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Miguel López | Master in Architecture and Urban Design


Morphologic is a study about the relationship between population density and urban morphology. Population density only offers an approximation to the study of patterns of population concentration over certain territory. It simply divides the number of inhabitants by a land surface which represents, at least, two main limitations in the future city. First, it gives equal value to each land unit: second, it only measures the concentration of housing. Regarding the latter, we can draw two conclusions: the measure tends to encapsulate the city in two dimensions excluding its vertical component and it excludes the dynamic of the population, namely the different activities that we carry out during a certain period of time, i.e. 24 hours.This project questions the way we measure the patterns of population concentration in relation to the form of the city.

The traditional way we measure population density gives equal value to each land unit, distributing population within certain area regardless city form; on the other hand, a new way of measuring it called population-weighted density, presented by the US Census Bureau in 2010, gives equal value to each person. Population-weighted density acquires a spatial quality because with a fixed number of inhabitants and FAR Floor Area Ratio the figure for population-weighted density changes in relation to the different configurations of the built volume, namely the potential architectural typologies.

The city seems trapped in the pragmatism of a quantitative method that consolidates the time and the spatial structure of the city by unifying population density (only when it gives equal value to each person) and city form. Paradoxically, the urban structure collapses conceptually when the dynamic of the population confronts the arguably permanence of architecture. Morphologic is the starting point of a theoretical project that need design solutions. Design and research come together in a project which ultimate goal is to reassess the cultural values of the specificity of architecture in an era ruled by the generic processes of urbanization.