The Bartlett School of Architecture


Delineating Historic Urban Landscapes

Delineating Historic Urban Landscapes


Delineating Historic Urban Landscapes is a two-year research project funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The project is concerned with urban conservation and the use of space syntax tools to develop novel methods for defining and regulating urban sites of historical significance. The project looks at three case studies which are all included in the UNECO World Heritage List: Liverpool, Istanbul and Jerusalem. The cases have been chosen to represent the complex and diverse difficulties that World Heritage Cities increasingly face in reconciling the historic urban past with future urban growth and development.

The project particularly focuses on mapping and analysing the spatial, morphological and socio-economic properties of historical urban districts in order to delineate the conservation areas and buffer-zone maps. The aim is to provide an evidence-based evaluation of design regulations and prospective projects for urban management and change within historical urban landscapes.


Dr. Garyfalia Palaiologou

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Dr. Kayvan Karimi

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Prof. Laura Vaughan
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Outputs will include a policy guide introducing space syntax techniques to urban conservation, as well as academic publications, seminars and workshops.

· Policy:

The project objective is to compose a handbook of guidelines and tools for planning authorities and UNESCO in order for them to evaluate the special character of historic cites, to define conservation areas and to manage them as social resources. The suggested guidelines and techniques will be disseminated to external bodies engaged in urban conservation, in plain English guidance, in an effort to make the methods and tools used by space syntax, urban morphology and urban studies accessible to planners and policy makers.

In addition, the specific findings from the three case studies will be presented to the national and local planning authorities in Liverpool, Istanbul and Jerusalem.

· Academic:

Publications of research and findings emerging from the project in esteemed academic journals. Participation in international conferences, as well as presentation of the project with seminars and workshops in academic institutions in Istanbul and Jerusalem.

An academic seminar on the topic of ‘Delineating Historic Urban Landscapes’ as part of the Space Syntax Laboratory Research Seminar Series.


The project anticipates making a significant contribution both to academic research and the public sectors that manage historic cities worldwide regarding aspects of tangible and intangible urban heritage. The aim is to contribute to the advancement of sustainable engineering in terms of urban planning, development studies and sociology. Rather than turning cities into architectural fossils or gentrification by-products, this project aspires to build a methodology and provide the tools for an adjustable and respectful to the historic spatial culture development using urban design as the means for social sustainability.

Urban conservation is an under explored domain within the space syntax community and this project opens up a new research stream with numerous potentials for academic and professional collaborations, while it involves national and international organisations, policy makers and socio-economic profit.

The project will show the usefulness of space syntax techniques as a new and essential tool in UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscapes recommendation.

heritage cities