The Importance of Observation: Urban Morphology in the Field

  • Peter J. LarkhamEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


This chapter develops from an academic literature on the benefits of fieldwork in geography, and observation of the benefits for professional disciplines such as town planning and urban design. Both disciplines claim to recognise the need for understanding urban form to inform design and management decisions. Recent advances in technology and data manipulation, though, have led some apparently to rely more on the virtual than the real. I argue that deep engagement with the messy complexities of real-world urban form has benefits, including a better understanding of smaller features that cumulatively create a character, the factors that shape the lived experience and the genius loci. So, in a range of cultural contexts and urban forms, what is important to observe and measure, and how should we do so?


Fieldwork Observation Walking 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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