Conurbations and resilience. When growth makes us fragile

  • Valerio Cutini DESTEC University of Pisa
Keywords: urban sprawl, conurbation, resilience, configuration analysis

Abstract

This paper is focused on the conurbations, extensive urban areas resulting from the expansion and coalescence of several neighbouring cities.

Two theses underlay the research. The first is that, in the development of a conurbation, traffic has actually a role of ‘maker and breaker of cities’, just to paraphrase the title of a well-known article by Colin Clark, focusing on the double role of roads and traffic in urban development (Clark, 1958): on a one hand, the making of a unique road network, encompassing the whole grid, actually allows movement and interaction all over the settlement, making possible the working of the conurbation as a wide urban system; on the other hand, the resulting pattern of movement concentrates its major flows on few roads connecting the original nuclei and the new development areas, actually bypassing the pre-existing urban fabric and diverting a significant amount of local traffic from the streets of the urban grid, what involves the loss of the fertilisation benefit the irrigation of through movement provides.

The second thesis, complementary to the former, is that the merging of the nuclei and their embedding into a conurbation reduces the resilience of the whole settlement, in that it affects the capability of the system to adsorb accidental events and transformations without significantly changing its global behaviour.

The phenomenon of conurbations and the diachronic analysis of their resilience will here be observed from a configurational point of view, analysing by means of space syntax techniques the urban settlement of Florence, here assumed as an ideal case study.

The results are expected to objectively describe the role of inter-urban roads in the making of a conurbation, and to appraise the extent to which their entanglement within the whole concur in transforming its inner geography and enhancing its global vulnerability.  

More in general, the configurational approach, suitable for appraising the urban grid as the interface between the physical city and the phenomena that occur along its paths, once again proves its usefulness in linking spatial issues and traffic questions, so as to bridge the traditional gap between urban design, focused on the morphologic features of blocks and buildings, and transport analysis, strictly concerned with the distribution of movement flows on the streets network. 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Valerio Cutini, DESTEC University of Pisa
As a researcher in Town Planning in the University of Pisa, since 1996 Valerio Cutini teaches Urban Planning at the School of Engineering of the University of Pisa. His main interests and studies are in the areas of the analysis of urban settlements, aimed at focusing on their development and the diachronic transformation of their morphology and functional consistency.

References

Alexander, C. (1965). A City is not a Tree. Design, 206, 46-55.

Alexander, C. (1966). The Pattern of Streets. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 32, 5, 273-278.

Barros, A.P.B.G., da Silva, P.C.M., & de Holanda, F.R.B. (2007). Exploratory Study of Space Syntax as a Traffic Assignment Tool. In: Proceedings of the 6th Space Syntax Symposium, Istanbul, Turkey, 2007.

Clark, C. (1958). Transport. Maker and breaker of cities. The Town Planning Review, 28, 4, 237-250.

Cutini, V. (2001). Urban Space and Pedestrian Movement – A Study on the Configurational Hypothesis. Cybergeo, 188, 111, 2001.

Cutini, V. (2005). Configuration and Centrality. Some Evidence from two Italian Case Studies. In: Proceedings of the 10th Space Syntax Symposium, Atlanta, USA, 2005, pp. 32.1-32.11.

Cutini, V. (2013). The city when it trembles. Earthquake destructions, post-earthquake reconstruction and grid configuration. In: Kim, Y. O.; Park, H. T.; Seo, K. W., Eds. Proceedings of the Ninth International Space Syntax, Seoul: Sejong University, 2013, pp. 102.1-102.17.

Cutini, V., & Rabino, G. (2012). Searching for Ariadne’s Thread. Some remarks on urban resilience and orientation. TeMA – Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 5, 2, 2012, 7-22.

Cutini V., Petri M., & Santucci, A. (2004). From axial maps to Mark Point Parameter Analysis (Ma.P.P.A.). A G.I.S. implemented method to automate configurational analysis”. In: Computational Science and its Applications – ICCSA 2004 – Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2004, 1107-1116.

Dalton, N. (2015). Momentum Integration: the Syntax of Cycling. In: Proceedings of the 10th Space Syntax Symposium, London, UK, 2015, pp. 67.1-67.12.

Dasanayaka, U., A.M., & Jayasinghe, A. (2014). Road traffic crashes and road configuration - a space syntax application. 7th FARU Symposium Proceedings – 2013, FARU Journal, 1, 5, 309-324.

Dupuy, G. (1991). L’Urbanisme des Réseaux; Armand Colin: Paris, France.

Dzhambov, A.M., Dimitrova, D.D., & Turnovska, T.H. (2014). Improving Traffic Noise Simulations Using Space Syntax: Preliminary Results from Two Roadway Systems. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, 65, 3, 259-272.

Freeman, L.C. (1977). A Set of Measures of Centrality Based on Betweenness. Sociometry, 40 (1), 35- 41.

Giannopoulou, G., Roukounis, Y., & Stefanis, V. (2012). Traffic Network and the Urban Environment: an Adapted Space Syntax Approach. Transport Research Arena, 48, 1887-1896.

Hillier, B., & Hanson, J. (1984).The Social Logic of Space; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Hillier, B. (1996a). Space is the Machine; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Hillier, B. (1996b). Cities as Movement Economies. Urban Design International, 1, 1, 29-60.

Hillier, B. (2005). The art of place and the science of space. World Architecture, 11, 185, 96-102.

Hillier, B. (2012). The Genetic Code for Cities. Is it simpler than we think? In: Juval Portugali, J.; Meyer, H.; Stolk, E.; Tan, E., Eds. Complexity Theories Have Come of Age; Springer: Berlin, 129-152

Hillier, B., Penn, A., Hanson, J., Grajevski, T., & Xu, J. (1993). Natural Movement: or, Configuration and Attraction in Urban Pedestrian Movement. Environment and Planning B. Planning and Design, 20, 67-81.

Hillier, B., & Iida, S. (2005). Network and Psychological Effects: a Theory of Urban Movement. Cohn, A.G. Mark, D.M. Cosit 2005, LNCS 3693. Springer-Verlag: Berlin Heidelberg, Germany, 475-490.

Iida, S., & Hillier, B. (2005) Disaggregated spatial line-network analysis with non-Euclidean weighting. In: Proceedings of the 5th Space Syntax Symposium, Delft, Netherland, 2005, 145-159.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great America Cities; Jonathan Cape: London, UK.

Jiang, B. (1999). SimPed: Simulating Pedestrian Flows in a Virtual Urban Environment. Journal of Geographic Information and Decision Analysis, 3, 1, pp. 21-30.

Jiang, B. (2008). Street Hierarchies: A Minority of Streets Account for a Majority of Traffic Flow. Available online: arxiv.org/abs/0802.1284.

Jiang, B. (2008). Ranking Spaces for Predicting Human Movement in an Urban Environment. International Journal of Geographical Information Science: online first, September 2008.

Jiang, B., & Claramunt, C. (2007). A Structural Approach to the Model Generalisation of an Urban Street Network. 2007. Available online: http://fromto.hig.se/~BJG/geoinfo2003.pdf.

Jiang, B., & Liu, C. (2007). Street-based Topological Representations and Analyses for Predicting Traffic Flow in GIS. Available online: arxiv.org/abs/0709.198.

Kazerani, A., Winter, S. (2009). Can Betweenness Centrality Explain Traffic Flow? 12th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2009, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany, 1-9.

Le Corbusier (1930). Précisions sur un état présent de l’architecture et de l’urbanisme; Crès: Paris.

Llewelyn-Davies, R. (1968). Town Design. In: Lewis, D., Ed. Urban Structure, Architectural Yearbook 12; Elek Books: London, UK.

Marshall, S. (2005). Streets and Patterns; Spon Press: Abingdon, UK.

McCahil, C.T., Garrick, N. (2008). Applicability of Space Syntax to Bicycle Facility Planning. Transportation Research Record. Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2074, 46-51.

Ministry of Transport (1963). Traffic in Towns. Her Majesty's Stationery Office: London, UK.

Published
2017-04-27
How to Cite
Cutini, V. (2017). Conurbations and resilience. When growth makes us fragile. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 10(1), 5-24. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/5068