Comparative urban morphological study of Rome and Leuven

Jiang, Jiayao; (2022) Comparative urban morphological study of Rome and Leuven. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 282-289. ISBN 9781914241161

[thumbnail of Jiang-ISUF-2021-Comparative-urban-morphological-study-of-Rome]
Text. Filename: Jiang_ISUF_2021_Comparative_urban_morphological_study_of_Rome.pdf
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (7MB)| Preview


The rapid growth of urban populations is a big issue in the past decades. With the growing concern on "sustainability", how to obtain a good balance between heritage conservation and new constructions in the city became a crucial challenge nowadays. This paper chooses Rome and Leuven as case studies and discusses the difference between their street pattern, plot pattern and building pattern. The paper declares that in the case of Rome, the "genius loci" is rooted in the continuously transformation of substrata. While in Leuven, the diversity of the landscape is its genetic codes. Both architectural artifacts and landscape forms are important components of urban morphology. Furthermore, the two different urban forms are deeply related with how citizens live in the city. The row houses in Leuven always keep the pertinent area at the back while in Rome the pertinent area behind the row houses is not obvious after the transformation. The paper highlights the socio-economy aspect and reveals the relationship between horticultural tradition and physical forms like domestic garden, "verlinting", and perimeter block in Leuven. Urban morphology works as a tool to understand the city’s "genius loci" and help to keep the continuity when transformation happens in the city.