© 2016

Urban Morphology

An Introduction to the Study of the Physical Form of Cities


  • Provides an informative overview and introduction to the study of cities

  • Highlights the added value of a morphologically-based design to planners, architects and urban designers

  • Foreword written by Jeremy W. R. Whitehand

  • Presents case studies of New York, Marrakesh and Porto


Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 1-6
  3. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 7-30
  4. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 47-62
  5. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 63-86
  6. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 87-149
  7. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 151-169
  8. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 171-180
  9. Vítor Oliveira
    Pages 181-185
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 187-192

About this book


This is a book about cities or, more precisely, about the physical form of cities. It starts presenting the main elements of urban form – streets, urban blocks, plots and buildings – structuring our cities and the fundamental actors and processes of transformation shaping these elements. It then applies this analytical framework to describe the evolution of cities over history as well as to explain the functioning of contemporary cities. After the initial focus on the ‘object’ (cities) the book describes how different researchers and different schools of thought have been dealing with this object since the emergence of Urban Morphology, as the science of urban form, in the turning to the twentieth century. Finally, the book tries to identify what are the most important (and specific) contributions that Urban Morphology has to offer to contemporary cities, societies and economies.


Agents of Change Approaches to the Study of Urban Form Architecture Cities Geography Theory and Practice Urban Form Urban Morphology Urban Planning Urban Transformation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

About the authors

Vítor Oliveira is Professor of Urban Morphology and Urban Planning at Lusofona University of Porto, Portugal, and Senior Researcher at the Research Centre for Territory Transports and Environment at University of Porto, Portugal. He is an architect and has a MSc in Planning and Design of the Built Environment and a PhD in Planning and Civil Engineering. He is a member of the Scientific Council of the Portuguese-language Network of Urban Morphology (PNUM) and of the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF). He is editor of the journal “Revista de Morfologia Urbana” and a member of the editorial board of the journal “Urban Morphology”.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


“This book constitutes a manual of urban morphology, essential for students who are beginning their studies in this field, as well as for seasoned researchers, especially those who are interested in a new look at concepts and methods. … Urban Morphology would be suitable for undergraduate or graduate courses in geography, sociology, urban studies, planning, and architecture.” (Fátima Loureiro de Matos, Journal of Urban Affairs, May, 2018)