Call for Papers

XXVI International Seminar on Urban Form 2019

Cities as Assemblages

2-6 July 2019 | Nicosia, Cyprus
Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology

The Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology will host the ISUF2019 conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. The conference aims to address the embedding of different theories and approaches within methodologies analysing the urban form.

Relational theories have wide implications for the study of the urban form, not just in terms of how we conceptualize cities and describe the processes of their emergence and transformation, but also for the design of methodologies that more than ever need to take into account a variety of city components – not just physical elements, but also human groups and the connections between them. Furthermore, such theories highlight the relevance of the urban form to the construction and negotiation of the social as well as the power of connections between social entities at different scales in shaping our cities. Both these reflections are particularly relevant to the focus themes related to the location of the conference: group formations and negotiations within cities influencing ethnoreligious tensions, political movements, social segregation and urban conflicts more widely, as well as the particular status of port cities often in the past more linked to other port cities than their hinterland and, still to the present day, the first point of arrival of migrant groups and the city-location of choice for tourism.

Although the relevance of relational theories for the fields of geography and urban studies has been touched upon by a number of research articles, the theories have not been reflected upon with great depth and no conferences on the impact and the potentialities of relational theories for urban studies have so far taken place. Discussion on the implications of such theories specifically for the study of urban morphology has been even scarcer, may these be in relation to Conzenian, typological or space syntax approaches.

Relational theories open up new avenues for the study of urban morphology and for the development of multidisciplinary methodologies. They can provide a framework for the analysis of the physical and social processes that are involved in the shaping of the urban form, which also addresses aspects such as historical processes or the distributions of variations across a population in order to fully explain the emergence of cities and the processes of persistence and change. Although relational theories are suggestive of themes for research on urban development and links to various methodological techniques could be drawn, they tend to be indeterminate due to the complexity of the theorisation of cities as assemblages, where the components and processes could be innumerate and hence emergence can hardly follow any specific rules. The concept of assemblage and the functioning of assemblages as presented by De Landa is relatively clear but remains an analytically-unspecific concept which does not provide a strategy for analysing social assemblages and explain the properties of the whole (since there is a high level of contingency in the interaction between the parts and potentially infinite scales at which social processes can occur).

The ISUF 2019 conference theme addresses the embedding of different theories and approaches within methodologies analysing the urban form: all such potentialities afforded by relational theories to urban morphology could be explored throughout the conference.

Conference themes:
  1. Theory 1 : emergence, relational theories, the social sciences and urban morphology.
  2. Theory 2 : the scope and limits of urban theories.
  3. Urban Design : urban morphology, building typology and design
  4. Methods 1 : embedding different approaches into the study of urban morphology.
  5. Methods 2 : combining Conzenian, typological and space syntax approaches.
  6. Focus 1 : urban conflict and divided cities.
  7. Focus 2 : Mediterranean port cities in a global context.
Theory 1: emergence, relational theories, the social sciences and urban morphology.

This is the key theme of the conference and the most relevant concept (emergence) to urban morphology. Papers presented under this theme should be about how cities come into being and transform. Subthemes include all elements of relational theories that relate to urban morphology: scales, historical processes, material and human components, capabilities and connections between components, territorialisation and deterritorialisation.

Theory 2: the scope and limits of urban theories.

The concept of cities as assemblages is discussed in order to encourage reflections about emerging as well as established trends in urban theory. This theme includes the critique of application of relational theories to urban studies, fragmentation of methods, attention to the particular and the need to bring specific research findings back to more general theories. Subthemes include the main theorisations of the city: cities as organisms, cities as artefacts, cities as machines, cities as systems of flows and networks.

Urban Design: urban morphology, building typology and design/planning.

The application of urban-morphology and building-typology methods to the design and planning processes, at different scales, is a vital outcome of the research in the field. This session explores urban design and planning projects which use the outputs of urban morphological research in decision-making process and practice.

Methods 1: embedding different approaches in the study of urban morphology.

This theme is about the need to further develop multidisciplinarity within urban morphology, layering different perspectives applied to fringe belt analysis: spatial, social, economic and planning, and filling in the gaps when practically applying methodologies.

Methods 2: combining Conzenian, typological and space syntax approaches.

This theme is key to understanding the development of urban morphology and take it forward. Work on this has been initiated in previous ISUF activities. The initiation of research projects applying all approaches to the same case study is something that is deemed necessary for the development of the field. Paper presented under this theme should describe the latest research done in combining different approaches and suggest how further developments can be made.

Focus 1: urban conflict and divided cities & Focus 2: Mediterranean port cities in a global context.

Both focus themes are strongly related to the location of the conference and both are extremely topical and relevant to context of increasing migrations flows within the Mediterranean. Subthemes of Focus 1 include issues of segregation and cohabitation, issues of public space use, comparative analysis of divided cities and a special subtheme dedicated to design and architecture on regeneration projects. Focus 2 is about the Mediterranean as a sea of unity and division and will form the basis for discussing a regional pan-Mediterranean network, where existing and newly-formed ISUF regional networks could take part. Subthemes of Focus 2 include comparative analyses of Mediterranean cities and comparative analyses of port cities and a further special subtheme dedicated to design and architecture on waterfront developments.

Abstracts of paper proposals (250 words) should address at least one of the topics outlined in the call for papers. Speakers should also submit a short biography (100 words). Submissions will be accepted online through, where participants may register and instantly submit their abstracts in a few minutes. Easy Academia provides a dynamic submission process, where more options become available according to your selections. Please submit your abstracts proposals here.

Authors will be notified of acceptance by the Conference Committees. Final acceptance will be based upon review of the full-length paper which must be received before the corresponding deadline.

  • Call for papers: 31st of July 2018
  • Abstract Submission: 13th of January 2019 (extended)
  • Acceptance Notification: 04th of March 2019 (extended)
  • Author registration and Payment: 10th of April 2019 (extended)
  • Full Paper Submission: 28th of June 2019 (extended)
  • Conference: 2nd – 6th July 2019
  • Publication of proceedings: TBA
  • Nadia Charalambous, CyNUM
  • Alessandro Camiz
  • Gizem Caner
  • Nadia Charalambous
  • Nevter Zafer Comert
  • Ilaria Geddes
  • Sebnem Hoskara
  • Constantinos Kypris
  • Nezire Özgece
Assisstants to the Organising Committee
  • Rafaella Christodoulou
  • Aminreza Iranmanesh
  • Saloumeh Khayyat Kahouei
  • Sanaz Nezhadmasoum
  • Christina Panayi
  • Chrystalla Psathetis
  • Michael Barke, University of Northumbria, UK
  • Cana Bilsel, METU, Turkey
  • Olgu Çalışkan, METU, Turkey
  • Alessandro Camiz, CyNUM, Cyprus
  • Nadia Charalambous, CyNUM, Cyprus
  • Elena Konstantinidou, National Technical University of Athens
  • Carlos Dias Cohelo, University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • Brenda Case Scheer, University of Utah, USA
  • Giancarlo Cataldi, University of Florence, Italy
  • Fei Chen, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Vicente Colomer, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
  • Michael P. Conzen, University of Chicago, USA
  • Frederico de Holanda, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasil
  • Wowo Ding, Nanjing University, China
  • Naciye Doratli, CyNUM, Cyprus
  • Ilaria Geddes, CyNUM, Cyprus
  • Sam Griffiths, University College London, UK
  • Kai Gu, University of Auckland, Australia
  • Sebnem Hoskara, CyNUM, Cyprus
  • Anna Agata Kantarek, Politechnika Krakowska, Kraków, Poland
  • Elwin Koster, Faculteit der Letteren, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands
  • Karl Kropf, Oxford Brookes University, UK
  • Irina Kukina, Siberian Federal University, Russia
  • Peter Larkham, Birmingham City University, UK
  • Vitor Manuel Araujo Oliveira, University of Porto, Portual
  • Teresa Marat-Mendes, Instituto Universitério de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Marco Maretto, University of Parma, Italy
  • Stephan Marshall, UCL, UK
  • Wendy McClure, University of Idaho, USA
  • Kostas Moraitis, National Technical University of Athens
  • Ayse Sema Kubat, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
  • Derya Oktay, Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey
  • Paul Osmond, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Ivor Samuels, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Brenda Scheer, University of Utah, USA
  • Giuseppe Strappa, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • Zuhal Ulusoy, Kadir Has, Turkey
  • Tolga Unlu, Mersin University, Turkey
  • Jeremy William Richard Whitehand, University of Birmingham
  • Susan Whitehand, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Nevter Zafer Comert, CyNUM, Cyprus

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