Urban morphology and housing stock granularity: a cross-scalar analysis

Cem S. Kayatekin (1), Lorenzo Uribe (2)
(1) Assistant Professor, IE School of Architecture and Design, Segovia, Spain, Spain,
(2) Junior Architect, OMA, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands


Do urban-morphological parameters trickle down to impact the diversity and granularity of a district’s housing stock? Do urban-morphological parameters impact housing rental values? These are the main questions underpinning this mixed-method study of four districts across Madrid and Barcelona—two districts developed in a bottom-up manner and exhibiting high morphological heterogeneity, and two developed in a top-down manner and exhibiting high morphological homogeneity. The large-scale statistical analyses conducted via the course of this research delves into the cross-district variations and commonalities of residential values, dwelling unit sizes, plot sizes, block sizes, and street widths. Three findings of import are uncovered—(1) possessing an intricate urban-morphological (or housing stock) granularity does not come hand-in-hand with having high urban morphological (or housing stock) diversity; (2) despite not possessing a higher diversity of urban morphological elements, the bottom-up districts still behaved as slightly-divergent and more-affordable real estate bubbles when compared to the top-down neighborhoods; and (3) across all the districts examined, smaller-scale plots consistently supported more than their expected share of smaller-scale dwelling units.

Full text article

Generated from XML file


Ayuntamiento de Madrid. (2022). Portal Web de Ayuntamiento de Madrid. https://www.madrid.es

Ajuntament de Barcelona. (2022). Meet Barcelona. https://www.meet.barcelona/en

Berghauser Pont, M., Stavroulaki, G., Bobkova, E., Gil, J., Marcus, L., Olsson, J., ... & Legeby, A. (2019). The spatial distribution and frequency of street, plot and building types across five European cities. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46(7), 1226-1242. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2399808319857450

Danenberg, R., Mehaffy, M., Porta, S., & Elmund, P. (2018). Main street plot scale in urban design for inclusive economies: Stockholm case studies. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Urban Design and Planning, 171, 1–30. doi:10.1680/jurdp.18.00031 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1680/jurdp.18.00031

Da Filicaia, I. G. (2007). The housing forms and urban morphology of poverty areas in the London borough of Islington. University of London, University College London (United Kingdom).

Doherty, M., Nakanishi, H., Bai, X., & Meyers, J. (2009). Relationships between form, morphology, density and energy in urban environments. GEA Background Paper, 28.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. Random House.

Kayatekin, C. S. (2021). Architectural form: flexibility, subdivision and diversity in Manhattan loft buildings. Buildings and Cities, 2(1), pp. 888–906. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.140 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.140

Kostof, Spiro. (1991). The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. New York: Bulfinch Press.

Kostourou, F. (2021). Housing growth: impacts on density, space consumption and urban morphology. Buildings and Cities, 2(1), pp. 55–78. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.75 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.75

Li, S., Wu, C., Lin, Y., Li, Z., & Du, Q. (2020). Urban Morphology Promotes Urban Vibrancy from the Spatiotemporal and Synergetic Perspectives: A Case Study Using Multisource Data in Shenzhen, China. Sustainability, 12(12). doi:10.3390/su12124829 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124829

Long, Y., & Huang, C. C. (2019). Does block size matter? The impact of urban design on economic vitality for Chinese cities. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46(3), 406-422. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2399808317715640

Lucato, Aguilar R. (2020). La producción desigual de la morfología urbana madrileña. Territorios en formación, 0(17), 60-75. doi:https://dx.doi.org/10.20868/tf.2020.17.4487 DOI: https://doi.org/10.20868/tf.2020.17.4487

Lykostratis, K., & Giannopoulou, M. (2022). Housing Values Defined by Urban Morphology Characteristics. In INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: New Metropolitan Perspectives (pp. 1557-1566). Springer, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06825-6_150

Marcus, L. (2005). Plot Syntax : A configurational approach to urban diversity. Proceedings, Fifth International Space Syntax Symposium. Presented at the Fifth international space syntax symposium. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-53314

Marcus, L., & Bobkova, E.U. (2019). Spatial configuration of plot systems and urban diversity: empirical support for a differentiation variable in spatial morphology.

Meng, Y., & Xing, H. (2019). Exploring the relationship between landscape characteristics and urban vibrancy: A case study using morphology and review data. Cities, 95, 102389 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.102389

Narvaez, L. (02 2019). Capitolo Quinto: l’analisi della rette alla scala urbana, ‘Space Syntax applicato allo studio dei pattern economici della citta di Cardiff’, edited by Cermasi, Olimpia. Bononia University Press, pp. 91-129.

Pozoukidou, G.; Chatziyiannaki, Z. (2021). 15-Minute City: Decomposing the New Urban Planning Eutopia. Sustainability 2021, 13, 928. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020928 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020928

Ryan, B. D. (2008). The restructuring of Detroit: City block form change in a shrinking city, 1900–2000. Urban Design International, 13, 156-168. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/udi.2008.21

Siksna, A. (1997). The effects of block size and form in North American and Australian city centres. Urban morphology, 1(1), 19-33. DOI: https://doi.org/10.51347/jum.v1i1.4048

Tadi, M., Vahabzadeh Manesh, S. H. A. H. R. O. O. Z., Zadeh, M. H. M., & Zaniol, F. (2015). Urban Morphology, Environmental Performances and Social Inclusion via IMM® The case study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ARCHITECTURE AND CIVIL ENGINEERING (pp. 1-10). SGP. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5176/2301-394X_ACE15.82

Zhang, J., Li, Z., & Hu, D. (2022). Effects of urban morphology on thermal comfort at the micro-scale. Sustainable Cities and Society, 86, 104150. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2022.104150

Zhang, Zuo, Xinhai Lu, Min Zhou, Yan Song, Xiang Luo, and Bing Kuang. (2019). Complex Spatial Morphology of Urban Housing Price Based on Digital Elevation Model: A Case Study of Wuhan City, China. Sustainability 11, no. 2: 348. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020348 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020348


Cem S. Kayatekin
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Lorenzo Uribe
Kayatekin, C., & Uribe, L. (2023). Urban morphology and housing stock granularity: a cross-scalar analysis. Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 8(2), 32–52. https://doi.org/10.21625/essd.v8i2.1029

Article Details

Received 2023-10-01
Accepted 2023-11-29
Published 2023-12-31