Urban Morphological Mapping

Coordinator: Dr. Elek Pafka

Tutors: James Kelly and Sarah Moss


This subject introduces the field of urban morphological analysis and a range of mapping techniques. Urban morphology is the study of urban spatial form – the assemblage of buildings and public spaces that comprise the city. It also entails analysis of the forces that produce such an assemblage and the spatial practices that are produced therein. The mapping of urban morphology requires that we treat the city as a series of distinct layers of information and then select particular layers for specific analytical purposes. In urban design these often include: building footprints, heights, types, grain size, densities, functions, movement networks and streetlife.

Throughout the semester we used a transect of central Melbourne along Elizabeth Street as a laboratory for exploring these themes. This is an urban area that slices through a range of morphological conditions, densities, spatial practices, experiences and transformational prospects.

The studied transect has been divided into 12 zones. While for some exercises students were focussing on only a slice of it, for other exercises they mapped the entire transect.

The exhibition presents the final assignment which is a choice between 'Assemblage' and 'Collage'. For 'Assemblage' students choose a keyword from a list and use that as a theme from which to produce a map of the whole transect. The keywords span across the various layers of urban life mapped throughout the semester. The aim is to visualize relevant links between the various layers. For 'Collage' the task was to propose a typological diversification of the transect. The proposed urban intervention had to increase the diversity of the transect by introducing one or more new urban type(s): street, square, building, interface, monument or any other urban element that doesn't exist in central Melbourne.

Urban Morphological Mapping [ABPL30051] is part of the Towards Practice major within the Bachelor of Design. It is most relevant for students majoring in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Property and Spatial Systems, as well as for prospective students of Urban Design.

Urban Design 2021_winter