Urban form and socioeconomic deprivation in Isfahan : an Urban MorphoMetric approach

Venerandi, Alessandro and Feliciotti, Alessandra and Mokhtarzadeh, Safoora and Taefnia, Maryam and Romice, Ombretta and Porta, Sergio (2024) Urban form and socioeconomic deprivation in Isfahan : an Urban MorphoMetric approach. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. pp. 1-17. ISSN 2399-8091 (https://doi.org/10.1177/23998083241245491)

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Studies on urban deprivation date back to the 19th Century but remain important today due to rising levels of inequality and social segregation. However, while social causes of deprivation have been investigated, the role of the built environment remains neglected. Existing studies either provide broad coverage at the expense of detailed morphological descriptions or offer meticulous accounts of small-scale areas without capturing the broader context. This paper addresses this gap by investigating the relationship between urban form, measured at the building level, and deprivation across the entire city of Isfahan, Iran. By doing so, we position this study in the tradition of urban morphology. Operationally, we, first, identify urban types (UTs), that is, distinctive patterns of urban form, by clustering 200+ morphological characters; second, we explore the relationship between proportion of buildings belonging to each UT, in each neighbourhood, and deprivation; third, we offer detailed descriptions of the UTs most strongly associated with deprivation, discuss possible drivers for the observed correlations, and link findings to relevant literature in the field. Twelve UTs are identified, with four showing the strongest impacts on predicting deprivation. This study brings novel insights on the morphology of deprivation of Isfahan, while contextualising them with respect to domain-specific studies, which have predominantly focused on Western cities. The proposed methodology can be replicated to explore morphologies of deprivation in different contexts, further our understanding of the topic, and potentially inform planning and policy making.