Urban figures as hypothesis the traditional, contemporary, and fluid figures

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


The city figure of today is becoming more uncertain. An urban entity, or what is perceived as a city, contains developing form within and beyond the framework and formal constraints of post 19th and 20th-century urbanism. Our current view of the city, or what I term the built landscape (or territory, urban field), has been shifted from a built object figure (the traditional morphological discourse) and interpretation to one that interprets and reads the environment through a spatial framework of material flow, a new operational spatial figure or morphology of movement. These new spatial figures, reveal the power of effective urbanism, as space produces the object(s) we see around us, rather than the other way round. In this framework place is a consequence of spatial layering, thus establishing a universal too for design and intervention (contextless), clarifying certain reasons for urban change, formation, and transformation of the city, metropolitan, and urban field. Differences in the becoming of the places, qua context, are drawn between European and African models.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Transformations and Sustainability
PublisherDelft University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781586036034
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • To disfigure: 'To mar or spoil the appearance or shape of; deform'

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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