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Spatial analysis of urban edges in Arab historic walled cities: Alexandria as a case study

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Abstract:

Defensive walls in historic cities represent an urban edge between the old fabric and adjacent urban growth layers. Through history, the wall functioned as a main defensive element of the city, forming an urban edge for both accessibility and socio-cultural activities. It is only comparatively recently that its function has been altered. Despite this fact, walls continue to influence the surrounding fabric and affect city inhabitants’ daily life. This article aims to understand the urban edges formed by defensive walls of Arab historic walled cities in general and Alexandria City in particular. It proposes a preliminary classification framework to analyse the type of spatial configuration on both sides of the wall and their degree of interaction. The analysis focuses on the defensive wall's footprint and its cumulative effect through history on the adjacent urban fabric. A greater understanding of the impact of historic city walls on urban patterns would inform the regeneration plans of these sites and contribute to improving and sustaining their relationship with the surrounding context.

Keywords: Alexandria city; defensive walls; spatial configuration analysis; urban edge

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2012.686578

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Architectural Engineering,Beirut Arab University, Tripoli, Lebanon 2: Liverpool School of Architecture,University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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