The urban landscape is continuously changing. Sub-urbanisation and urban sprawl have altered the classical monocentric city and given rise to new polycentric urban forms that have for example been described as edge-cities. The most notable urban developments occur within the current urban areas and are difficult to trace with classical geographical analysis that typically focuses on urban spread in two dimensions. The intensity in which the land is used is normally difficult to assess. Recent studies on urban density have applied detailed individual address point data to characterise intensities in land use. These data-sets may however fail to incorporate the relative importance of individual locations. Without additional data they do not recognise the importance large, tall buildings that characterise high-density zones and that are extremely important in terms of their number of inhabitants, employees or visual dominance. The analysis of the third (height) dimension of urban morphology is scarce however, mainly due to limited data availability. We have therefore developed a new method to describe the density of urban systems. By combining highly detailed height measurements with amongst others topographical data we are able to quantify the urban volume.

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Click the image to start an HTML-demo of the historic growth of the city of Amsterdam. The increase in urban volume can be viewed in 2- and 3-dimensions
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Click here to see the actual increase in urban volume at the Amsterdam Zuidas. The buttons at the top right start the full show (>>) and allow navigation through individual pictures (<,>)










Publications related to Urban Intensification

Springer Broitman, D., Koomen, E., Regional diversity in residential development: a decade of urban and peri-urban housing dynamics in The Netherlands, Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, 2015.
CEUS Broitman, D., Koomen, E., Residential density change: Densification and urban expansion, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54, pp.32-46, 2015.
Rooilijn Jacobs-Crisioni, C.G.W., Koomen, E., Telefoonantennes als voelsprieten voor levendigheid, Rooilijn, 48 (2), pp.150-157, 2015.
Env. & Planning A Jacobs-Crisioni, C.G.W., Rietveld P., Koomen, E., Tranos, E., Evaluating the impact of land-use density and mix on spatiotemporal urban activity patterns: an exploratory study using mobile phone data, Environment and Planning A, 46 (11), pp.2769–2785, 2014.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Jacobs-Crisioni, C.G.W., Koomen, E., Linking urban structure and activity dynamics using cell phone usage data, in: Paper presented at the workshop on Complexity Modeling for Urban Structure and Dynamics, 15th AGILE international conference on Geographic Information Science, Avignon, France, April 24-27, 2012.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Koomen, E., Rijken, B., Zondag, B., Simulating residential land-use density, Paper presented at the Complex City Workshop, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 5-6 December, 2011.
Landsc. and Urb. Plan. Mubareka, S., Koomen, E., Estreguil, C., Lavalle, C., Development of a composite index of urban compactness for land use modelling applications, Landscape and Urban Planning, 103 (3-4), pp.303-317, 2011.
E&P Bapppdf.gif (189 bytes) Borzachiello, M.T., Nijkamp, P., Koomen, E., Accessibility and urban development: a grid-based comparative statistical analysis of Dutch cities, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 37 (1), pp.148-169, 2010.
E&P Bapppdf.gif (189 bytes) Koomen, E., Rietveld, P., Bacao, F., The third dimension in urban geography; the urban volume approach, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 36 (6), pp.1008-1025, 2009.

Note: The height raster data that has been used in this publication can be downloaded from Geoplaza:

Annals of Regional Science Ritsema van Eck, J., Koomen, E., Characterising urban concentration and land-use diversity in simulations of future land use, Annals of Regional Science, 42 (1), pp.123-140, 2008.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Koomen, E., Bacao, F., Searching for the polycentric study: a spatio-temporal analysis of Dutch urban morphology, in: Toppen, F., Painho, M. (eds.), AGILE 2005 conference proceedings, AGILE 2005, ISEGI-Universidad Nova de Lisboa, 2005.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Kaufholz, R., Building Densities; A physical volume approach, MSc. Thesis, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 2004.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Koomen, E., Kaufholz, R., Rietveld P., Scholten, H.J., 3D-GIS and Urban Volume: applying the third dimension in a morphological study of the Amsterdam Urban Landscape, in: Toppen, F., Prestacos, P. (eds.), AGILE 2004 conference proceedings, AGILE 2004, Crete University Press, Heraklion, Greece, 2004.