Historic urban landscapes are highly valued these days as places where people like to live, work or entertain themselves. Urban form, constituted by an unique arrangement of town plan, land-use and buildings, seems to be a major factor for the attractivity of historic towns. Scholars from several disciplines (historical geography, urban history, architecture, archaeology, heritage studies) contribute to the study of the origin, development and transformation of urban form. They generate knowledge on what can be termed ‘the morphology of historic urban landscapes’. This knowledges helps to improve our understanding of the ways in which towns came about and took shape, how their appearance changed over time, and how our present townscapes are the stratified results of centuries of living, working and building by various groups of actors.
Ideally, the knowledge produced in academia finds its way to professionals and policymakers involved in contemporary urban planning and design or heritage management and preservation. They can use this knowledge, for instance, to make informed choices and decisions, or as inspiration for new designs, schemes or developments.
However, does it really work this way? What kind of knowledge are scholars actually producing regarding the morphology of towns? To what extent is their work being used by practitioners in the field of urban planning, heritage and design? What kind of knowledge would these practitioners like to receive from academic scholars? And can scholars comply to those wishes?
The interface between scholarly research on the morphology of historic urban landscapes and the practice of heritage management, planning and design in historic towns, is the theme of a proposed Re-scape colloquium, to be organised at the Leiden University in June 2019. Two experts are invited to share their experiences and opinions in a keynote lecture. Two or three PhD-students will then present a specific case from their own research, which will be discussed with the experts and the attendees.