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Understanding the whole city as landscape. A multivariate approach to urban landscape morphology

Richard Stiles, Beatrix Gasienica‐Wawrytko, Katrin Hagen, Heidelinde Trimmel, Wolfgang Loibl, Tanja Tötzer, Mario Köstl, Stephan Pauleit, Annike Schirmann, Wolfgang Feilmayr


The European Landscape Convention implies a requirement for signatory states to identify their urban landscapes which goes beyond the traditional focus on individual parks and green spaces and the links between them. Landscape ecological approaches can provide a useful model for identifying urban landscape types across a whole territory, but the variables relevant for urban landscapes are very different to those usually addressing rural areas. This paper presents an approach to classifying the urban landscape of Vienna that was developed in a research project funded by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology: ‘Urban Fabric and Microclimate Response’. Nine landscape types and a number of sub-types were defined, using a multivariate statistical approach which takes account of both morphological and urban climate related variables. Although the variables were selected to objectively reflect the factors that could best represent the urban climatic characteristics of the urban landscape, the results also provided a widely plausible representation of the structure of the city’s landscapes. Selected examples of the landscape types that were defined in this way were used both to simulate current microclimatic conditions and also to model the effects of possible climatic amelioration measures. Finally the paper looks forward to developing a more general-purpose urban landscape typology that allows investigating a much broader complex of urban landscape functions.


urban landscape; urban morphology; landscape classification; urban landscape typology; multivariate statistics

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