The Spatial Morphology of Oporto’s Urban Fringe

Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


We investigate the formation processes of suburban street networks, through the analysis of five study areas at Oporto’s urban fringe, over a period of 55 years. We start by recreating their street grids on four different time periods through the common technique of map regression, extending it in order to make possible the identification of individual development operations (represented by their street layouts), occurring between sequential time periods within each study area. Space syntax is used to study the structural evolution of the complete street networks, while the individual morphologies of development operations are quantified and classified according to simple topological parameters. We observe different structural evolutions among the several study areas and also different frequencies for the morphological classes of development operations occurring therein. By crossing these two types of results, we show that the differences observed at the level of the entire networks may be explained by the also different morphologies of the individual developments constructing them through time. We conclude by suggesting that these findings offer some clues on how street networks could be planned from the bottom-up, by regulating street patterns at the very local level in order to achieve desired global outcomes.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CITTA – Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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