Persistence, inertia, adaptation and life cycle: applying urban morphological ideas to conceptualise sustainable city-centre change

Larkham, Peter J. and Adams, David (2019) Persistence, inertia, adaptation and life cycle: applying urban morphological ideas to conceptualise sustainable city-centre change. ICONARP International Journal of Architecture & Planning, 7 (2). pp. 73-94. ISSN 2147-9380

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Abstract

Consideration of the speed and scale of change of urban forms has a long history in urban morphological thought. Buildings and forms that persist in the urban landscape through inertia or, more positively, deliberate decisions to retain them create character and – a more recent argument – contribute to sustainability not least in their embedded energy. This paper explores issues of the persistence and adaptation of some urban forms, focusing on the central business district of Birmingham, UK. Much of this is now protected as a conservation area, and some of its forms have persisted for centuries. Yet there have been periods of rapid change, and we examine the extent of change following Second World War bomb damage. This allows discussion of the dynamics of change and the agents and agencies responsible for producing new urban forms or retaining existing ones; and this informs exploration of the potential contribution of longevity of form to sustainability. The rapid recycling of some structures, after only a couple of decades, may be very unsustainable – impracticable and unaffordable – in an urban context.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Invited contribution to journal theme issue on urban morphology.
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.15320/ICONARP.2019.78
Date: 26 December 2019
Uncontrolled Keywords: urban form, sustainability, rate of urban change, reconstruction, Birmingham
Subjects: K100 Architecture
K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment > Resilient Environments
Depositing User: Peter Larkham
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 08:45
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2020 09:44
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8471

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