban morphology approach. The specific interests are: the resilience of urban forms; the formation and application of management units; architecture and urban design based typo-morphology.

1. Publications of academic articles, including:

  • Zhu Zhilin, Tian Yinsheng. (2022) Research on Application of Quantitative Analysis Methods in Conzenian Urban Morphology: A Case Study based on a Traditional Block in Guangzhou. In South Architecture
  • Zhao Pengrui, Tian Yinsheng. (2023) Research on the Quantitative Evaluation Method of
    Morphological Resilience of Historical Blocks: A Case Study based on the Historical and
    Cultural Blocks in the East, West, and South Corners of Luoyang City. In South Architecture
  • Li Meichen, Deng Hao. (2023) Research on the Morphological Evolution of Urban Cemeteries
    in China’s Rapid Urbanization Process: A Case Study of Nanjing. In Modern Urban Research
  • Deng Hao. Reconstructing Urban Architecture with Borrowing Typomorphology in China. In
    Urban Morphology (accepted)

2. Professional engagement at conferences in both China and international events.

  • A keynote speech presented by the president titled “From ‘Organic Decomposition’ to Delicacy Management of the Urban Context.” at the Guangzhou Conference of the Historical and Cultural Cities Planning Scientific Committee of UPSC.
  • Participating in ISUF 2022 as the scientific board member and parallel session chair.
  • Presenting research findings at the conferences ISUF 2022 and ISUF-Italy 2022.

3. Promotion on Chinese social media.
We kept introducing essential academic articles and sharing existing research findings on
Chinesesocial media. We have posted over 160 issues tonearly 10,000 followers.

Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology (CyNUM)

Co-Presidents: Nevter Zafer Comert, Ilaria Geddes

Emails: nevter.zafer@emu.edu.tr, ilaria.geddes@gmail.com

Website: http://www.cynum.org/

KAEBUP final event and 3 rd CyNUM Regional Conference joint conference will be held at the
University at Cyprus between 6-9 December 2023 with the theme of From Urban Research to
Planning and Design: Strengthening the Cooperation Between Academia and Practice. The event presents a great opportunity to bring together academics and practitioners form both the private and public sectors to exchange knowledge and explore ways of strengthening collaboration in the fields of architecture, urban design and planning.

Addressing the call for SAJ’s special number (edited by Ivor Samuels), Ilaria Geddes, Alessandro
Camiz, Nezire Özgece, Nevter Zafer Cömert, Şebnem Hoşkara, Gizem Caner prepared a review
paper on the study of urban form in Cyprus, reviewing the background to the network, its activities and research outputs to critically discuss avenues for future development of Cypriot morphological research. Various research paper about Cypriot urban form has been published by the members of the CyNUM on different scientific journal in 2023.

Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF-H)

President: Javier Monclús

Emails: jmonclus@unizar.es (president)

Website: https://isufh.org

The VI congress of the Hispanic International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF-H), took place at the
School of Architecture Polytechnic University of Madrid, between 29 September and 1 October

European and Latin American case studies formed the body of discourse that the congress offered over the next two days in the form of twelve parallel sessions. A total of 113 oral communications were articulated along six thematic lines that were interrelated and mixed in most of the congress sessions. Their order somewhat suggests a transition from the ordered urban form to the non-ordered or informal urban form that ultimately determines contemporary cities in significant ways and poses one of their main challenges.

The proceedings of the conference – like those of the previous ones – are available on the ISUF-H website https://isufh.org/

Addressing the call for SAJ’s special number (edited by Ivor Samuels), prof. Carmen Díez-Medina
and Javier Monclús prepared a review paper on the study of urban form in Spain and Spanish-
Speaking Countries.

In March 2023, the exhibition “Cities and their Theses (1970-2020)” was opened at the School of
Architecture of Valencia. In this event the colloquium on Iberian Cities and Urban Form took place with the participation of Vitor Oliveira and Javier Monclús, as presidents of ISUF and ISUF-H, respectively.

Italian Network of Urban Morphology (ISUFITALY)

President: Giuseppe Strappa

Email: gstrappa@yahoo.com

Website: https://isufitaly.com

In 2023, activities of Isufitaly Network were focused, as in previous years, on the close link
between urban morphology research and architectural design. In this spirit, the Italian network has organized a number of lectures, produced several publications, and held university courses. In this regard, a new course in English in Urban Morphology has been opened at the University of Roma Tre, in Rome, dedicated above all to Erasmus students.

Isufitaly participated in the European research group Kaebup (Knowledge Alliance for Evidence-
Based Urban Practices (January 2021 – December 2023) which is part of the Erasmus + Knowledge Alliances programme.

Some members of our association are participating in organizing a summer school and workshop in Canosa di Puglia. This initiative, coordinated by Matteo Ieva, deals with an important issue for the Italian group such as the relationship between morphological investigation in archaeological sites and architectural design. The results are expected to be published in a special issue of U+D
Urbanform and Design journal.

The network responded to the invitation of Ivor Samuels for a SAJ journal special issue by
presenting three coordinated articles by Matteo Ieva, Nicola Marzot and Giuseppe Strappa
concerning the formation and transformation of research methods on urban morphology from the interwar period origin to future perspectives.

Polish Network of Urban Morphology (ISUFPOLSKA)

President:Anna Agata Kantarek

Secretary:Łukasz Musiaka

email: akanta@poczta.onet.pl, lukasz.musiaka@geo.uni.lodz.pl

ISUFPolska activities:

  • ISUFPolska – organization of XXIX Conference of ISUF in Lodz and Krakow – September
    2022 and post conference publication – Springer book and conference proceedings
  • Cooperation with Section of Urbanism of Committee of Architecture and Urbanism of Polish
    Academy of Sciences
  • Cooperation with Section of Urban Morphology, Commission of Urbanism and Architecture,
    Polish Academy of Sciences Krakow Branch

Teaching examples:

  • A. A. Kantarek Urban form and Urban Morphology Seminar(in Polish) for PhD students of Doctoral School, Cracow University of Technology (15 h)
  • A. A. Kantarek History of Contemporary Urban Design with elements of Urban Morphology – lectures and seminar (in Polish) for students of the II nd degree of Spatial Management, specialization – Urban Design and Transport (30h)
  • M. Hanzl Lectures on City Architecture and Morphology – 5 th semester of the BA arch (in Polish) course in Institute of Architecture and Town Planning Lodz University of Technology

Scientific works examples:

  • Monika Ewa Adamska -Reconstruction of the image of Silesian towns in terms of physiography, urban morphology and  functional profile on the basis of 18th century cartography, Scientific grant awarded by Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, carried out at the Staatsbibliothekzu Berlin, Kartenabteilung in November 2022, Title of the project: Reconstructing the image of Silesian Towns (intra et extra muros) in the 18th century on the basis of Krieges Carte Von Schlesien by Christian Friedrich Von Wrede
  • Monika Ewa Adamska -Studies on morphological aspects and state of preservation of 18th century radial layouts in Poland:M. Adamska, T. Figlus, Morphological development of radial layouts and the problem of preserving their compositional values on the example of former Frederician colonies in Poland, Teka Komisji Urbanistykii Architektury Oddział PAN w Krakowie (volume 2023)

Portuguese-language Network of Urban Morphology (PNUM)

President: Vítor Oliveira

Emails: pnum@fe.up.pt (organization), vitorm@fe.up.pt (president)

Website: https://pnum.fe.up.pt/

Last November PNUM returned to its face-to-face events in Rio de Janeiro, in a conference organized by Vera Tângari. The 11 th annual conference of PNUM Urban Morphology: Planning, Recovery and Resilience takes place in Lisbon, in September 13-14, 2023, in Sintra, organized by Teresa Marat-Mendes (additional information at: https://www.dinamiacet.iscte-iul.pt/pnum2023).

The number 11(1) of the Revista de Morfologia Urbana(edited by Renato Leão Rego, Karin Meneguetti and Gislaine Beloto) gathers fourteen papers and the Portuguese translation of Marco Maretto’s ‘Saverio Muratori: towards a morphological school of urban design’, an important paper of the process-typological approach originally published in Urban Morphology in 2013 (more information at http://revistademorfologiaurbana.org/index.php/rmu).

Addressing the call for SAJ’s special number (edited by Ivor Samuels), Vitor Oliveira, Staël Pereira Costaand Frederico de Holandaprepared a review paper on the study of urban form in Brazil and Portugal, starting from a general overview, moving then to a focus on Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, and Porto (three important centres of morphological research in the two countries).

Serbian Network of Urban Morphology (SNUM)

President: Vladan Djokić

Emails: morpholab@arh.bg.ac.rs (organisation), vdjokic@arh.bg.ac.rs (president)

Website: https://serbian-urban-morphology.tumblr.com

In previous year, activities of Serbian Network of Urban Morphology (SNUM) were focused on two major subjects.

  1. ISUF2023 conference: Serbian research network put great effort to organize 30 th ISUF conference title Praxis of Urban morphology and provide a framework to return to in person event. At this point, it is expected for ISUF2023 conference to host 250 presentations across three days and to offer field trips that will enable participants to get to know Serbia.
  2. SAJ special issue: As a part of the ISUF2023 conference and jubilee year of University of
    Belgrade, SNUM has invited Ivor Samuels to take a role of the guest editor for a speciall issue of Serbian Architectural Journal (SAJ) titled Regional perspectives on Urban morphology. His dedicated work and extensive network of former students and colleagues worldwide aligned with great efforts of the ISUF2023 organizational committee greatly contributed to the 16 valuable regional perspectives on urban morphology: Poland, Australasia, Central Europe, China, Nordic countries, North America, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, Turkey, Cyprus, Russia, South Africa, France, Serbia, Italy and UK.

Turkish Network of Urban Morphology (TNUM)

President: Ayşe Sema Kubat

Emails: info@tnum.org.tr, asemakubat@gmail.com, kubat@itu.edu.tr

Website : https://www.tnum.org.tr/index.php/tnum/index

Key activities through out the years of 2022- 2023:

  • IV TNUM Symposium: The fourth symposium of the Turkish Network of Urban was held between 31 May and 2 June 2023 in Konya, Türkiye. The symposium was organised by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Konya Technical University and chaired by Mehmet Topçu on behalf of TNUM.The main theme of the symposium was ‘the evolution of urban morphology: from the past to the future, from theory to practice’. There were five sub-themes addressing the Turkish planning and architectural context and presenting a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art in Turkish urban morphological studies. These themes were ‘evolution of urban morphological research’, ‘social context in urban morphology’, evolution of forms and spaces in regional, urban and architectural scale’, ‘conservation of cultural heritage, historic cities and contemporary design’, and ‘evolution of urban morphology in the face of changing conditions’. The symposium was characterized by the variety of presentations and its large number of participants. With the participation of 119 of researchers from different back grounds, 61 papers were presented. Theparticipants were from a range of 37 Turkish universities from 22 cities of Türkiye. Proceedings book: https://tnum.org.tr/index.php/tnum/issue/view/4/20
  • SAJ Special Issue; Addressing the call for SAJ’s special issue, “Ivor Samuels” took a role as aguest editor for the Serbian Architectural Journal titled “Regional perspectives on Urban Morphology. Ayşe Sema Kubat, Mert Akay, Ezgi Küçük Çalışkan and Burcu Soygüzeloğlu, prepared a review paper on the study of urban form in Türkiye, with the title “Research Perspectives of the Turkish Network of Urban Morphology”.
  • MorphoTalks;TNUM had a set of online presentations. This year, under the name of Morpho Talks TNUM online presentations, are devoted to the relation between scientific research and professional practice, bringing together presentations by researchers (both senior researchers and PhD students) and practitioners (planners and architects, acting at local authorities and in private companies).
    • Morphotalks 1 – Vitor Oliveira | Different Perspective on the Research-practice Gap (May 11, 2022)
    • Morphotalks 2 – Mert Akay | Algorithmic Design Control for Plot-based Urbanism (Oct. 11, 2022)
    • Morphotalks 3 – Beyza Karadeniz | A Methodological Approach to Urban Morphology in City Planning (Nov. 22, 2023)
    • Morphotalks 4 – Burçak Karlı | Morphological Analysis of Pedestrian Spaces (Dec, 22, 2022)
    • Morphotalks 5 – Mazyar Abaee | Using Morpho Method to Investigate Contemporary Iranian Urban Form (Jan19, 17, 2023)
    • Morphotalks 6 – METU TACDAM | Before and After 2023 Earthquake : Multilayered Urban Morphological Characteristics of Antakya (May17, 2023)

All presentations are available on TNUM Youtube Pagevia the following link: https://www.youtube.com/@tnum_tr

Here are reported some synthetic information received by the four Regional Networks in formation:

North American Urban Morphology Network (NAUMN)

The North American Urban Morphology Network held an initial meeting at the ISUF 2020 virtual
conference to solicit interest. At a follow up meeting at ISUF 2021’s virtual conference, participants enthusiastically agreed about the importance of setting up a network to include interested scholars and practitioners in Canada and the United States.

Goal 1: Identify a leader for NAUMN
Currently NAUMN needs a qualified, university affiliated scholar and leader with initiative to help
forward its organizational goals. The position will require resources and support from an affiliated
university to host a NAUMN website.

Goal 2: Develop resource directory
It was decided that creating a resource directory of North American scholars and practitioners with interests in urban morphology would be an appropriate first step to strengthen networking
opportunities. To date, this goal has not been achieved. A North American ISUF member with data base development and management skills is needed to move the process forward. An appropriate host site needs to be identified to post the directory once it is completed.

Goal 3: Hold an in-person NAUMN meeting (or possibly virtual)
Some participants expressed in holding an in-person meeting to set up bylaws and strategic plan and elect leadership. However, we have yet to identify an appropriate host site/university and someone to take the lead as meeting organizer.

Iranian Network of urban morphology (ISUFIRAN)

President: Mazyar Abaee.

Email: mzr.abaee@ut.ac.ir, mzr.abaee@gmail.com

Email: ISUFIran@gmail.com

Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/company/isufiran/

Near a year ago, after publishing the articleThe study of urban form in Iran, the establishment
process of the Iranian network began by inviting the scholars who have been mentioned in the
article as the founding board. After the initial meetings, the board decided to develop a constitution as the first significant step. When the first edition was made, the board decided to elect the council to finalize the constitution and proceed with the registration. The council, which consisted of five members, including the president, concluded the constitution and, after the board approval, sent it to the ISUF president and the regional network’s coordinator. Finally, the network and the constitution registered to ISUF at June 30. Afterwards, the council plans for the yearly vision. However, activities are planned in collaboration with the Urban Planning and Architecture Research Center of Iran (UARC), facilitated by the president. These activities will be in the form of online speeches by inviting the members of Iranian founding board members of the Turkish Network of Urban Morphology and other academicians in architecture and planning.

The primary approach of these speeches is essential cultivation to introduce urban form using its general meaning referring to diverse architecture, planning and design paradigms. Finally, the council of the Iranian network is investigating the appropriate ways to transform its founding board into a general assembly by inviting academics interested in the field in its disciplinary manner. 

Network of Urban Morphology in Australia and New Zealand (ISUFANZ)

Professor Francesco Mancini, from the School of Design and the Built Environment, Curtin
University, an ISUF member since 2017, is expressing interest in establishing an Australia and New Zealand ISUF regional Network following the guidelines from Kai Gu. The establishment of the regional network will be initially developed in collaboration with Dr Vuk Radovic and Associate Professor Tanja Glusac from Curtin University and other eminent academics from Australian Universities.

A first informal meeting between the Curtin proponents and Paul Sanders, Kai Gu, Mirko Guaralda and Paul Osmond is scheduled for the third week of August. Based on the initial interest, further contacts will be made with colleagues and authors from the region who have published on urban morphology. A survey of existing authors is ongoing, based on the submission to SAJ presented by Sanders, Guaralda, Gu and Osmond. The Regional Network will operate as an interinstitutional research cluster. However, it will not be organised as a registered association, and the organised activities will be self-sufficient or internally funded by the host institution.

The proponent and most proposed initial members have strong relationships with ISUF and some of the regional networks. Extending the network to the Australasian continent will contribute to the study of urban form in the region and strengthen the identity of all the ANZ scholars working in these fields.

A more cohesive study and dissemination of the research on urban form will significantly impact
the professional world. Once the network is approved and established, the regional network will
seek support to organise its activities, such as conferences and workshops. Sharing contacts,
administrative documents and best practices will be part of the ISUF executive mentorship of the
network in its first year of life. Additional support will be requested to promote events through the ISUF website until the regional network does not establish its website.

Indian Network of Urban Morphology (INUM)

After discussing with ISUF team in Poland in September 2022, a proposal was prepared for
formation of Indian Network of Urban Morphology (INUM) as the regional chapter of ISUF in
India with School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi (SPA ND) as the host institute. The
proposal was approved with Dr.Arathy Gopal (Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture) as
Co-ordinator and the following senior faculty as advisors- Prof. Dr. PSN Rao (Professor,
Department of Housing and the then Director of SPA ND), Dr. Anil Dewan (Professor & Head,
Department of Architecture), Dr. Mayank Mathur (Professor &Head, Department of Physical
Planning) and Dr. Mahavir (Ex Professor of Planning).

The objectives include research in 3 domains:

  • i. Change in urban form in Indian cities,
  • ii. Typo-morphological approach to the analysis of urban form, and
  • iii. Assessment of urban form using modern technology (Drones and GIS).

It was further decided to hold a launching program in 2023 with focus on the third domain. Krishna Prakash and Thomas Krishna Pegu (Assistant Professors, SPA ND) volunteered to be Co- Coordinators for the Programme in 2023. Knowledge partners/speakers are confirmed from major organisations pan India including SPA Bhopal, NITC, IIT Roorkee, IIRS, TCPO.

The manuscript of Dr.Arathy Gopal was also accepted for oral presentation in ISUF 2023 to be held in Serbia in September 2023, enabling further guidance on the way forward for the regional chapter to be given in person.  A meeting is scheduled for 4 September as part of the Isuf conference in Belgrade (in presence and online) according to the times and the link provided by the organization Giuseppe Strappa (Isuf Regional Networks Coordinator).

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