Urban Morphology is a geographical discipline that examines the origins and developments of the shape of towns. It posits a hierarchy of influences on the shape of towns: the most stable influence being street pattern, followed by the pattern of urban land ownership (as demonstrated by plot boundaries, and finally - most transient - the buildings of the town themselves. Urban morphology was pioneered in the United Kingdom by Professor M.R.G. Conzen (1907-2000), a 1930s refugee from Nazi Germany; Conzen's study of Alnwick, Northumberland is generally considered a classic of the genre. The University of Birmingham now has probably the most advanced centre of urban morphological studies in the UK.
- M. R. G. Conzen, Alnwick, Northumberland: A Study in Town-Plan Analysis, Institute of. British Geographers Publication No 27 (London 1960)