Exploring the Conceptual Model for Evaluating the Coherence of Urban Physical Form and Structure and Explaining Its Principles

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. Student, Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Isfahan Art University, Iran

2 Department of urbanism , Art university of Isfahan.

3 Associate Professor in Urban Planning, Iran University of Science and Technology


Problem statement: Coherence as a necessary quality in the physical, social, and economic life of cities has been less attended by urban planners in modern times, to the extent that the scattering and deterioration of the urban fabrics, and in particular the existing metropolises, can be attributed to the lack of attention to this quality in the planning and design of modern cities. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of attention to the existence of different approaches to studying the form, the structure and the absence of an integrated approach and criteria and principles that can be used to assess the degree of coherent form and structure.
Research aim and question: Therefore, this research seeks to elaborate the principles for evaluating the coherence of the physical form and developing a conceptual model. In this regard, this research aims to answer the question of what are the common principles between different approaches and theories about the physical form, and how do these approaches define the coherent relationship between the elements of the form?
Research method: In this regard, this research has used a qualitative content analysis method to draw out the concepts of separated text data (by study approaches that relate to the coherence of form and structure), and Finally, this study achieved a theoretical model or framework by extracting the texts abstract levels which reflects the passive and repetitive patterns in the content. Conclusion: The results show that the three main elements of the form, including street, land use and building, play an important role in creating coherence, and the street is the most important element in the connection and linking of the other two elements. Also, the mix and diversity criteria in the land-use and the size criterion in the building are considered to be important criteria for measuring the coherence of the urban form. On the other hand, linking and integrating as the most important criterion for creating coherence, must be formed on the basis of two fundamental principles of scale and hierarchy, so that the elements of the form in different structural parts (center, main axis, and zone) are connected together in a coherent way.


Ahari, Z & Habibi, S.M. (2012). Maktab-e Isfahan dar shahrsazi: zaban shenasi-ye anasoor va fazaha-ye shahri [Isfahan School in Urbanization: Linguistics of Elements and Urban Spaces]. Tehran: University of Art. Second edition.
Ahari, Z & Habibi, S, M. (2012). The language of urban design in historic cities: Isfahan school. Isfahan: Rasam publisher.
Alberti, L. B. (1991). On the art of building in ten books. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Alexander, C. (1964). Notes on the Synthesis of Form (Vol. 5). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Alexander, C., Mahy, M., Neis, H., Anninou, A., & King, I. (1987). A new theory of urban design (Vol. 6). Center for Environmental Struc. New York:Oxford. Oxford University peress.
Alexander, C. (2002). The phenomenon of life: an essay on the art of building and the nature of the universe. Taylor & Francis. California, United States.
Allain, R. (2004). Morphologie urbaine. Géographie, aménagement et architecture de la ville, Paris, Armand Colin,  U Géographie:254 .
Ardalan, N., Bakhtiar, L., & Haider, S. G. (1973). The sense of unity: the Sufi tradition in Persian architectur. Vol. 9. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bacon, E. N. (1986). Design of cities. London: Thames and Hudson.
Bahrain, Seyyed Hossein. (2011). Urban design process. Tehran: Tehran University Press.
Batty, M. (2005). Cities and complexity. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. University of California, Santa Barbara.
Batty, M. (2008). The size, scale, and shape of cities. Science, 319(5864): 769-771.
Carmona, M., & Tiesdell, S. (Eds.). (2007). Urban design reader. New York: Routledge.
Conzen, M. R. (2004). Thinking about urban form: papers on urban morphology: 1932-1998. New York: Peter Lang. Oxford
Daneshpour, S, A. Roosta, M. (2012). Urban Structure Reading; A Step to Urban morphology, Urban and Architectural Scientific Journal of Urban Planning and Architecture of Iran. (4) 45-54.
Evans, R. (Compendium, U. D). (2007). 2: Delivering Quality Places. English Partnerships/Housing Corporation.
Golkar, C. (2015). Afarinesh-e makan-e paydar: taamollati dar bab-e nazariye-ye tarrahi-ye shahri [Sustainable Location Creation: Reflections on Urban Design Theory]. Tehran: Shahid Beheshti University.
Hedman, R., & Jaszewski, A. (1984). Fundamentals of urban design.Washington, D.C.: Planners Press, American Planning Association.
Hillier, B, Greene, M & Desyllas, J. (2000). Self-Generated Neighbourhoods: The Role of Urban Form in the Consolidation of Informal Settlements. Urban Design International, 5 (2): 61-96.
Hillier, B, Penn, A, Hanson, J, Grajews ki, T & Xu, J. (1993). Natural movement: Or, configuration, and attraction in urban pedestrian movement. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, (20): 29-66.
Hillier, B. (1996). Cities as movement economies. Urban Design International, 1(1): 41-60.
Jacobs, J. (2002). The death and life of great American cities. Vintage Books. New York: A Division of & ndo11l Hollse.
Krippendorff, K. (2004).  Content analysis: an introduction to its methodology. Sage .America: University of Pennsylvania.
Kropf, K. (2014). Ambiguity in the definition of built form. Urban Morphology, 18(1): 41-57.
Lynch, K. (1960). ‎A theory of good city form. Vol. 11. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Lynch, K., & Rodwin, L. (1958). A Theory of Urban Form Journal of the American Institute of planners, 24(4): 201-214.
Marshall. S. (2009). Cities design & evolution. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, cop.
Martin, L. (1972). The grid as a generator. Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, 4(4): 309-322.
Oliveira, V. (2013). Morpho: a methodology for assessing urban form. Urban Morphology, 17(1): 21-33.
Paumier, Cyril B. (2004). Creating a Vibrant City Center: Urban Design and Regeneration Principles. Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute.
Roberts, M., & Greed, C. (2001). Approaching urban design: the design process (Vol. 5). UK: Routledge. ISBN.
Salingaros, N. A. (1998). Theory of the Urban Web, Urban Design, (3): 53-71.
Salingaros, N.A. (2000).Complexity and urban oherence. Urban Design, 5(3): 291-316.
Smith, P.F. (1977). The syntax of cities. London: George Godwin Limited.
Sternberg, E. (2000). An integrative theory of urban design. American Planning Association, 66(3): 265-278.
Tavalee, Novin (2007). Integrated urban form. Tehran: Amir Kabir Publisher.
Tavasoli, M & Bonyadi, N. (2007).Urban space design. Tehran: Shahidi.
Tibbalds, F. (2001). Making people - friendly towns improving the public environment intowns and cities. Taylor & Francis. Longman Group UK, Ltd.
Trancik, R. (1986). Finding lost space: theories of urban design. NewYourk: John Wiley & Sons.
Salingaros, N. A. (2005). Principles of urban structure,Vol. 4. Bethaniendwarsstraat 6G 1012 CB Amsterdam: Techne Press.